Is Credit Simple legitimate and reliable? Our response to questions on Reddit, Geekzone and elsewhere online
Welcome to Credit Simple. If you’re reading this blog, chances are you’ve found your way here after asking a search engine if our business is legitimate (such as here on Geekzone and here on Reddit). So we thought we’d give you the low-down on myths and truths about our business, credit scores, and your rights and privacy.
Pffffft. Everyone uses Veda! Nobody uses Credit Simple.
There are three credit reporting agencies in New Zealand: illion (Credit Simple’s parent company), Equifax (formerly Veda), and Centrix. Each company holds slightly different sets of information. Credit scores are calculated using sophisticated statistical models, and are based on information that is held by the credit reporting agency. Different credit reporting agencies may hold information from different credit providers, and each agency will have developed its own scoring models. Your score from each agency won’t necessarily be the same. Our parent company illion holds a significant amount of unique data that other credit reporters don’t hold (and therefore use in their credit scores), including telco and utility account and payment information. When a company does a credit check on you, they may use one, two, or all of the companies to do so. We recommend that even if you get your score through Credit Simple, you should still check your credit file with each company (you can do this free, but you may have to pay if you want instant results).
I think your business is a scam and you’re ‘phishing’, or conducting identity theft
I can’t believe you’re using my star sign to calculate my credit score!
That’s a common myth. Your star sign isn’t used to calculate your credit score at all. When you’re in the Credit Simple dashboard, you’ll see stats about how you compare by age, gender, star sign and so on. This is simply a comparison tool for your interest – a novel way of looking at how you measure up to other people like you.
If I check my credit score with you, will it lower my score every time I look?
Not at all. You can check your own score as often as you like and it will never affect your score. A credit provider checking your credit file is called an ‘enquiry’ but if you check your credit, it’s called an ‘access’ and that doesn’t affect it. However, if you apply for lots of credit with a credit provider (e.g. a credit card or loan) within a short space of time, your credit score can go down for a while, as it makes you look ‘desperate for credit’ to credit providers. It’s best to shop around for credit first and figure out what suits you best before applying for anything.
The credit score you gave me is different to the one I got from another service
Yep, that can happen. In fact, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll have the exact same credit score from any two providers. Each credit reporting agency has its own way of calculating credit scores, and each company also has a slightly different set of data. To add to that, our credit score range is 0-1,000, whereas other companies have ranges that run higher than 1,000. In an ideal world, consumers would be able to see a credit score that pulls on all possible/available credit scores, but as yet, this service doesn’t exist.
I own a mortgage-free property and have cash in the bank, but my score is really low
Credit scores are calculated based on credit you’ve accessed, rather than assets you own, so your mortgage-free house or your savings account aren’t put into the calculation. Credit reporting agencies simply don’t have access to information about your assets. While this information would be beneficial when applying for credit, it’s not information held by a credit reporting agency.
Has the credit reporting system changed?
Credit reporting has recently changed from a ‘negative’ system (where you got penalised if you did something naughty, but otherwise were treated much like the next person) to a ‘comprehensive’ system (where your ‘positive’ payment information is now being put into your credit score calculation). We know from our analysis that on average, a Credit Simple user with positive information on their file will have a score that’s around 100 points higher than one without positive information.
Someone else’s information is on my credit file!
In a very small number of cases, there can be mistakes on your credit file. We’ve built in a way for people to question something if they think it’s incorrect (you can see this within the dashboard – look for the button that says ‘question this’). To date we’ve had less than 1% of Credit Simple users query something. If you need help getting something sorted out, email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 0800 005 088.
Credit Simple gives all Kiwis free access to their credit score, as well as their detailed credit report. See how your credit score compares by age, gender and community and gain valuable insights into what it all means.All stories by: Credit Simple