How You Can Credit Check People (Consumers) Online

These days, most business owners need to assess the credit risk associated with prospective (and sometimes existing) clients. Running consumer credit checks is an excellent method of safeguarding against any potential financial risk imposed by your clients and undoubtedly makes sound financial sense.

Luckily, there are a number of methods by which businesses can run online credit checks against those clients who might represent a financial risk.
ConsumerCheck credit reports

The service provides consumer credit reports on all UK people with credit files. The service provides reports for credit checks, . There are no minimum subscriptions and the service is accessible to small business users as well as companies that require a large volume of searches.
Credit reference agencies

In the UK there are 3 main credit referencing agencies that hold credit files. These are based in Nottingham, , and . Nearly all consumer credit information comes from one of these three agencies. It is possible for businesses to apply for accounts with these agencies in order to access their credit files for the purpose of running consumer credit searches. However the main agencies generally have minimum requirements and there could be some set up fees.

Although using online credit referencing agencies incurs some costs, the fees are minimal when considered in light of the very real financial risk presented by certain consumers. All credit referencing agencies charge fees in order to provide their credit checking service, although these agencies usually sell specific credit report packages which reduce the cost and allow access to a number of requested of credit files for a set amount of time.

On registering with an online credit referencing agency, business owners are commonly asked to supply basic details relating to their business. Doing so will allow your company access to millions of credit reports and searches can be conducted individually or, if needed, in bulk. Information available to the business owner about prospective (or existing) consumers gives an holistic view of any financial risk imposed by the individual.
Credit data

Any given credit report will show basic details relating to the consumer's identity and address, as well as any recorded defaults on debts incurred by the individual (such as or Bankruptcy Orders). Similarly, if the consumer has requested amendments or corrections to their credit file, these will show on the report and can provide an explanation as to any anomalies present within their credit file. Details relating to previous credit referencing searches are also present on consumer credit reports and give an indication as to whether an individual has tried to obtain credit elsewhere. Of course, it is entirely the decision of the business user as to whether a consumer represents a financial risk, but the online consumer credit report can at least give business owners the necessary means in order to make a fair judgement.

The information obtained by online credit referencing agencies is available to all business users who are registered with both the credit referencing agency and under the . The information is obtained from a number of external sources including the Electoral register, the register of County Court Judgements, the records on repossessions and other widely available information shared between the UK?s major financial institutions and retailers. As such, some records will be more current than others (depending on consumer activity) however, all online consumer credit reports will provide a good overview of the financial risk presented by the consumer.

It should be noted that in order to run an online credit check against consumers, your business will need to formally register under the Data Protection Act. This safeguards your company against acting illegally and ensures your business has the right to obtain information relating to consumer credit reports. Consumers will also be aware that a credit check is likely to be required in relation to any request for your service, and details should be made available in the terms and conditions and in any literature or business information.

Running online consumer credit checks can also prove an excellent method of assessing the financial situation of existing clients. The information obtained through a consumer credit report can help business owners set credit limits for current clients and can be used to generate new marketing opportunities. For example, a long term consumer who is in a healthy financial position might benefit from a new service or increased credit limit - therefore your sales and marketing literature can be aimed directly at these clients.

Whichever online credit referencing agency your business decides to use, it is imperative for the financial health of your company that you utilise these services. It is no secret that the credit crunch and recession have directly affected all consumers, thereby negatively impacting many business owners. Running an online credit check against your consumers is one of the most efficient ways of safeguarding against financial risk.

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