Credit score UK: How to improve your credit score – why an overdraft could actually help

“Setting up a standing order or a direct debit is a good way to ensure your bills are paid on time each month,” Credit Karma suggested.

There are a number of different things which can affect a credit score, as Credit Karma explains.

This includes payment history, such as paying credit card bills late – which can potentially have a negative impact.

The length of one’s credit history, the types of credit one currently has, and their credit utilisation may also play a part, as can recent credit.

A spokesperson for Credit Karma said of the latter factor: “Creditors may review your credit reports before they make a decision to lend to you.

“In some cases, A hard inquiry can hurt your scores. Usually though, a single hard inquiry has little effect on your score.”

So, how can a person improve their credit score?

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Equifax Cash Settlement Backtracking Leaves a Bad Taste

The FTC should have known that the mere existence of firms like Credit Karma shows the monetary value of credit monitoring to consumers to be $0.

Last month, the Federal Trade Commission, in conjunction with the Consumer Financial Protection Board and all 50 US states, announced a settlement of up to $700 million with Equifax over that company’s 2017 data breach exposing personal information on 147 million Americans. This settlement was different from some previous ones, where the main benefit to victims—if there was any at all—was free credit monitoring. In this case, victims could opt for a cash payment of up to $125 instead of credit monitoring and could apply for additional financial restitution for time wasted dealing with Equifax’s negligence. The FTC said the settlement included up to $425 million to help those affected by the breach.

Unsurprisingly, this was big news, and we in the media responded by publicizing the heck out of it (see “You May Be Entitled to $125 or More in the Equifax Breach Settlement,” 26 July 2019). People responded, with millions signing up for their cash payments: $125 if you already had credit monitoring and $25 per hour for up to 20 hours that you spent dealing with the breach, plus coverage of your out-of-pocket losses up to $20,000. Sounds good, right? Finally, the people who are actually harmed in a data breach are recompensed for their trouble!

That was when the fine print got big. It turns out that the actual settlement caps the $125 alternative reimbursement payments at $31 million, and it caps the claims for lost time at another $31 million. In both cases, if the claims exceed the cap, all payments will be reduced on a prorated basis. So much for that $425 million number.

Within a few days, Robert Schoshinski, Assistant Director in the Division of Privacy and Identity Protection at the FTC, was bluntly encouraging everyone to take the free credit monitoring instead of the payments because millions of people had already signed up for the cash. The FTC also updated the FAQ in its informational page about the settlement to clarify the payment caps and the likelihood that you’d get much less than was promised.

That may be the reality of the situation, but it leaves a bad taste in the mouth for a variety of reasons.

Denial Isn’t Just a River in Egypt

Back in 2017, Equifax’s then-CEO, Richard Smith, apologized in an op-ed in USA Today. But apparently, once such an apology has been published (and the CEO who made it has been sent packing along with the chief information officer and chief information security officer), the company can negotiate a different reality.

The breach settlement site now says:

Equifax denies any wrongdoing, and no judgment or finding of wrongdoing has been made.

It grates to have Equifax—whose negligence resulted in information about 147 million Americans being exposed to criminals—pretending that it did nothing wrong. If it had done everything right, the breach never would have happened in the first place. Hackers are not an “act of god” equivalent to an earthquake or tornado. Equifax should be saying:

We messed up. We manage a vast amount of confidential, potentially damaging information about nearly all Americans, and we failed to protect it. For that, and for any inconvenience, emotional distress, or financial hardship that our negligence caused, we are truly sorry. Here’s how we’re going to make it up to you.

Making the bad taste worse is the fact that those Equifax executives got to “retire” (rather than being fired), which means that they’ll keep their unvested stock compensation. For ex-CEO Richard Smith, that was worth over $90 million.

Fines and Restitution

In the law, there is a difference between a fine and restitution. Fines go to the government prosecuting the crime, whereas restitution goes to the victims of the crime. Since we’re talking about a settlement in which Equifax gets to deny all wrongdoing, there’s apparently no crime in play. Regardless, the settlement includes both. The fines include $175 million to the states and $100 million to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and the restitution is the $425 million directed to repay consumers.

Many of us are angry with the FTC’s settlement because the $31 million caps mean that the initial promise that consumers could get significant cash damages has proven to be false. The FTC should have known that the mere existence of firms like Credit Karma shows the monetary value of credit monitoring to consumers to be $0. Plus, although the credit monitoring also provides identity theft insurance and identity restoration services, Credit Karma suggests that those are not generally worth purchasing on your own. (Happily, Equifax will have to pay other companies to provide these services and can’t benefit in any way from them. So at least the fox’s failure to guard the henhouse isn’t being punished with a chicken dinner.)

The massive interest in those payments shows that the FTC utterly underestimated what consumers actually want in compensation. Perhaps the FTC will adjust its formula the next time this happens, but for now, we just have to swallow our bitter medicine.

We Are the Sausage

The final sour aspect of this situation is the fact that most people never asked to do business with Equifax. We’ve all become concerned about the spread of our personal information and how it can be used against us, but collecting and sharing data about us is Equifax’s core business (as it is for competitors Experian and TransUnion too).

