Applying for credit cards? Check your full credit report online, for FREE, with Noddle

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A lot of posts on Head for Points are dedicated to collecting miles and points from credit card sign-up bonuses.  And there is a good reason for this – credit card sign-up deals are by far the easiest way to accumulate a large number of points quickly.

Your credit record is very important, and it is well worth taking a look at it every so often to ensure that it is up to date.  You want to ensure, for example, that no erroneous information is listed against your name, in terms of missed payments or cards you have.  It also enables you to watch out for any attempts at ID theft.


You have always been able to order a copy of your credit record by post from Experian for a small fee.

A website called Noddle (, though, takes this one step further in two ways:

You can view your credit report immediately, online

There is no fee whatsoever, ever

Noddle will automatically update your data as long as you log-in to the site once every three months

I have using Noddle since I first mentioned it on HFP 18 months ago.  It is far better than the ‘one month free trial’ offered by Experian on their comparable offering.

If you are churning credit cards to build up your miles, it is worth taking a look at Noddle and see what data the banks already hold on you.  (You need to be on a UK computer for it to work, note.)  You’ve nothing to lose and you may be surprised by what you find.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)

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  1. I’ve tried to sign up for noodle countless times but was never able to get past the credit card identification check stage with their customer service not helping to solve the problem.

    I resigned myself to needing to pay to check my credit file until I heard about clearscore which is another completely free service which uses data from equifax..

  2. Noddle is great resource, while some MSE forum evangelists would like you to believe that credit scores are worthless, they are highly correlated with the typical scorecards that lenders use to evaluate your application. The major thing that it doesn’t take into account is personal income, which is a big factor in getting accepted for the top rewards cards.

    • The MSE forumites are correct. Your credit score as ‘sold’ to you by Experian/Equifax/Callcredit is completely unrelated to your chance of getting accepted for a financial product.

      My Noddle score has been 2/5 for years yet I have always been approved for the cards I want. It’s probably because my credit limits are over £50,000 and frequently maxed out (but always repaid in full).

      Noddle’s website is awful and I prefer the Clearscore interface, which provides more information than Noddle. When I paid for my statutory Experian report, they only had about 20% of my financial products and they couldn’t link me to the rest, but as it hasn’t affected me adversely I don’t care.

      • You are incorrect in saying that it is completely unrelated. While lenders don’t use credit scores in the form that we see them, the underlying variables that feed into them are identical to those that feed into lenders scorecards, alongside any other information you provide them. As mentioned below, not all lenders use CallCredit (around ~40% of the major players) which will drive some variation versus Noddle. For disclosure, I work in the industry.

        The main use-case of a credit score is as a personal barometer. There will always be a bunch of people who consistently score 2/5 and get accepted for lots of products. However, if you have a 5/5 and suddenly drop to a 2/5 you might want to take notice and figure out what has changed. People always get caught up in the actual numbers, these are arbitrary and should certainly be taken with a pinch of salt.

        Linking of accounts has always been an issue for Experian, it’s quite often an address matching issue if you’ve moved around a lot. I struggle to see the value in paying 14.99/month for Experian credit expert or any subscription service when free alternatives are available.

  3. Its the wild variance between the different credit score agencies that annoys me.

    For example:-
    Experian think I am worth 999 out of 999 points
    Clear score think I am worth 520 out of 700
    Noddle say I have an excellent score of 660, but as they don’t say what the upper end of the scale is it is meaningless to me.

    Clear score say I have a negative which impacts my scoring. This is due to me not being on the electoral role. Strange, I have voted plenty times and been in the same house for 19 years. Also, clear score information has not changed at all since I first downloaded the app, so I think this credit agency is of little use.

    Noddle though appears to have all of my data fairly up to date, for a free resource it is excellent, and I would not bother with the experian fee based service unless you are signing up for the one month free trial for comparison purposes. I did this and found noddle has everything I need so cancelled experian within the free period.

    • I cannot emphasise enough, your score means NOTHING. The very best it can do is give a very vague hint that you should maybe check your credit report – which you should be doing anyway.

