Dave, I heard from a friend recently that eBay offers some capabilities that let you check your credit score and that of other people who might be buying your products? I find it hard to believe and poking around eBay I didn’t see anything to substantiate what my friend is saying. What’s the story?
Well, it’s not quite as easy as you suggest, but, yes, it turns out that eBay has teamed up with Equifax to offer some credit report-related promotional offers for eBay members!
The three deals are:
• The “3-in-1 with Score eBay Special” is a 3-in-1 credit report, which is being offered to eBay members at a discount from the normal price for each individual report. (as Equifax says: “Your credit history and personal records create a financial record that lenders use to determine what type of credit risk you represent and how much credit they can offer you.”)
• The “Equifax Credit Watch” is a product which monitors your credit and identity, is also priced at a discount only available to eBay members. (Equifax again: “Because identity theft frequently involves no physical theft, it may go unnoticed by its victims until significant damage has been done – often, several months and thousands of dollars later.”)
• The “Equifax Score Watch” monitors your credit score. (“A higher credit score can give you more financial options that could save you money. Even if you already have a good score, there’s always room for improvement.”)
You can learn more about these at creditzone.ebay.com.
In terms of whether you can actually check someone else’s credit with these Equifax products, as far as I can tell, the answer is that you cannot. These are designed for personal credit management.
Now the question of why all of these paid services are suddenly necessary is an interesting one. There’s a great article at Real Life Debt about free credit reports: turns out that by the end of 2005 we’ll all be able to get free annual credit reports, so companies like Experian and Equifax are now struggling to identify other revenue streams. And that’s what this is.
Why eBay would agree to this, I dunno. Seems pretty far afield from online auctions, if you ask me, but maybe they see 50% of all revenues generated or something?