Comparison websites ‘pose threat to credit rating’

The report, which looked at the sale of mortgages, loans and credit cards, said many comparison websites did not do enough to help consumers understand the complex products on offer. revealed 937,000 mortgages were bought via comparison sites in the past year and warned that many consumers could be damaging their credit ratings by applying for products they have no hope of attaining.

Professor Merlin Stone, who wrote the report on behalf of, said: “Money aggregator sites have been a powerful force for good in the financial services industry and have established a strong presence. However, it’s now time for them to move up a level and that will involve significant changes in the way they operate.

“It’s misleading to encourage people to apply for a rate they will not qualify for, which will then impact their credit score as rejections are held on file. This worsens an already difficult position and is against consumer interests.”

Stone’s report called for sites to list product features and the service the lender provides and factor these in with the headline rate, instead of listing products solely on the rate.

This way clients could see which deal was best suited to their needs.

Mike Fitzgerald, sales director at Brentchase Financial Services, said: “People who buy on the web are extremely brave and I’m amazed so many mortgages are bought that way. A lot of people I know use these sites for information but they are much better off going to a broker to get the run-down.

“These comparison websites are of limited value. They aren’t helping people as they should and they should evolve to make things right. However, they are never going to be a substitute for a professional broker.”