How does your credit score affect your life?
Try our quiz to see how your credit score can impact more than just your money
Having a good credit score can boost your chances of being accepted for credit. Here's how to check yours for free
Learn about your credit score
Whenever you apply for a credit card, a personal loan or a mortgage, your lender will look at your credit history and your credit rating – or score. That means if you’re thinking of applying for new credit it’s a good idea to get hold of your credit file first to see what it says about you. That way you’ll be able to see if there might be any issues before you apply. You can also take steps to correct any mistakes and look at ways to boost your score.
In this guide we’ll show you how to check your credit score quickly, easily and for free – and without damaging your credit record. We’ll tell you everything you need to know about what your credit score means for you and your finances.
Your credit score is a number that shows how well you’ve managed your finances in the past. With a higher score, lenders are more likely to offer you credit, and your interest rates could be lower too.
But it doesn’t end there – your credit score is also taken into account when companies work out your insurance premiums or what kind of mobile phone contract they’ll offer you. Good credit even helps with renting a house or getting a new job.
It’s important to stay on top of your credit record – and the first step is finding out your credit score. That way, you can take steps to improve your credit if it is low and could hamper your chances of being accepted for credit.
You should check your credit score at least once a year, but always before you apply for credit. Ideally you could be keeping a monthly tab on your credit and learning about ways to boost your score.
You don’t need to check your credit score every day – but with MoneySuperMarket’s free Credit Monitor service, you can check your score whenever you want, with absolutely no risk of affecting your credit. Plus, you’ll get alerts when your score goes up or down.
It’s quick and easy to find out your credit score with MoneySuperMarket’s Credit Monitor – and it’s free to use. Simply give us some information about yourself, and we’ll show you your personal credit rating. We’ll also let you know what credit cards you’re likely to be eligible for, and we’ll send you regular updates on how your score is doing along with tips to help you improve your rating.
It may be possible to check your credit score through your bank, or by going directly to one of the credit reference agencies, such as Equifax or Experian. Credit reference agencies will provide your basic credit file online for free, although some of the other services such as credit score monitoring could carry a small fee.
Your credit score is shown as a number. Every credit reference agency uses a slightly different system and scale - but a higher number always means better credit.
When you use MoneySuperMarket’s Credit Monitor, the score you get will be out of a maximum of 710. We’ll also let you know what that number means, on a scale from ‘very poor’ to ‘excellent.’
If you want, you can also see a free credit report, which will give you a detailed breakdown of your credit history, along with any outstanding debts and overdrafts you might have. That way, you can see what’s affecting your credit score – and we’ll give you great tips to help you get it into even better shape.
When you check your credit score you’ll need to provide some personal details to confirm your identity. You might be asked some questions about your financial history – such as the date you opened your bank account or applied for any credit cards – so it’s a good idea to have your paperwork handy.
Once you get your credit report, it’s important to make sure that all the information included is accurate. Common errors on a file can lead to you being declined for credit. If your name, address, or date of birth are wrong, for example, contact the relevant credit agency to let them know.
Every credit agency uses a different system, and the highest possible credit score can be anywhere from 700 to 999. In the table below you can see the ranges for a good, fair, or poor credit score according to MoneySuperMarket’s credit monitor service (which uses the TransUnion credit reference agency data). It's ratings go up to 710.
When you check your credit with MoneySuperMarket’s Credit Monitor, we’ll give you an assessment alongside your credit score. That way you’ll instantly be able to know if you have good credit, or if your score needs some attention.
If your credit score is poor, companies will take notice and they’ll be reluctant to lend.
Bad credit means you might find it harder to get a loan or be accepted for a credit card. If you do get credit, chances are your interest rates will be higher than on standard products.
Your credit score affects other areas of your life as well. When you apply for a phone contract or try to switch energy provider, companies often check your credit score to make sure you’ll be able to pay. Your credit score might affect your ability to start work at a new job or rent a new home.
But if you have a low credit score don’t panic: there are plenty of ways you can improve your credit and some are very quick and simple steps. We have more tips and information in our detailed guide to improving your credit score.
Checking your credit score is quick and easy with Credit Monitor – and what’s more, it’s completely free. Finding out your credit score is the first step to improving your financial wellbeing, and we’ll give you regular updates along with personal tips to help boost your score and give you better access to great credit deals.