Credit Report Searches

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.

Will this affect my credit rating or score?

No. Soft searches on your credit file are ​not a record of a credit check. This search ‘footprint’ should not:

  • Affect your credit rating or score in any way.
  • Be visible to anyone checking your credit history.
  • Influence third parties for lending purposes.

The search footprint is there for your information only.

I don’t think I applied for any insurance…

Looking at the date of the search:

  • Did you have a household or motor insurance policy due for renewal after the search date, or is it due around now?
  • Did you use a price comparison website (e.g. Compare the MarketGocompareMoneySuperMarket, or any other similar site)?
  • Did you use a broker to look for insurance on your behalf?
  • Have you visited a car dealership recently and enquired about cost of insurance on a car?

What type of search has been carried out?

When a search is carried out, a ‘footprint’ is stamped on your credit file. They are shown as one of the following search types:

  • Quotation
  • Quotation search
  • Insurance quote
  • General insurance
  • Identification check

These ‘footprint’ searches can also occur during various stages of an insurance policy life cycle, for example:

  • At the point of quotation
  • At the point of a claim being made
  • If the policy details are amended (change of title, name, address, vehicle registration)
  • At the point of renewal

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.

Requesting footprint removal

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).

How information is used

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.

I didn’t know they would make these checks…

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.

Why does Open GI appear on the credit report and not the broker or insurer?

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.

What does Open GI do with the data?

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.

What does an insurer or broker do with the data?

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.

Why do these searches appear on my credit report?

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).

Further information

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.