It seems these companies can put anything they like against your credit history, including unjust, inaccurate and erroneous information and then charge you to look at it. If you're prepared to go through the rigmarole, you can sign up for a 30 day free trial. However, you must remember to cancel within the 30 days to avoid being charged and if you ever need another look, Experian will charge you £14.99 a month.

House Of Cards! I currently have four credit cards, two of which are with Santander. A 123 credit card (limit £2,200), which I used for food shopping, and a Zero credit card which I have used for balance transfers (limit £4,000). Balance transfers have been the mechanism I have used in recent years to do things around the house and to try and get equipment necessary to forward my work and my project. The other credit card I use for balance transfers is a Virgin Mastercard (limit £4,900). I also have a Mint Mastercard (limit £9,100) which I use for all online shopping and purchases for my business. Total credit available on all four cards is £2200.00.

Flawless Track Record! Luckily for me and despite having to overcome certain obstacles in life, my track record on all of these cards, the oldest of which dates back to 2001, has been flawless, never having missed a payment or failed to pay back what is owed. My 123 card, which I use for food shopping and fuel, is paid off in full every month and the others have a £100 per month paid off of each. Occasionally I use a balance transfer to pay off my Mint card if I have used it to purchase equipment. My credit record with Santander is flawless never having missed a mortgage payment or having exceeded my arranged overdraft limit. I also have a Nat West current account and that has also always been used within the confines of the arrangement with them.

No Problem! I had just finished paying off my previous balance transfer from Virgin and was offered another balance transfer offer of 5% for two years interest free. I was looking to try and get some things done out around the house and so I was considering this offer. Since March 2010 I have borrowed and paid back over £11,000 on this card alone to forward my work, my house and my project without a problem. I normally repay a £100 a month to cover the repayments in time so that I do not start incurring interest.

Another Option! During logging on to sort out my current account, I noticed that Santander were now offering an 'All In One' credit card with a balance transfer fee of just 1% for 40 months. Although there is a monthly fee for this card, as with the 123 card, it earns 0.5% cashback on all shopping. This is not as good as the 123 card which pays 1% cashback, however, I was tempted to investigate thinking I could close my 123 card and my Zero card and use the All In One card instead.

Looked Into: After spending over an hour on the phone with a Santander representative going through a ridiculously convoluted application process, I was told that my application would be looked into and I would be informed in the post. Whilst waiting I received a revised balance transfer offer from Virgin at the more usual 3.5% for 20 months. At this point I felt perhaps I would just not bother with the All In One card as by the time you add up the monthly fees and the 0.5% loss of cashback, I would ultimately be worse off.

Application Denied! When the letter from Santander came through it said... "Thank you for applying for a Santander Credit Card. When a customer applies to us for a credit card we gather information from a number of sources, including information from a Credit Reference Agency called Experian. From the information they provided us we are unable to offer you a credit card at this time. If you would like to know what information Experian holds about you, please contact them directly."

Flawless Credit History! Now that is strange. My credit record with Santander is flawless as it is in fact with everyone else. I cannot think of one instance when I have not honoured past payments or debts, so what is this mysterious information I wondered that had thwarted my application? I wasn't overly bothered and used my revised Virgin offer instead.

More Bothered About Hearsay: If Santander were more bothered about hearsay from a nonsense company that I had never had any dealings with than they were about my own flawless track record with them, the evidence of which was in black and white in my personal bank records dating back many years, they could poke it! However, after I had wasted in excess of an hour of my time going through the very tedious application, I was intrigued as to what the mysterious information was, so I thought I would give Experian a ring as advised in the letter from Santander, and here the fun begins...

Undeservedly Thwarted? First of all the number advertised is an 0844 number, meaning you have to pay even if you're on a free calls' contract. After some research online, I did find a freephone number, however after several phone calls found that the only way forward to get the information I needed was to phone their 'Credit Expert' line. This I did and when I eventually reached an agent, I told her that I had a flawless credit history and couldn't understand what Experion could have on me that had thwarted my application. She then told me she could not access the information I required unless I became a member (how convenient).

Taking The P! She then went on to say that if had been a member before I would be charged £14.99. If I had not been a member before I would be eligible for a free 30 day trial, but after that I would be charged £14.99 a month. I pointed out that I wasn't happy about this because I would have to go through the palaver of cancelling the free trial within the 30 days. That was a very convoluted and pain-in-the-arse process with Equifax as I remember, no doubt deliberate on their behalf. However, the lady did say she would cancel it for me if I did the application online whilst we were talking, which I then said I would do.

No Way! I started to fill out the online form as advised, but was eventually then required to submit credit card details. Apparently, even though this is supposed to be a 'free trial', there is no way of accessing your personal information without doing this. At this point I said I wasn't happy to continue and so abandoned the application to see the mysterious information. I said I might get back to her if I felt the need, but in the meantime would use this as another example of incompetence and inaccuracy by these companies in presenting a picture that was completely unjust and unwarranted. If such companies are going to hold personal information on people that can be unjust, inaccurate and detrimental, people should be entitled to know what it is without having to jump through hoops and without being made to pay! After all, in such instances we've all been made to pay by having our time wasted!

Final Irony! Even though Experion had thwarted my new card application for reasons unknown, it obviously didn't worry Santander that much, as a week or so after being turned down for the new card, they sent me another balance transfer offer for my Zero card. What is going on eh?