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  • Lex Jones, Chief Executive, Registry Trust

Wednesday, 20th April 2022

Pandemic prompts greater understanding of credit information to tackle cost of living crisis

The Consumer Credit 2022 white paper from global information and insights provider Transunion (which, along with the UK’s other major credit reference agencies uses Registry Trust’s monetary judgments data in the development of credit reports), has found a 30% increase in the number of people regularly checking their credit score since the pandemic began.

Kelli Fielding, managing director of consumer interactive for TransUnion in the UK, says: “It’s really encouraging to see consumers engaging more with their credit information, with more than one in three (35%) now checking their credit report and score at least once a month. With a quarter now using credit monitoring services to learn about how credit scoring works, we’re also seeing a much better level of understanding in terms of how this information is used.

“The pandemic really brought home the role that credit information plays in our daily lives. As consumer finances are squeezed further, it’s going to be more important than ever for individuals to keep an eye on their credit report and score to help them access finance, should they need it.”

As the not-for-profit organisation which maintains the Register of Judgments, Orders, and Fines, Registry Trust’s data supports millions of lending and credit decisions in the UK & Ireland every year. Our aim is to promote responsible lending and borrowing, inform public policy, and to empower consumers to take control of their financial health. Our TrustOnline website is the only service that provides immediate public access to the complete Register, allowing anyone to search for individuals or businesses to see if they have a registered judgment. We also campaign to increase public awareness of and lobby to increase the fairness of the county court judgment (CCJ) process. This includes ensuring that, when a CCJ is fully settled by a defendant, it is formally marked as ‘satisfied’ so that it does not unnecessarily continue to impact creditworthiness.

We’re therefore very pleased to see an increased interest in and understanding of credit information, particularly in the context of the cost of living crisis and post-Covid economic recovery. As we have previously blogged about, we firmly believe that recognising the importance of and utilising this data is vital to increasing people’s financial fitness and resilience during such turbulent times. We see a lot in the media about budgeting and money management, but little about maintaining and checking for creditworthiness or about the importance of access to affordable credit for the financially vulnerable in general (see our blog for more on this).

We expect to see a continued rise in CCJs against both consumers and businesses as the cost of living squeeze continues to take hold, and we hope to also see a rise in the number of people checking for CCJs via TrustOnline, alongside the increase in credit score checking. Just as people are now becoming much more aware of their energy usage and weekly food shop spend, ensuring you can secure much-needed credit should become a higher priority.

A good place to start is to get informed about what CCJs are and how to be aware of and deal with them effectively. This video provides an introduction and there are Help Topics on the TrustOnline website.

To keep up to date with the latest from Registry Trust, click here to subscribe to our monthly updates and/or follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn. You can also follow our public website TrustOnline on Facebook and LinkedIn for regular useful updates about CCJs, credit scores and more.