Have you recently seen Open GI on your credit report? Would you like to understand more about what this means?
This information page should help answer your questions.
Open GI processes data on behalf of insurers, brokers and comparison websites.
Insurers and brokers are required by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to ensure that they know who they do business with. They use publicly available data (through companies like Experian) to check ID and addresses, and to prevent fraud.
No. Soft searches on your credit file are not a record of a credit check. This search ‘footprint’ should not:
The search footprint is there for your information only.
Looking at the date of the search:
When a search is carried out, a ‘footprint’ is stamped on your credit file. They are shown as one of the following search types:
These ‘footprint’ searches can also occur during various stages of an insurance policy life cycle, for example:
Only publicly available information provided by credit reference agencies, such as the electoral roll, county court and higher court judgement is used for a soft search.
Importantly, ‘footprint’ searches will not affect your credit rating in any way, as they are not a record of a credit check and will not be visible to anyone checking your credit history.
You should first determine who initiated the search such as an insurance renewal from your current or past insurer, insurance broker or price comparison site, and then contact them to ask them to request removal of your search stamp, and (if required) ask them to cease performing such searches for renewal purposes.
Note that this may only be possible if you no longer hold any insurance or have any other current relationship with that entity. In these cases, they have a legitimate interest in performing these searches to comply with certain regulations.
It should also be noted that search footprints only remain on your credit record, and visible only to you, for one or two years (depending on which credit reference agency performed the check).
Why do they use this information about me?
Many insurers, brokers and internet price comparison websites are now choosing to perform checks on an applicant before providing a quote, or at renewal to verify that information provided is correct. The reason for this is to offer you the best deal they can and to prevent fraud.
The applicant (you) should be informed that these checks will be carried out, and this will be included in the insurer, broker and internet price comparison websites terms and conditions.
Open GI act as data processor on behalf of comparison sites, brokers and insurers. We provide a service for the insurance industry which enables them to provide you with an insurance quote quickly (and very often immediately).
The reason you may have seen Open GI named on your credit report (sometimes more than once) is because we process the data on behalf of many of the major insurers and brokers in the UK. They each have to make independent data checks. Hence you may see Open GI appear more than once on your credit report.
Open GI play no part in the actual quotation or renewal decision. We provide the technology to pass the data from the data provider to the insurer, broker or comparison website.
The publicly available data is used to check accuracy and validity of the information provided during an application.
General insurance searches are also carried out at various points throughout the active period of an insurance policy; at quotation, claim, if policy amendments are requested, and at renewal. The search could have been triggered by any one of these events. It is important to note that if you have previously used a price comparison site or a broker, they regularly perform searches when policies initiated by them are due for renewal, and this will be included in their terms and conditions.
Search ‘footprints’ appear on credit reports as a protection for you so that if you regularly monitor your credit report you can check that you recognise searches as being in line with your expected activity (for example, looking for an insurance product or quotation).
Understand more from Experian.
Understand more from the Information Commissioner’s Office website on Credit.
Credit Explained PDF Guide by the Information Commissioner – please look at “Other Information” on page 17 of the guide for an explanation about footprints.