This is an old post from 2005. For more up-to-date information on how Zopa uses credit scores to make lending decisions, read our 2016 blog post, Zopa and Credit Scores.
We’ve had lots of questions about credit scoring, and how we use it at Zopa. This is the first in a series of posts that will try to explain exactly what information we have on our members and what we do with it!
As you probably know, your creditworthiness at Zopa is defined by a credit score we obtain from Equifax. This is a number (usually between 0 and 550) that we use to categorise all our members into A’s or B’s.
An important thing to note is there is no such thing as ‘your’ credit score. Equifax, Experian and (in the UK) Call Credit all store information on consumers, and use this to generate many different scores for banks, retailers and other institutions. The score a company uses is often created for them based on the ‘type’ (defined in terms of where they live, their employment status, income etc.) of customers they expect to get.
The whole thing is made yet more complicated by the fact that different bureau use information from different sources – so your perfect credit record with NatWest may be completely ignored by, for example, Equifax, because NatWest don’t provide their information to them! (Banks aren’t very good at sharing – but since you’ve come to Zopa, you probably know that!)
Zopa uses one particular credit score from Equifax to do our categorisation – if you use the services of the credit bureau to see your credit score, you may well see a different (sometimes very different!) number.
When we ask Equifax for your credit score, we use a type of search (known as a quotation search) that is different from that used when people apply for credit. Applications for credit are used by institutions (including Zopa) as one indicator of how creditworthy a person is – many applications for credit in a short period is seen as a bad thing.
Because the Zopa search is not a credit application, it won’t be seen in the same way, and so joining should not affect your ability to get credit in the future. Unless you borrow. If you borrow from Zopa, we change the search type we carried out to show that you have applied for credit – so that other institutions can see this in the future.
The Zopa search is recorded by Equifax though, so if you later get hold of your credit report you will see us there!
Please ask questions in the comments, and I’ll respond – either in a new post or in the comments themselves.