Debt Management and Your Credit Score

How to Check Your Credit Score (A Beginner’s Guide)

Learn how you can check your Credit Score and the factors you should look for with our helpful beginner’s guide.

Person checking their credit score on a laptop with blue border and text box that reads how to check credit score

What Is Credit A Score?

A credit score is a number that lenders use to work out your creditworthiness; that is how reliable you are when borrowing money. A bank or company lending you money will want to ensure that you repay what you have borrowed and that you are unlikely to miss payments. 

A three-digit number represents your credit score, and the higher it is, the more likely you are to be approved for products like mortgages, loans, or credit cards. Having a low credit score decreases the likelihood of being accepted for such products.

Some reasons for having a poor credit score can include:

  • Missed payments in the past,
  • You have been previously rejected for credit,
  • You are financially linked to someone with a poor rating (i.e., joint accounts, mortgages, etc.),
  • Your personal information is not up to date, including being registered on the electoral roll. 
  • You’re too close to your credit limit. 

How Do I Find Out What My Credit Score Is?

Your credit report determines your credit score. Your credit report consists of the information held by a credit reference agency (CRA). This information relates to your personal identity and history of borrowing. To access your credit report in the UK, you have to contact the three main CRAs. These are Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.

Each of these companies offer varied services from access your credit report and find out your credit score. They will provide subscriptions with packages whereby you pay a certain amount each month to access and regularly update your credit report.

However, you have the right to access a free credit report, and the three CRAs in the UK offer free access to it. You can check your score through them. Equifax offers free credit score-checking through Clearscore, while you can check your TransUnion credit score for free through Credit Karma. To check your credit score for free with Experian, you can go directly to their website Experian.

All these CRAs provide a more comprehensive service, where they update your credit report more regularly and, in some cases, enable you to boost your score instantly. However, these services usually involve a monthly subscription of up to £14.99. 

If you are trying to track your credit score to save money on your borrowing, then paying a monthly fee to a credit reference agency may not be the best way to go about it. They will provide these services on a 30-day free trial, so if this option is available, remember to cancel the subscription at the end of the trial period to avoid charges.

how to check credit score drawing with score pointed to excellent

Why Is It Important To Check My Credit Score?

Finding out your credit score can help you when applying for mortgages, loans and credit cards. Before you apply for specific products, it will indicate your likelihood of acceptance. 

Rejected credit applications can sometimes affect your overall credit rating, so checking your credit score beforehand will give you a better idea of which products will suit you best.

Each CRA will score you out of a different overall amount. Experian scores you out of 999, Equifax out of 700 and TransUnion out of 710. This means the bands for poor, fair, good, and excellent will vary between each. 

A Fair Score for each of them is:

  • Experian 721-880
  • Equifax 300-669
  • TransUnion 566-603

A Good Score is:

  • Experian 881-960
  • Equifax 670-799
  • TransUnion 604-627

An Excellent Score is:

  • Experian 961-99
  • Equifax 800-850
  • TransUnion 628-710

How Can I Improve My Credit Score?

Keeping on top of repayments is a good start, so make sure you are paying back regularly to reduce your overall credit use and make regular repayments.

It would help if you also made sure that the information that CRAs hold on you is accurate and up to date. If it’s not, you should contact them immediately to amend it. 

👉 However, for additional information check out our blog post on how you can improve your credit score

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