Credit scores explained

Everything you need to know about credit scores in the UK - from how to check yours, how to improve it, what to do if you have a CCJ and how long it stays on your report

How credit scores really work

Whether you realise it or not, there are three agencies that compile reports and assign a score to every UK adult over 18. Read on for our primer on how credit scores work in the UK, what goes into reports, how to check yours and what banks and other lenders can see when they look you up.

What is a credit record?

It is a record of your financial history, including details of when you have borrowed money and the repayments you have made. Here is what else it shows.

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How does credit scoring work?

Your credit score affects any application you make for credit from loans to mortgages to credit cards - but how exactly is your score worked out? We take a look at who decides your credit score and what you can do about it.

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How to check your credit rating

Stay on top of your finances and prevent fraud simply by checking your credit rating - we show you how.

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What is a good credit score and how can I get one fast

Your credit score is often seen as the key that could unlock access to cheaper borrowing and bigger loans. But what is your credit score? Who decides it? And what factors affect it?

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What your credit record really tells lenders

Your credit record gives a lender the information they use to help them decide if you can get credit with them or not. Using your previous borrowing history and current debts as evidence it will help them work out how reliable a borrower you are and whether you can afford to repay the money you want to borrow.

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How do credit reference agencies work?

Credit reference agencies are the go-to places for banks and other lenders after they get requests for credit from the likes of you and me. This is why it’s important to know who they are and how they work

What they already know about you

Compare credit building credit cards

If you've never borrowed before or you have a poor credit history, a credit building credit card could help you improve your credit score.

Why credit scores matter

You might be surprised to find out just how many companies look at your credit report before they decide whether to offer you a contract.

This is what happens when they either like, or dislike what they see.

How your credit record affects the loan you get

Your credit record has a big impact on the type of loan you can get and how much it will cost. Here is how your credit history affects your loan application and what you can do about it.

Find out more about loans and your credit record

Why did my application for credit get turned down?

Being turned down for credit is inconvenient and worrying, especially if you don't know why it's happened. Find out why your application might have been rejected by the bank and what you can do about it.

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What should I do if my credit application is declined

Here is how to deal with a declined credit application, and what you can do to improve your chances next time.

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Compare bad credit loans

Not every lender requires a perfect credit score. Check out our best loans for bad credit to see if you can get a better deal on your borrowing if you have a poor credit history.

Improving your credit score

While there's no such thing as a "failing" credit score, as each lender has its own criteria, a better score means more options.

Put simply, a better credit score means you get offered better rates, bigger credit balances and will be accepted by more people.

So here's how to clean up your report.

Black and red scoring gauge

How to improve your credit score

You can take these steps to improve your credit score and increase your chances of getting accepted for credit in the future.

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How to heal your credit file after an IVA

When your individual voluntary arrangement (IVA) finally ends you're well and truly free and clear and your money is your own again. A happy day indeed!

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Why is my credit score going down?

There are lots of things that can cause a credit score to drop. Here we explain the most common reasons and how to rectify them.

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Should you consolidate your debts?

If you are struggling to keep up with your loan payments, consolidating your debts could help you take back control. Here is how it works and when you should do it.

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How to check if you are on the electoral roll

Registering to vote doesn’t just mean you can exercise your rights and get a say in who runs the country – it has fairly hefty financial benefits too. Here’s what you need to know

How to check the electoral roll
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How to deal with defaults on your debt

If you fail to make debt payments on time, you could be issued with a default. Here’s what you need to know about them and what to do next

What to do after a default

Compare credit cards for bad credit

Find credit cards with the features you need that could accept you even if you have bad credit

Your options with a bad credit score

Getting rejected by a lender hurts. Not just by interrupting your plans, but also by actually lowering your credit score too.

The good news is there are ways you can minimise the chance of being told "no", regardless of your score.

Here's what you can do to boost your chances of getting a deal:

How to check your credit card application will be accepted

Find out which credit cards could accept you with our eligibility checker

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How to borrow money with bad credit

You can get a personal loan with bad credit, but the rates will likely be high. It can be harder to get a loan with bad credit, and it may be worth trying to improve your score before you apply for a loan.

More on borrowing with bad credit
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Can you get a mortgage with bad credit?

You could still get a mortgage even if you have bad credit and have missed payments before if you know where to look. Here is how to get a bad credit mortgage.

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How to get a credit card if you have bad credit

If you have struggled with debt in the past, you may still be able to get a credit card. Here is how to get a credit card with a poor credit history and start to rebuild your credit record for the future.

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A picture of a man holding a credit card next to a laptop and phone

How to get accepted for a credit card

Here is how to improve your chances of getting accepted for a credit card.

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What is the easiest personal loan to get approved for

If you’re looking for a personal loan but are concerned about whether you’ll be accepted, our guide can help you learn what lenders are looking for and how to find the easiest to be approved for.

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Debt consolidation loans for bad credit

Designed to help you pay off your debts faster, bad credit consolidation loans offer a range of interest rates and term lengths to suit your personal circumstances.

Clearing black marks from your credit report

There's no denying that defaults, IVAs and bankruptcy will lower your credit score - but the good news is they don't last forever.

However, they can linger for longer than you might expect.

This is how long they will stay on your report for:

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How long does a default stay on your credit report

If you miss repayments on a credit card or loan, you could end up with a default. This marker goes on your credit file and impacts your score. Here’s everything you need to know.

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How long does a CCJ stay on your credit report?

As if having a county court judgment issued against you isn’t bad enough, the fact that it’ll damage your credit score is no laughing matter. Here we look at the effect a county court judgment can have on your financial prospects and what you can do about it.

How long it will take
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How long does bankruptcy stay on your credit report?

Becoming bankrupt is one way of dealing with debts, but it will affect your credit rating. Here we explain everything you need to know.

It does clear eventually