What is a bad or poor credit rating?
When it comes to your credit score, knowledge is power.
Your credit score is your financial footprint – it’s how banks, service providers, lenders and other companies decide how reliable you are. The higher your credit score, the easier it is to get a credit card, loan or mortgage. You’ll also benefit from better rates on a wide range of services and products. It touches your life in all sorts of ways, especially if you’re planning on buying a home or car, or are saving for the future. So it’s really worth taking the time to find out your credit score.
You have a legal right to check your credit score and credit history. What’s more, it’s free and only takes a few steps.
When it comes to credit scores, there are three main credit reference agencies (CRAs) in the United Kingdom: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion (formerly Callcredit). Each uses a slightly different scoring system. But don’t let that scare you. Because they all base their scores on similar criteria. So if you have one credit score, you’ll have a pretty good idea of how you rate with the other credit reference agencies. Here’s how to access your credit score and credit history for free with the top three CRAs.
Experian is the UK’s largest credit reference agency. You can access your Experian credit score by registering on the Experian website. It’s quick and doesn’t cost anything. To get a peek at your full credit report, you’ll need to register for the free 30-day trial of Experian’s CreditExpert service. It’s a bit more effort, but it’s well worth the time.
Your full credit report will provide specific details about how your score was determined. It’s also a good way to check for any errors that might be lurking on your credit report which could adversely affect your credit score. Just make sure you check Experian’s terms and conditions when you register. And if you choose to continue with their service beyond the trial period, you will be charged a monthly fee.
TransUnion is the second largest credit reference agency in the UK. It used to be known as Callcredit. You can check your TransUnion credit score by going to Noddle. You can also access your TransUnion and Equifax credit reports at the same time by registering for a 30-day free trial of CheckMyFile. Just make sure you have a look at their terms and conditions before you register. And if you want to continue with their service beyond the 30 days, a monthly fee would apply.
Equifax also lets you check your credit score and credit history by registering for a 30-day free trial of their subscription service. As with the other CRAs, you should check their terms and conditions carefully. And if you choose to continue with the service beyond the trial period, a fee would apply. You can also access your Equifax credit score and credit history without fees or subscribing to any service through Clearscore.
Making sense of your credit score can be fairly straight-forward – no matter which credit reference agency it’s from. That’s because all three CRAs base their ratings on similar financial criteria. So while the number may vary from one agency to another, the actual rating is usually pretty consistent. Here’s a simple guideline for assessing your credit score:
Your credit score is a snapshot of your financial history – of how reliable you are when it comes to money. So all three CRAs base your credit score on your track record for managing your money. Here are the main factors they consider:
You can find out more about how your credit score is determined by checking out the truth about your credit rating.
Raising your credit score may seem like a daunting task. But there are some simple, basic things you can do that really will make a difference. Here are some of them:
If you’re looking for other ideas, there’s lots at how can I raise my credit rating even further.
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Now that you know how to check your credit score and credit history, here are some tips to help you understand what your credit score means.