At least the likes of Google and Facebook provide us with services we choose to use in exchange for our data. In comparison, the credit reporting agencies sell our data to other companies with whom we want to do business. They couldn’t care less about us because we’re just raw materials to them. It’s easy to find examples (Equifax, Experian, TransUnion) of them being sued for failing to remove incorrect information, concealing charges, and other violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Dealing with pesky consumers is just a cost of doing business.

As the saying goes, if you’re not paying for it, you’re not the customer; you’re the product being sold. And if we’re not customers, there’s certainly no need for customer service.

Of course, the final reason the Equifax breach settlement leaves a bad taste in the mouth is that there’s nothing we can do about any of this other than letting the FTC know that we’re unhappy with how things worked out. Perhaps leave a comment on the agency’s blog post. I can’t see it making any difference, but it might make you feel a little better.

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Global Credit Scores, Credit Reports & Credit Check Services Market Analysis 2019: Experian …

… throughout the globe are: Experian, Equifax, Trans Union, Identity Guard, IdentityForce, PrivacyGuard, Credit Sesame, MyFICO, Credit Karma.
Credit Scores, Credit Reports & Credit Check Services Market

Market Research Place presents a new market research analysis titled Global Credit Scores, Credit Reports & Credit Check Services Market Size, Status and Forecast 2019-2025 which delivers valuable and actionable insights into the global Credit Scores, Credit Reports & Credit Check Services industry covering market performance, history, scope, as well as the market size and share. The report traverses through the historic and current phase of the market and provides reliable and trustworthy market predictions based on market size, share, demand, sales, and revenue. It is composed by using proficient standardized tools like S.W.O.T analysis and judgment of the global Credit Scores, Credit Reports & Credit Check Services market.

The major players who are leading the market throughout the globe are:Experian, Equifax, Trans Union, Identity Guard, IdentityForce, PrivacyGuard, Credit Sesame, MyFICO, Credit Karma

Get Free Sample Copy of Report/Sample Request @

The report deeply analyzes market competitive landscape, crucial segments, sub-segments, industry environment, market fluctuations, and economic impacts to offer a comprehensive lookout of the industry. The report has included each and every characteristic of the global Credit Scores, Credit Reports & Credit Check Services market that involves the basic fundamental info of the market as well as important aspects. It further offers analysis on the key chunks of the market and their geographical diversification.

The geographical regions data will help you in targeting all the best-performing regions. The section covers:North America, United States, Canada, Mexico, Asia-Pacific, China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Europe, Germany, France, UK, Italy, Spain, Russia, Central & South America, Brazil, Rest of Central & South America, Middle East & Africa, GCC Countries, Turkey, Egypt, South Africa

Report Covers:

  • Regional context with market size and trends in the global market
  • The economic, demographic and political context in the global market.
  • Analysis as well as historical figures and forecasts of revenue from the markets.
  • A look at changes in the breakdown of overall revenue between 2014 to 2025
  • An examination of key trends in competition and in the performance, revenue market shares and expected moves of service providers over the next few months.
  • A quantitative analysis of service adoption trends by technology and by consumers, as well as of average revenue client and revenue through the end of the forecast period.
  • The report provides the near-term opportunities for operators, vendors and investors in Global Credit Scores, Credit Reports & Credit Check Services markets.

Browse the complete report and table of contents @

Global Market Report Enfolds:

Essential properties of the global market covered in the report are upcoming aspects, limitations, and growth factors related to every segment of the market. Additional properties featured in the study include supply and demand, the chronological presentation, and manufacturing capacity. The report then underscores market dynamics, driving forces, limitations, and restraining factors. Precise segmentation analysis has covered by types, applications, regions, and others. It also figures out futuristic estimations for market demand, production, and sales volume, and market development rate after examining historic and current market occurrences at a minute level.

Moreover, the report figures out futuristic estimations for market demand, sales volume, production, market development rate, historic and current and market occurrences. Distinct ranges of elements such as production capacity, price, demand, supply chain/logistics, profit/loss, material parameters/specifications, and the growth factor have been reviewed in the report.

Customization of the Report:

This report can be customized to meet the client’s requirements. Please connect with our sales team (, who will ensure that you get a report that suits your needs.


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How to read a credit report to find out if you’re in good standing

You may also be able to access free copies of your credit reports if you’ve recently been turned down for financing, and both Credit Karma and Credit …

Your credit reports play an important role in your financial life. Whether you are applying for a loan, auto insurance coverage, or a new apartment, the condition of your credit could either make your life significantly easier or a lot more difficult.

Because your credit matters so much, it’s important to keep a close eye on your credit reports from all three major credit bureaus — Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian— and learn how to read a credit report.

You can claim a free copy of all three of your reports once every 12 months from You may also be able to access free copies of your credit reports if you’ve recently been turned down for financing, and both Credit Karma and Credit Sesame allow you to check your score for free at any time.

By checking your credit often, you’ll be better equipped with the knowledge you need to earn and keep a good credit rating. You’ll also be in a position to respond quickly if any fraud or mistakes appear on your reports. (Unfortunately, it happens.)

