Free credit check

Having a good credit score usually means you’ll find it easier to borrow money at a lower rate of interest. You can check your credit score for free – making it easier for you to take control of your finances.

Having a good credit score usually means you’ll find it easier to borrow money at a lower rate of interest. You can check your credit score for free – making it easier for you to take control of your finances.

What is a credit score?

A credit score or a credit report is an assessment of how likely you are to pay back money you borrow. It’s based on things like your previous credit history, current level of borrowing and whether you pay your bills and debts on time.
Generally speaking, the higher your credit score, the better your chance of borrowing money at the best rates.

How can I check my credit score for free?

You should be able to get a ‘statutory’ credit report free directly from a credit reference agency, which includes basic information about you, including:

  • Any credit accounts in your name
  • Missed payments or defaults
  • If you’re on the electoral roll
  • Recent searches of your credit file
  • Any financial links with other people.

But the statutory report won’t necessarily give you all the information available, including your credit score.

What is a credit reference agency?

A credit reference agency (CRA) is an independent organisation that securely holds data about you – including your credit applications, accounts and financial behaviour. They use this information to compile your credit report and calculate your credit score.

The three main UK CRAs are:

  • Experian
  • Equifax
  • TransUnion

The role of CRAs includes:

  • Collecting and holding people’s credit information and other relevant data.
  • Using this information to help companies and their customers.
  • Making sure your data is accurate, up-to-date and fraud-free.

Information stored by the CRAs can help lenders to decide whether to approve your loan or credit application. CRAs don’t make decisions about application approvals – that’s up to the individual lender.

How does a credit score work?

Every time you apply for credit – like a loan, credit card, mortgage, car finance or even a mobile phone contract – your credit score will be calculated by CRAs to help lenders decide whether to loan you money or give you the contract.

Your credit rating, or credit score, will vary between different agencies as they use their own methods and experience in weighing up who’s likely to pay back or default.

Different agencies use different scoring scales. What counts as a good score will differ because of the different scales.  
Lenders are looking to see that you are responsible with money and whether payments were made in full and on time if you’ve borrowed before. Lenders will typically take into account information: 

  • In your credit report
  • That you’ve given in your application
  • That they hold about you already if you’re an existing customer.

Why should you check your credit report?

Because your credit record is so important, you need to make sure what’s in there is correct. It will also be useful to help you:

  • Keep track of your personal finances – you’ll see your credit accounts and what’s outstanding.
  • Check addresses on old accounts – so that you can make sure your current address is on file.
  • Improve your credit rating – you’ll be able to see if there’s a problem area in your credit rating, what’s causing it and how to improve it. For example, you can see if you’re paying bills late and the impact it has on your score. 
  • Getting ready to buy something big on credit – if you know you’ll be in the market for a loan or mortgage soon, you can see what – if any – issues you’ll face and do your best to improve your score. It will also help you work out which products you may or may not be eligible for. Our loans eligibility checker can help with that too.
  • Monitor a loan you are a guarantor of – you should be able to check that the loan is being paid in full and on time so you can act quickly if it isn’t.
  • Check for identity theft – you’ll quickly be able to see anything suspicious, like accounts being opened in your name.

What information is held on my credit report?

There’s quite a bit of information about you in your credit report. This comes from a variety of public sources, as well as your bank and any loan or credit providers you’ve borrowed from.

Information in your credit report includes:

  • Personal information including your name, date of birth and home address
  • Details of electoral roll registration
  • Your current outstanding debts
  • Details about any missed or late repayments on past and present debts
  • Details of any assets repossessed to repay debts owed
  • Any County Court Judgments for debts owed
  • Information about any declaration of bankruptcy or entering into an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA)
  • Details of anyone financially connected to you, for example, a joint bank account or mortgage

Who looks at your credit report?

Only companies or organisations with a legitimate interest can look at your credit report – for example, when you’re asking for a loan.

These may include:

  • Banks 
  • Mortgage providers 
  • Creditors and lenders
  • Utility and service companies
  • Mobile phone companies
  • Debt collection agencies
  • Insurance companies. 

Others that may also want to look at your records include:

  • Government agencies – for example, to work out child support payments, or to process an application for certain licences.
  • Letting agents and landlords – to confirm your identity and see how likely you are to pay your rent on time.
  • Potential employers – some might request information from your credit report as part of their screening process.

Frequently asked questions

How can I improve my credit score?

If your credit score is low, there may be things you can do to improve it.

  • Make sure you’re registered to vote at your current address.
  • Set up direct debits to make sure your bills and card payments are always made on time.
  • Avoid going to the limit of your overdraft or credit card.
  • Pay off existing debts before applying for new credit.
  • Try not to move home too often – the longer you are at an address, the more of a positive impact it will have. 
  • Use a credit building card to help build up your score.

See more on building your credit score.

What can have a negative impact on my credit score?

Issues that can affect your credit rating (and can stay on your file for up to six years) include:

  • Missed payments
  • County Court Judgments (CCJs)
  • Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs)
  • Bankruptcies.

How is my credit score calculated?

Credit Reference Agencies (CRAs) calculate scores in similar but slightly different ways. Because of this, each may give you a different score. They may also weight things slightly differently, so some things may be seen as a bigger blemish or more of a positive, depending on the CRA.

Although scoring methods between CRAs may differ, you typically lose points for late payments and defaults. You’ll gain points for consistently making payments on time and being on the electoral roll.

How many times can I check my credit report?

As often as you like. It’s a good idea to check your credit record regularly – particularly if you haven’t done so for a while – so you can pick up any issues.

