Experian to launch “real rates” in the credit card market to boost transparency

Experian is introducing a “real rates” service to the credit card market so consumers will now know exactly what deal they’ll be getting.

In a transformative change to the way consumers shop for credit cards, those using Experian’s comparison services will see the actual rate they’ll get when shopping for cards with certain providers.

Credit card and loan providers only need to offer their headline representative Annual Percentage Rate (APR) to a minimum 51% of customers that apply.

The remaining 49% can be offered a different deal at a more expensive rate – and customers often won’t know what that is until they’ve completed an application, which will also leave a mark on their credit report.

The move will be a major boost to transparency in the credit card market and help consumers make more informed decisions about their finances.

Currently, two major credit card providers are signed-up to real rates with Experian, Virgin Money and Capital One, while customers which are pre-approved for cards from Aqua, Marbles, Mbna and Barclaycard, will also see the rate they will get before applying.

The introduction of the service comes after Experian launched real rates for loans in May. Providers signed-up to offer real rates include Likely Loans, Zopa, Lendable, and Shawbrook.

The move to boost transparency in the credit market comes after recent research from Shawbrook found that more than one in five (21%) consumers who successfully applied for a loan received a higher APR than the rate that was advertised, with the average difference of 2.4%.

Amir Goshtai, Managing Director of Propositions & Partnerships, Experian said: “We see offering real rates as a true game-changer in a highly competitive market

“We are already in discussions with other lenders to sign-up for real rates. It’s not right that nearly half of those looking for a credit card may not get the rate they see advertised – and often won’t know what deal they’ll get until after they’ve applied.

“Improving transparency for consumers so they know what they’ll get is something the industry should be striving for. Experian is determined to help consumers make better decisions for their personal finances.

Personal finance commentator, Andrew Hagger, said: “It’s always been a bit of a lottery for customers when they apply for a credit card as they never know what interest rate they will be offered until the application process is complete and a mark left on their credit record.

“The representative APR quoted is only a rough guide and often bears little resemblance to the rate a customer is granted.

“It’s a positive step if customers can see the actual rate they will be getting before fully completing an application form and hopefully this much needed transparency will soon become the norm within the credit card industry.”

Experian is planning to launch real rates for credit cards in the third quarter of 2018. Customers should look out for the “star” next to the results on the Experian comparison tables to know that the rate they see is the rate they’ll get.