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UK regulator negative on Experian ClearScore deal

Staff Writer |
The Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) Phase 2 investigation has provisionally found that Experian’s takeover of ClearScore is likely to result in less intense competition, potentially harming the continued development of digital products which help people understand their personal finances.

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The CMA referred the proposed merger between credit score checking firms Experian and ClearScore for an in-depth Phase 2 investigation in July 2018, following initial concerns that the deal could have a negative impact on the services provided to customers.

Experian and ClearScore are the 2 largest credit checking firms in the UK. Experian offers both free and paid-for credit checking services, while ClearScore, which entered the market in 2015, quickly became market leader in free credit checking tools for customers. Both companies also provide people using these services with comparisons of third party lenders such as credit card providers and banks.

Currently, competition between the 2 firms is helping to drive quality and innovation in both free and paid-for credit checking services as they develop their products to vie for customers. By taking one of the firms out of the market, the CMA’s provisional finding is that the merger would substantially reduce the pressure to continue to develop innovative offers and to make other improvements in services.

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