    • I think ClearScore are excellent – although my ‘number’ hasn’t changed much, my other half’s one changes most months so it definitely reflects what’s going on. The app is good too.

  4. Good morning, what’s the general advice on keeping credit cards or calling to cancel? I’m talking here non Amex, reason I ask is I’m told conflicting thoughts, some say just keep them but don’t use them after you’ve had the bonus, others say cancel. I’m told it’s better for your credit score to just keep the cards but don’t use.


    • Mr Cinnamon says:

      My understanding is there may be a slight drop in your credit score when you cancel. But it is temporary and small.

      Personally if I am never going to use a card again I cancel it. I do not like redundant accounts hanging around. Saying that if I have a card with a non-refundable fee, I keep it active and cancel just before renwal. At present I have one card I rarely use that is active (MBNA Virgin White) but all 7 others are used at least 3 times a year, Each has a role (eg Lloyds Avios and Halifax Clarity for foreign transcations).

    • I read conflicting messages as well. If the credit card is free, I’ve always kept the card as this increases total credit and lowers credit utilisation (something I’ve been told improves credit scores by these agencies). I may be doing the wrong thing though. Are any HfPers experts in this area? If so,
      – should we cancel unused cards?
      – how often can we apply for a credit card without adverse effects?
      – is applying for 2 cards at same time better than having a 1 or 2 month gap between applications?
      – how generally can we increase the rating while continuing to apply for credit cards?

      • There is a view that you should keep one card open long term. This makes sense. If all your cards are under a year old, that sends a different message to someone like me who has had an Amex Plat for 15 years.

        • I’d love to know an answer, as if you have to many MBNA cards they refuse you unles you reduce your limits on some cards.

        • There isn’t “an answer”. Some lenders like to see low credit utilisation, some don’t like high (even unused) limits as you could easily and quickly run up lots of debt.

          You need to find the right balance yourself (or with someone who can see your credit report and knows your financial situation).

    • The_Real_A says:

      I have 11 cards, it seems that the 12th one was too many. Then i looked at my credit score and realised i had a huge amount of available, but not used credit. So i reduced the limits, and got approved for card 12.

      The other factor is that lines of credit <36 months are considered a negative – as are multiple credit searches in the last 6 months.

  5. Mr Cinnamon says:

    I have used Noddle for years. It always seems up-to-date.

    If you have a credit card run by Barclaycard (inc. IHG and HHonors), you can get a free Experian credit score sent automatically every month your online account. This is an option you can activate via Barclaycard online services.

  6. My score is quite low on Noddle. I applied for a card it said I only have 20% chance of getting and still got it so I think you have to take it with a pinch of salt, as with all credit reports. Your score is not the only think they look at.

    • Different John – 20% chance means that 1 in 5 people like you will get it – you’re obviously the 1.

      Noddle keeps encouraging me to apply for things like Vanquis and Aqua. I’m not sure how useful a card with a £250 limit is useful when I spend that several times a week…

    • There’s no such thing as a person’s ‘credit score’. Credit companies whether Experian or Noddle assess your file and apply their own scoring to you. Amex may look at your file and have a completely different assessment.

  7. Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

    The article misses a key point: in the UK, you have three credit records, at Experian, Equifax and CallCredit. Different banks and card issuers will use different credit bureaux and your records at each bureau are unlikely to be identical.

    Noddle gets you visibility of your CallCredit file, but unfortunately CallCredit is probably the least popular bureau for card issuers. I would certainly recommended also signing up with ClearScore, which is a similar service for your Equifax file.

    You can only see your Experian file by paying (monthly subscription or statutory fee), so I wouldn’t bother unless you’re being unexpectedly rejected for credit.

    Finally, credit card eligibility searches at issuers’s websites and at places like MoneySuperMarket are pretty good these days. If you’re getting a 9+ score then that indicates that the issuer has worked with the company that handles the searches to align their scoring.

    • Definitely a key point, Andrew – Noddle covers one of the three credit reference agencies but then you need to check the other two as well.

