Q&A: Tom Ilube, MD of consumer markets at CallCredit

Tom Ilube, MD of consumer markets at CallCredit, claims new brand Noddle will help to break the barriers of inconvenience.

Tom Ilube

Marketing Week (MW): How does the credit report industry use the ‘inconvenience’ strategy?

Tom Ilube (TI): Consumers have to give payment details up front [to get credit reports], and then remember to cancel. Even if they do cancel, the company will probably treat the cancellation as giving a month’s notice, then take one final payment [after the 30-day free trial]. Consumers don’t like it very much but they say there is not much they can do about it because it seems to be how the market works.

We asked them, if a proposition existed in the market that was a genuinely free-for-life, no-strings-attached credit report, would they sign up for it. About 67% of people said yes and 88% of consumers who had previously had a credit report said yes. They realised this would be a valuable thing to have.

There are consumers who do like the credit report product but not the proposition. The way it is being sold makes them feel they are being ripped off.

MW: Why have you made consumer credit reports free under the Noddle brand when the rest of the market charges for them?

TI: The request to me was to build a large-scale consumer business. That was key in my thinking of how to tackle this. If the request had been to take the business that is turning over a few million a year and add 10% or 20%, then I might have taken a different approach.

Our research shows that consumers are surprisingly aware of credit reports. But only about 25% of people had ever looked at them, so it was obvious to me that there was some sort of barrier.

The other thing that consumers were not happy about is what has become the norm in the industry – that you get a free credit report that is actually only free for 30 days, then providers start billing you.

MW: How do you expect to make a profit?

TI: We will offer consumers other propositions – upgraded services and cross-sell products – that they can take or not take. If a proportion of them take up these propositions, it will fund the business model. That is essentially the risk that we are taking.

MW: Will this eventually transform the business model of consumer credit reports?

TI: If companies are going to charge the consumer for their credit report, they are going to have to add more value. Either way, the consumer wins because those who keep charging are going to have to innovate and justify why the consumer is having to pay. These companies will no longer be able to rely on customer inertia.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email subscriptions@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here