The UK's competition watchdog has ruled that Experian's £275 million deal to buy fellow credit card data provider Clearscore could reduce competition in the market.
Experian has been given a one-week deadline by the Competition & Markets Authority to address its concerns over the proposed merger, which would unite the UK's top two providers of free credit score checking services.
The CMA believes the deal could results in UK consumers ultimately paying more for credit cards and loans.
In a brief note underling its decision, the wathdog states: "This merger will be referred for a phase 2 investigation unless the parties offer acceptable undertakings to address these competition concerns."
Failure to address the concerns could result in a ruling to sell off parts of the merged company's business or an ultimate sanction to quash the deal.