If you’re thinking about buying a new home, buying a car or getting a loan or credit card, it can be a good idea to check your credit record a few months ahead. That way you can resolve any problems and get an idea of how good your rating is. You may have time to improve it so you can get a better interest rate when you come to borrow.

How often is my credit report updated?

Your credit report is updated every 30 days - sometimes more regularly - as new information comes in at different times during the month.
However, it could take four to eight weeks for new information to appear on your report, depending on how long it takes lenders to send an update and for the CRA to update their files. 
If you apply for credit, a record of your application, which lenders can see, will be added to your file straight away.

Why is my credit score different when I check it with other tools?

Not all credit reference agencies use the same scoring system. Experian gives scores up to 999, while for others the top score may be 710. It also depends on when your score was last updated or if all your personal details match. For example, you might have our app and Experian’s app, but they each show different scores. This could be because you may not have updated your address on one of the apps or the 30-day update has happened on one, but there’s a few days still to go on the other.

What is a good credit score?

A good score will vary between credit agencies. Here’s a guide to what they say in general terms about their scores.

  Experian Equifax Clearscore TransUnion/ 
Credit Karma 
Fair 721-880 531-670 380-419 566-603
Good 881-960 671-810 420-465 604-627
Excellent 961-999 811-1,000 466+ 628-710

Although Clearscore uses Equifax information, its credit scores are now different from Equifax, which moved to a score out of 1,000 in April 2021.

Why have I been refused credit?

Some of the reasons a lender may decide not to lend to you could include:

  • Not being able to confirm your identity or address. 
  • You have a bad credit history, or no credit history at all.
  • Late or missed payments, defaults, or County Court Judgments on your credit record.
  • You’ve made multiple applications in a short space of time.
  • Mistakes on your application form.
  • You’ve changed jobs frequently or aren’t earning enough.
  • You’re not the type of customer they’re targeting.
  • You’re financially associated with someone with a poor credit history. 

Find out what to do next if you’re turned down for a loan or your credit card application is rejected.

Can I be refused credit if my score is 999?

Yes, even with the highest credit scores possible, lenders can still say no. It’s up to them who they want to lend their money to – just like how a shop or restaurant can refuse to serve you, even if you have the money to pay for what you want.

It’s worth knowing that while lenders will look at your whole record, they will be more interested in how you pay back your debts. So if your credit score is high because you’re paying all your bills on time but you’ve missed loan or credit card payments in the past, it could put a lender off.

If I apply for credit, will it affect my credit score and credit report?

Yes, it can do. When you make an application for credit the lender will run a hard search that’s recorded on your credit history. This could have a slightly negative impact on your credit score at first, but paying your loan back regularly on time should mean your score will recover over time.

Making multiple applications at the same time could really damage your credit score – it’s a red flag for lenders, who may see it as a sign that you’re struggling financially.

What should I do if I think I've been a victim of fraud?

If the fraud involves debit or credit cards, or online banking or cheques, you should contact your bank or credit card company immediately. You should report the fraud using the Action Fraud online reporting tool or by calling 0300 123 2040.

If you think you’ve been a victim of identity fraud you should check your credit report as soon as possible to see if there are new searches or accounts that you didn’t apply for. If you see suspicious activity, contact the lender’s specialist fraud team so they can act quickly. Or you could ask the CRA’s support team to raise the issue on your behalf.

How do you remove items from your credit report?

If you think something’s not right on your credit report, you can contact the CRA, who will contact the company to investigate. If the information is found to be incorrect, the company will correct this and your credit report will be updated. If the company doesn’t agree, you’ll have to contact them directly to resolve the issue.
You can also add a notice of correction to explain the reasons things have happened, or asking companies not to extend more credit to you. While lenders are obliged to read any notices of correction you've added if you apply to them for credit, they don't have to consider them when deciding whether to lend to you.

How do I get a statutory credit report?

You have a legal right to see your statutory credit report for free. You can apply to each of the main credit reference agencies for a statutory report online:

You can only get a statutory report about yourself, so your spouse, partner, or anyone you’re acting as a guarantor for or applying for credit with will need to get their own report.  
Your statutory report might not necessarily include your credit score. However, you can check your credit score with our partner, Experian, the largest credit reference agency. 

See more in our guide to free credit checks.

How do I add my electoral roll information to my Experian Credit Report if I live in Jersey or Guernsey?

If you live in Jersey – Experian doesn’t have access to your electoral roll information in the same way as it would in the UK. If you want it confirmed that you were on the Jersey Electoral Register on the date it was compiled, you’ll have to download and complete a form from the Data Commissioner to give permission for that information to be shared.

If you live in Guernsey – Experian can’t access electoral information about you if you live in Guernsey, so it won’t appear on your credit report automatically. However, it can usually update your report to show you’ve registered to vote. Simply get in touch with Experian and send them proof of your registration. Find out more about registering to vote in Guernsey.

What can lenders and other companies see on my credit report?

What lenders see depends on what kind of company is accessing your report and why. For example, if a company does a soft search of your report, they’ll see less information than if they did a hard search.

Companies don’t always need your consent to do a search, but they must have a legitimate reason for doing so, for example if you’ve applied for a loan with them.

However, companies looking at your file can’t see the names of your current and past lenders. They also can’t see soft credit searches on your report.

Who decides if I'm approved for credit?

The decision about whether to lend you money or extend your credit is entirely down to the lender you’ve applied to. They will use your credit information to help them make a decision, but the final yes or no is based on their own lending criteria.

A credit reference agency can’t and won’t approve or reject loan applications.