How to Check Your Credit Score For Free in the UK

Knowing what your credit score is can give you an advantage when applying for credit.

Knowing what your credit score is can give you an advantage when applying for credit as you’ll be aware of which credit deals you’ll likely be accepted for.

You’re entitled to a free credit report which you can check at 3 of the major credit reference agencies. Read our guide below on credit scores and how to check your credit score for free.

What is a credit score?

A credit score is an essential part of your finances and your financial health. A credit score gives lenders a clear picture of your financial history so that they can determine if you’ll be a reliable customer to lend to. 

Each lender has its own unique system in place that determines whether you’re fit for the credit you’re applying for, meaning every lender will have slightly different requirements they look for. 

There are 3 main credit reference agencies in the UK (among others) - Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. Each one has their own system for calculating your credit score and is different in the information they present you with. 

The higher the number that your credit score is, the more likely you are to get accepted for good credit rates from market-leading lenders. Please note that a good credit score won’t definitely mean your application will be accepted, so be careful not to apply to too many lenders because having an application rejected can negatively affect your credit score.

What can positively affect your credit score?

There are several things you can do to improve your credit score that will increase your likelihood of being approved by lenders in future. 

Please note this is not advice, just some tips that may be able to help you. If you are looking for financial advice, please ensure you use a reputable, qualified firm.

Borrowing within your means

Only borrow what you can afford. If you’re applying for credit, make sure you’ll be able to meet the minimum payments comfortably. 

Set up direct debits where possible

Regular consistent payments look good on your credit report, so consider setting up direct debits where you can. Having direct debits set up for payments will also mean you’ll pay them on time - missing payments can have a negative effect on your credit score. 

Keep your balance as low as possible

It looks good to lenders if you’re borrowing less than your credit limit. The less you’re borrowing, the better it looks. 

Keep older, well-managed accounts

Credit reports look at your entire credit history, so if you have an older account that you’ve been using consistently, this can help your score.

Register to vote

Registering to vote at your current address helps lenders confirm who you are and where you live. You can register at any address, including student accommodation, house shares and if you’re living with your parents.

What can negatively affect your credit score?

As well as doing things to positively affect your credit score, there are a number of things you should watch out for that could harm your credit score. 

Frequently setting up new accounts

Opening a new bank account temporarily has an effect on your credit score but if you open new accounts a lot this could be detrimental to your credit score.

Being close to your credit limit

Be cautious not to max out your credit limit as lenders might get the impression that you’re very reliant on credit and are stuck in financial difficulty.

Applying for credit too often

Applying for credit often can negatively effect your credit score, regardless of if you’re successful or not. This is because every application for credit carries out a hard search on your account.

Try to be wary of only applying for credit you’ll be eligible for to avoid applying more times than you need to

Missing payments

If you miss any payments, lenders will record this on your credit file. This can hugely affect your credit score and can take a while to rectify.

Borrowing more than you can afford

Borrowing more than you can afford can have hefty consequences for your credit score and will get you into trouble with the lender because you owe them money that you don’t have.

If you’re unable to pay, lenders can then get a County Court Judgement (CCJ) issued against you or apply to make you bankrupt.

Having little or no credit history

If you’ve never had credit before you’ll likely have a low credit score because you have no evidence or record that you’re a reliable, trustworthy person to lend to.

Lenders like to see evidence and a good track record of credit so that they can trust that you’ll be able to pay your repayments.

How do you check your credit score for free?

As mentioned above, there are 3 main credit reference agencies in the UK (among others) that allow you to check your credit score for free - Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.

Each credit reference agency uses different credit scoring methods and may use different information to calculate their credit scores for you. You can check your credit score for free on any of these sites to calculate your credit score/generate a credit report.

What is a good credit score?

There is no specific answer to what a good credit score is. The 3 main credit reference agencies we’ve mentioned all score customers differently. Typically, the higher you score, the more likely you are to be accepted for better borrowing rates.

Experian’s scoring runs from 0 to 999 and anything above 880 is considered a good score. Equifax’s scores run from 300 to 700 with anything over 420 considered to be a good score.

Car finance and your credit score

Your credit score can determine the car finance deals you could get approved for - the better your credit score, the better the rates you could be accepted for. However, if you have bad credit, don’t worry, we may be able to help.

Bad credit car finance makes it possible for people with a low credit score to buy a new or used car. We will carefully asses your circumstances and search our panel of lenders for the best deal to suit your budget and needs.

If you’re concerned about the affects applying for car finance will have on your credit score, check out our Does Applying for Car Finance Affect Your Credit Score? blog post for more information.

Check your credit score for free and apply today

Checking your credit score is free and will give you an understanding of your eligibility when it comes to applying for credit. Knowing your credit score will save you applying for credit you most likely won’t get accepted for.

Once you’ve checked your credit score and assessed your eligibility, use our car finance calculator as a key starting point to determine your budget when looking for your dream car.

Our entire car loan application process is completed online and requires just a few quick questions to determine your budget and affordability. There are no fees for applying and we only use soft searches initially.

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