How to read a credit report

Most credit reports are broken down into sections that make your information easier to understand and digest. Different reports might display the following sections in different sequences, but as long as you know what to look for in each, you should be able to understand your report regardless of the order in which the sections appear.

Here’s a look at what you might expect to see if you access a standard copy of your own credit report online (aka a consumer disclosure).

1. Personal information

The first part of your credit report is usually the personal information section. It contains details like:

  • Name
  • Present and former addresses
  • Date of birth
  • Social Security number
  • Present and former employers

The information above won’t have an impact on your credit scores, but you still want to make sure it’s accurate. A wrong address, for example, might be a minor mistake. But it could also indicate a bigger problem, like identity theft or a mixed credit file.

2. Accounts

The second section of your credit report typically lists your accounts — both open and closed. This is actually one of the most important sections of your credit report. The information contained here can have a big impact on your credit scores in several ways.

In addition to listing your accounts themselves, this section of your report contains details about how you’ve managed those accounts over time. Those details may include:

  • The date an account was opened and (if applicable) closed
  • Your payment history each month (on-time, 30 days late, 60 days late, etc.)
  • Current balance
  • Credit limit
  • Original loan amount
  • Current status (current, past due, etc.)

Let’s say your report shows a credit card that’s five years old. You’ve never paid late and your balance-to-limit ratio (aka credit utilization rate) is low. That account is likely helping your credit scores. On the other hand, if your report shows a card with habitual late payments and a high balance-to-limit ratio, your scores are probably taking a hit as a result.

3. Collections and public records

Hopefully this section of the credit report will be empty. However, if you’ve had accounts that have been sold or turned over to a collection agency for non-payment, this is the section where they will appear on your report.

A collection account on a credit report should contain the following information:

  • The name of the collection agency
  • The original creditor’s name
  • The balance on the account

Currently the only public records included on credit reports are bankruptcies.

If you do have collection accounts or bankruptcies on your reports, they’re likely having a negative impact on your credit scores. Thankfully, as negative items grow older, any impact on scores lessens over time. Best of all, after seven to 10 years, federal law requires most negative information to be deleted from your credit reports entirely.

4. Inquiries

The final part of your credit report is the inquiry section. It contains a list of who has accessed your credit report in the last 24 months.

“Soft inquiries” occur when you check your own credit and will only appear on a report you pull yourself. They don’t show up on a lender’s credit report.

Hard inquiries,” like those that occur when a lender pulls your credit as part of an application, have the potential to damage your credit scores slightly. However, even though these inquiries may remain on your report for 24 months, they’re only factored into your credit score for 12 months.

Disputing incorrect information

Unfortunately, errors and fraud wind up on credit reports all the time. This is the primary reason why checking your reports frequently is so important. Remember, if you discover information on a credit report that isn’t correct, you have the right to dispute it.

Need help disputing items on your credit report and improving your score? can help »

Related coverage from How to Do Everything: Money

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[Funding alert] Progcap raises $5M from Sequoia India, CIBIL Chairman, Freecharge Co-founder …

Ashish Agrawal, Principal, Sequoia Capital India Advisors, added, ”India has multi-layered distribution chains where credit is an important enabler.

Delhi-based Progcap, which provides debt to small and micro businesses, secured $5 million as part of its Series A investment in a round led by Sequoia India. The round also saw participation from MV Nair, Chairman of CIBIL, Sandeep Tandon, former founder of Freecharge along with existing investors GrowX Ventures Fund and Somak Ghosh.

Founded in 2017 by Pallavi Shrivastava and Himanshu Chandra, Progcap provides access to fast and flexible collateral-free working capital to retailers in Tier-II, III, and IV areas, where retailers typically face challenges in accessing capital for their businesses.

Through its Last Mile Retailer Finance facility (LMRF) solution, the fintech company provides the under banked, semi-urban and rural retailers in India access to flexible, collateral-free working capital. 

Over half of Progcap’s customers are new to the credit ecosystem. Its lending platform does risk assessment of these businesses using non-traditional ecosystem data, creating credit scores for customers currently left out by traditional financial institutions.

Progcap founders

Pallavi Shrivastava and Himanshu Chandra, Co-Founders of Progcap

Speaking on the investment, Co-founder Pallavi Shrivastava, said,

“The capital infusion will help us strengthen our operations, build on our technological differentiation, and accelerate the pace of our pan-India expansion.

Pallavi has a background in development finance having worked for the likes of International Finance Corporation and the World Bank. Himanshu has spent over a decade in the financial services industry, working with institutions like Standard Chartered, Barclays, and the Carlyle Group.

Ashish Agrawal, Principal, Sequoia Capital India Advisors, added, ”India has multi-layered distribution chains where credit is an important enabler. Currently, only large distributors are able to get access to inventory financing through banks and other formal channels. With a well-designed product, Progcap is able to extend credit to smaller sub-dealers and retailers.”

The startup previously raised a capital investment of over $1 million in April 2019 from early-stage investment firms GrowX Ventures and Contrarian Drishti, as well as angel investors Somak Ghosh and Abhishek Dalmia.

(Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta)

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