  8. Never like something for nothing, so does anyone know how Noddle (or Clearscore) are funded?

    • They both offer to “match your credit score to products” (eg credit cards) so I assume this is how they make money.

      • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

        Spot on for ClearScore, although it’s still early days for their service. Noddle is operated by CallCredit themselves, so arguably there’s less pressure to turn a profit. CallCredit didn’t make it to the game of monetising a monthly subscription so there was little opportunity cost to giving the service away for free.

  9. Noddle is only one service. You could potentially have a very different score on Experian and that is used by most banks. It’s not as comprehensive.

  10. Useful to know that these things are available for free. I tried to switch my electricity last year and got rejected on the credit check which seemed bizarre – I already pay for Experian and that said I had an excellent rating.

    So I found out that the electricity company used call credit and signed up with them too. Turned out that someone had recently opened a TSB bank account in my name, so had to get the identity fraud people involved.

    All the other credit stuff was consistent, but I still had a poor rating with one and an excellent rating with the other which I couldn’t get my head around!

  11. OT, please, have spent the required amounts on Amex Prem and Gold cards to receive the miles and a 2-4-1. Would like to carry on using a credit card for rewards. Where should I go next please – Virgin cards? TIA

    • Depends what you want to earn. SPG? The Hilton card for free night weekend stay?

      • Thank you. Yes, I’ve just received Hilton cards for OH and me.

        • Have you already recommended your OH for the BAPP and the Amex Gold/Plat? Playing referral ping pong with the OH can earn serious points.

    • As you only have a few months, I assume, until your BA Amex 241 year re-starts for the next voucher, you might as well go for something which can give you a miles or bonus hit in a fairly short period. Virgin is OK but only if you think you’d earn enough miles for a good redemption. Otherwise, you might as well get, say, SPG Amex to trigger a bonus you can convert to Avios.

  12. Back in the days that I was going for a mortgage (dark days indeed – I didn’t have any credit cards at the time.. ) I signed up for Checkmyfile. It delivers reports on what Equifax, Experian and Callcredit have on you, so no stone left unturned. Very happy with their service and their comprehensive breakdown of accounts. Considering I have an aversion to credit scoring agencies, I’m happy to give my money elsewhere.

    On a seperate note, does anyone know if using a charge card on an everyday basis, has a smaller effect on your score (positive or negative), than if you were to use a credit card?

    Also, if you take out a credit card and cancel it within 15-20 days, (eg I took out the SPG card, hit the 2k, paid it in full, cancelled it before the statement even had the chance to show up) how does it affect your score? I’m asking because the SPG card that I took out and cancelled, never even made an appearance in my credit accounts.

    • The_Real_A says:

      A charge card appears as an open line of credit, and the amount of the “bill” is sent to the agency each month. This impacts:
      1) Number of credit searches in last 6 months
      2) Skews your rolling average of open credit for 36 months
      3) If you have multiple AMEX cards, each one shows as a new search and a seperate account on your file.

      I have tested with MBNA and AMEX – If you clear your balance before the date that the statement is produced then the “debt” does not appear on the credit file. Its the staement balance that is transferred across.

      • This is true as I have large transactional balances each month but clear them monthly also. Yet for the purposes of someone viewing my file, it may look like I have a permanent debt of tens of thousands which goes up and down a little each month.

        The picture to the observer is quite different to the reality !

  13. David Douglas says:

    I would comment that I am not impressed with the Noddle website compared to other free products available. I signed up for it and Clear Score and the trial Experian product to identify errors that one financial institution had made, (and though the institution did compensate me, they did not tidy up the information they sent to credit agencies, so I had to do this).
    Experian and ClearScore (Equifax) corrected the information within a few days of being advised,after 1 e-mail,but Noddle seemed to do everything they could to avoid the correction, leading to protracted e-mail correspondence over a number of weeks.

  14. You need a bionic memory to verify your ID. Having / had a heap of bank accounts and credit cards I just couldnt remember when so and so account was opened…and so Noodles said ‘non’ 🙁

    • You can obtain a credit file from another provider to give you the information you need to bypass the Noddle Q&A nonsense.

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