Credit invisibles are people with little or no credit history, which significantly reduces their access to traditional financial services. The analysis reveals the depths of the nation’s “credit invisibility” problem. New data sources help Experian reduce unassessable population by 750,000.

United Kingdom, March 21, 2022: New research from Experian has revealed that there are over 5 million (5,049,129) people in the UK who are virtually invisible to the financial system because there is not enough information available about their financial history.

These people, called credit invisibles, find it difficult to access traditional financial services or have to pay a premium to do so. This lack of relevant financial information can also pose problems for people trying to access essential public services, due to difficulties in verifying their identity using online services focused on credit reports.

It’s not just those on the lowest incomes who are affected by this problem, the UK’s invisible population comes from a variety of backgrounds, including:

  • Young people who have not yet established a credit file.

  • Seniors who may either have paid off their mortgage and have limited use of credit, or have not used credit before and therefore have no record.

  • Recent immigrants (or potentially returning expats) who may have little or no credit footprint, and therefore have difficulty opening bank accounts and/or renting property.

The depth of the nation’s credit invisibility problem

Experian has also highlighted the extent of the ‘credit invisibility’ problem across the UK, with new analysis identifying the parts of the country with the highest proportion of people at risk of financial exclusion.

The constituency most affected by the problem is Sheffield Central, with credit invisibles accounting for 17.7% of the population, followed closely by Edinburgh North and Leith (16.1%), Edinburgh East (15.9%) and Lancaster and Fleetwood (15.7%). It is likely that large student populations are the reason many of these parliamentary constituencies rank so high.

At the other end of the scale, Wentworth and Dearne (5.6%), Sedgefield (6.2%), Rother Valley (6.3%), Rayleigh and Wickford (6.4%) and Maldon (6 .5%) are the constituencies with the lowest proportion of invisible credit.

Jose Luiz Rossi, Managing Director of Experian UK&I, comments: “Our latest analysis highlights how ‘credit invisibility’ is in the UK – it is at our every step, regardless of location. In the current economic climate, the consequences for millions of people could be devastating.

“Tackling this problem is a top priority for us, and we have been working hard to find innovative ways to bring more people into the mainstream financial system. The solution to this challenge lies in a combination of financial education led by the industry associated with the use of new sources of relevant data that can help build light credit files and provide better financial products and services to all.

“Open banking can help too. Experian Boost is a great example of an open banking service helping people potentially tip the balance between marginally refusing and accepting credit.”

Although the dark credit population still accounts for 9% of the total UK adult population, progress has been made in recent years. Since the analysis was performed for the first time in November 2018Experian has worked to reduce the number of invisible credits by over 750,000.

Financial information on people with thin or no credit records has been added to the desktop by working with industry to improve data quality and introduce new data sources.

Jose Luiz Rossi continues: “It’s nice to see that our hard work is having a positive impact, but we still have a lot to do and we believe the wider industry can play an important role in helping us move forward. is important for organizations that have not shared data before, to recognize what they can do with the information they are already collecting.They can make a real difference for the most vulnerable in society.

The findings were published as part of Credit Awareness Week 2022 – an industry-wide initiative that aims to encourage more people to take care of their credit history and personal finances. This year’s event is particularly significant as more and more people are beginning to experience financial hardship amid rising inflation and pressure from the rising cost of living. This follows the pandemic, which has tested the financial resilience of millions of people.

Table 1: Constituencies with the highest proportion of credit invisibles

Constituency

Number of invisible credits

% Credit Invisibles

Sheffield Center

16,608

17.67

North Edinburgh and Leith

16,115

16.05

Edinburgh East

13,868

15.85

Lancaster and Fleetwood

12 112

15.69

Edinburgh South

12,199

15.27

Edinburgh South West

13,428

15.05

North West Leeds

11,190

3:00 p.m.

Leeds Center

16,309

14.87

Cardiff Center

10,174

14.82

central Manchester

16,967

2:60 p.m.

Table 2: Constituencies with the lowest proportion of credit invisibles

Constituency

Number of invisible credits

% Credit Invisibles

Wentworth and Dearne

4,617

5.55

Sedgefield

4,555

6.24

Rother Valley

5,314

6.33

Rayleigh and Wickford

5,641

6.37

Maldon

5,242

6.52

Basildon and Billericay

5,312

6.54

North East Bedfordshire

6,827

6.60

Chelmsford

6,001

6.62

Morley and Outwood

5,949

6.63

With H

5,344

6.70

Tips for building your credit profile:

  • Register on the electoral lists– helps verify your name and address with banks and other lenders and can also help your credit score.
  • Open a current account– this will add an account record to your credit file and as long as you manage the bank account responsibly, it should improve your credit score.
  • Try and have some of the household bills in your name, such as gas, electricity, water, broadband and television services. Most of them will show up on your credit report, and if you pay them on time, they can improve your credit score over time.

  • For tenants, organize your monthly rent payments to appear on your Experian report to ensure that your credit history includes this important financial commitment.

  • Get a “credit builder credit card” – you can use comparison services like Experian to check who might accept you before you apply. Use it for small, essential expenses each month and pay it off in full.

  • See if you can get an instant score boost – by securely connecting your current account to your Experian account, you can show us how well you manage your money. We’ll look for examples of your responsible financial behavior, such as paying your Netflix, Spotify, and council tax on time, and depositing into savings or investment accounts. Learn more about Experian Boost1and see if you could instantly improve your credit score.
  • Be patient. Building a credit history is a marathon, not a sprint. Track your progress using free credit score services like at Experian.co.uk

-ENDS-

Notes to Editors

[1] Not all credit scores will increase as a result of using Experian Boost. The data used to create a Boost score is not currently used by all lenders.

Media contact

Joe Green, Senior PR Manager, Corporate and Business, UK and I, Experian

Tel: 07812 737 768 / Email: [email protected]

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