What is ClearScore?
ClearScore* was founded in September 2014 as a disruptor to the established credit reference agencies, which traditionally worked by charging individuals a fee to view their financial data and credit reports. Instead, ClearScore committed to providing people with access to this data for free, using information included in Equifax's credit scores and reports. It makes money by partnering with financial institutions, marketing their products to users and earning commission if they sign up or buy that end product or service. It labels itself as a "financial marketplace", giving individuals a greater understanding of their financial situation and then presenting them with products and services they may be eligible for.
The company now operates in the UK, South Africa and Australia, with more than 12 million users. It has expanded its offering to include identity protection with its product 'ClearScore Protect', which looks for potential security breaches and helps users avoid being victims of fraud or identity theft.
ClearScore key features
- Free unlimited access to Equifax credit score and report - updated monthly
- ClearScore marketplace, where users are shown credit products from ClearScore's "financial partners" that match their Equifax credit score and that they're likely to be approved for
- ClearScore Protect, which is a free service that helps protect people from identity theft and fraud
- In the "Learn" section on its website, ClearScore provides articles on key topics in credit and finance
How does ClearScore work?
In the UK, there are three main credit reference agencies: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. They each collect information about people's financial history, existing credit arrangements and personal circumstances and present it in a credit report, with an overall number designated as a credit score. The report and score is then made available to lenders to help them decide whether to provide products such as credit cards, loans, mortgages and, if so, how much to charge and what credit limit to offer. There is no universal credit score as each agency holds slightly different information and uses its own metrics to analyse them, so it's a good idea to check your report with each one.
ClearScore is different from Experian, Equifax and TransUnion as it doesn't collect the information itself. Instead, it has been created as a way to let consumers access their scores for free, rather than paying the monthly fees charged by the credit reference agencies themselves. As such, users are given a free monthly credit report, which contains the information from their Equifax credit report. For a clearer idea of what the Equifax report includes and the credit scoring system it uses, read our article "Is Equifax a good way to check your credit score?"
How much does ClearScore cost?
ClearScore* is a free service and on the homepage of its website it promises to be "free, forever". It states that its aim is to empower people to take control of their finances by having complimentary access to their financial data, which has helped it attract a large number of customers.
ClearScore cost comparison
|Cost to access credit score and report|
|TransUnion||Free (through Credit Karma/TotallyMoney)|
|Experian||£14.99 per month (after free 30-day trial)|
|Equifax||£7.95 per month (after free 30-day trial)|
It is worth noting that there are ways to access each of the credit reports from all three of the credit reference agencies for free. For more information on this, read our article on the best ways to check your credit score for free.
Is ClearScore accurate?
All credit reports run the risk of containing errors or out-of-date information and this is the same for the Equifax reports used by ClearScore. This is why it is important to keep on top of checking your reports with all credit reference agencies, contacting them if there are any mistakes included or if any negative information is included that pre-dates the 6-year time period that should be covered in the report. This is particularly the case if you are planning to apply for credit as it reduces the risk of you being unexpectedly turned down which, in turn, can have a negative impact on your credit rating.
As it stands, while Equifax changed its credit scoring and rating system at the end of 2020, going from a range between 0-700 to 0-1,000, ClearScore is still using the old approach, so there is a discrepancy between the two. However, the underlying information in the credit report remains the same. While this is currently a little confusing for users, ClearScore has indicated it plans to move its scoring in line with the new Equifax system in the near future.
ClearScore customer reviews
According to customer review site Trustpilot, ClearScore is a "great' company, with a score of 4.1 out of 5.0, based on almost 5,000 reviews. 71% of reviewers deemed it to be "excellent", with reports of good customer service and a fast turnaround time on correcting inaccurate information included in credit reports. However, 16% of respondents rated ClearScore as "bad", with recent complaints mainly focused on errors in the information held on individual users, as well as inconsistency between the score and rating given by ClearScore and those presented in rival credit reports.
ClearScore pros and cons
- Access to Equifax credit score and report is free
- It offers free identity protection for free, reducing the chances of users being a victim of identity theft or fraud
- It can help users find credit products with a range of financial institutions it partners with and are likely to be approved for. This may be particularly useful for those with poorer credit ratings, who may be unsure which providers to approach for credit.
- Although it uses Equifax credit scores and reports as the basis for its own reporting, ClearScore hasn't updated its metrics in line with the changes Equifax made at the end of 2020. This means that while Equifax now has credit score between 0-1,000, ClearScore uses a range of 0-700. So, while the underlying data is the same, the way it is presented and analysed is different.
- As with all credit reports, the one provided by ClearScore can contain inaccuracies. It also isn't a good idea just to rely on your ClearScore report and instead to check all of your credit reports.
Alternatives to ClearScore
Instead of using ClearScore, you can go direct to Equifax to get your credit score and report, although this will involve paying a monthly subscription after the free trial. Alternatively, you may opt to access your reports with Experian or TransUnion, although, again, this has a charge attached to it after the free trials. It is, however, possible to access your credit reports for free through the MoneySavingExpert Credit Club, Credit Karma and TotallyMoney.
If a link has an * beside it this means that it is an affiliated link. If you go via the link Money to the Masses may receive a small fee which helps keep Money to the Masses free to use. But as you can clearly see this has in no way influenced this independent and balanced review of the product. The following link can be used if you do not wish to help Money to the Masses or take advantage of any exclusive offers - ClearScore