In New Zealand you’ve always been able to see your credit score, however you had to be prepared to wait a while and fill out some tedious forms and watch the mail box. I never bothered because I’ve never been denied credit so I just assumed it was OK.
Credit simple have come along and they make checking your credit score really easy, like just type in your drivers license number easy. In about 3 minutes I had my credit score, a respectable 740 putting me in the top 4% of people my age (and beating my husband by 8 points which he is absolutely gutted about). Nice I guess. Actually I’m kinda proud, I wanna put it on a t shirt! However New Zealand doesn’t do too much in the way of adjusting your mortgage rate based on your credit score so I’m not going to be offered a super low mortgage rate tomorrow despite my brilliant score.
New Zealanders on the whole don’t really understand credit scores that well and hardly anyone knows about them.
– 92 per cent of Kiwis don’t know their credit rating
– 72 per cent don’t know what a credit rating is
– Only 13 per cent have ever ordered their full credit file
– But when asked 84 per cent of people said they were “interested” to know theirs
Credit simple have done a pretty good job of promoting the new service and all of a sudden my social media feeds are filled with people checking out their credit scores, some are bitterly disappointed and others still not quite understanding what its all about.
The comments on twitter and Facebook would have been hilarious if they didn’t show up how ignorant we are of credit scores. So far I’ve seen it assumed that..
- your star sign affects your credit score
- your gender affects your credit score
- the score is calculated based on the information you give to the website to identify yourself
- that credit simple is using the website to track down people for debt collectors
- its a giant social experiment to see how many people will put their identity details into a website
I guess its nice to see a bit of skepticism when it comes to divulging information online. That is some small consolation.
Credit simple are also coping a bit of flak for adding links to credit card and loan offers. Some are seeing it as preying on those with bad credit, but advertising is advertising. I expect to see adverts everywhere and when you are getting free instant access to your credit score then of course there are going to be adverts to offset the cost of running the site.
Instant access to your credit score (with no penalty) is long overdue. I think its great that this company was forward thinking enough to get rid of the ridiculous delays.
Most Kiwi’s only find out they have a bad score if they get denied for consumer debt and now there’s a little bit of a buzz around it. Anything that gets people to take a more active interest in their finances is a good thing in my book.