The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has referred Experian’s purchase of ClearScore for an in-depth merger investigation.

The CMA found that Experian and ClearScore are the two largest credit checking firms and are each other’s, main competitors. In the CMA initial (phase 1) investigation identified concerns that the merged company would be less likely to innovate to help people better understand their finances, potentially leading to people paying more for credit cards and loans.

Therefore, earlier this month, the CMA said it would refer the deal for an in-depth (phase 2) investigation unless Experian offered acceptable ways to address the CMA’s competition concerns. Experian has chosen not to offer proposals to address the CMA’s concerns and so the merger will now be referred for an in-depth investigation by an independent group of CMA panel members. The deadline for the final decision is 14 January 2019.