How can I check my credit score?
When applying for any type of credit, it is important to know what your credit score looks like. You can check your credit score through a Credit Reference Agency (CRA). A CRA can also provide you with your Credit Report to see if your information is correct.
Ways to check your credit score
The easiest way to check your credit score is to go through one of the three UK Credit Reference Agencies. CRAs collect information about your credit history. They then make it available to banks and other financial companies you may choose to borrow money from. The information they hold will tell you whether your credit is considered good or bad for lenders.
These agencies are
You can check your credit score through these agencies either online or by post if you prefer. Or, some banks and credit card providers will now allow you to access your score for free, including
While these alternatives are useful for a quick look at your score, the three main CRAs tend to provide more detailed information.
It is important to know that you have a legal right to check your credit report. It is vital to understand the information that companies have about you.
How your credit score is displayed
It can be confusing when you first see your credit score and the report that goes with it. One credit reference agency may show an entirely different score to another. That's because they have their own individual scoring methods.
Experian and Equifax for example, display a score out 999. Callcredit (TansUnion) will provide you with a score out of 5. Despite the differences in their scoring methods, the results are largely the same. The higher your score, the better it looks for you.
To provide an example, if your credit score with either Experian or Equifax is 950 out of 999 and your Callcredit score is 4 out of 5, the result is similar. You have a higher credit score, thus lenders are more likely to treat you as a low-risk applicant. This increases the chances of your application for credit being accepted.
What if you find an error in your credit report?
There may be times when looking through your information, you spot an error in your credit report. Perhaps you identify information that is not correct such as a missed payment that you are positive you have paid. While these errors can be alarming at first, they are easily corrected.
The best step to take in this situation is to contact the company and make them aware of the error. Their contact details should be clearly visible on their websites and they should rectify your issue quickly.
It is important to remember that your credit score only forms part of a lender's decision to allow you to borrow from them. If you are refused by one, it does not mean you will be refused by them all.
If you have been refused credit by a lender, avoid making further applications to other companies straight away. Doing this could damage your credit score and harm your ability to receive credit in the future.
How much does it cost to check your credit score?
In the past, it used to cost £2 to check your credit score, yet since the advent of the new GDPR regulations in May 2018, you can now check for free.
Some credit checking services will try to encourage you to pay for extras you may or may not find useful. The good news is that most offer a free trial which allows you enough time to check your report so you can then cancel the trial without paying a penny.
Experian is the largest credit reference agency and is frequently used by most lenders. Experian will let you check your credit score through their CreditExpert service.
The CreditExpert service includes
To avoid paying any fees, you can cancel your free trial after you have received your score by calling 0800 651 0083. Otherwise, when the trial period is over, you will be charged £14.99 per month.
Equifax offers two ways to check your credit score. The first is free monthly reports with Clearscore. The second is a free trial of their credit report and monitoring service.
Clearscore is not the same company as Equifax, yet, it allows you to receive free Equifax scores and reports every month.
It is important to note that Clearscore will attempt to offer you products and services. There is no obligation for you to sign up to these to continue using the reporting service.
The second option provided by Equifax is the Equifax Credit Report and Score.
This service is
To cancel the service before the trial runs out, you should call 0800 014 2955, 24 hours before the end of the trial. If you do not cancel, you will be charged £7.95 per month.
CallCredit, now known as TransUnion is the newest credit reference agency on the market and may not be used as often as those above. However, they do offer you free access to your credit report and credit score at any time.
Another option for checking your score offered by CallCredit is using a service called Noddle. By using Noddle you are given free for life access to monthly credit reports. Yet, if you use this service you may be offered credit cards and loans that you may qualify for.
You are not required to apply for anything offered to you via Noddle to continue accessing the free report service. But, if you wish to cancel your account, you can do this by emailing email@example.com.
Understanding how to check your credit score is important in learning how lenders make the decision to lend money to you or not.
The key things to remember are
You can check your score through Experian, Equifax and CallCredit
Each CRA shows your score in a different way. The higher your score the better
If you find an error in your report, contact the company to fix it as soon as possible
It is free to check your credit score though some services will charge after a trial period. To avoid fees, cancel the service at the end of the trial.