How does your credit score affect your life?

A good credit score can open up more financial options for you - but it can have an impact on more than your money. Take our quiz to find out what else your score can affect.

Credit Score

Do you think your credit score has an effect on this?

Question 1

Paying monthly for your car or home insurance

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Insurance companies will do a soft search to check your details when you get a quote. You'll be able to see these searches on your credit report, but they don't have any impact on your credit score.

If you want to pay for your insurance monthly rather than annually, the insurer will run a credit check. Paying monthly means you're effectively getting credit from the insurance company, so they want to make sure they can rely on you to pay the money back.

Your credit score doesn't have any impact on the prices you're quoted for your insurance.

Do you think your credit score has an effect on this?

Question 2

Getting a job

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More and more companies now run soft credit searches on potential employees. This is mainly to check that you are who you say you are, but also to make sure it's not too much of a risk to let you manage money, and your financial behaviour won't affect your performance at work.

The employer will ask your permission before running the credit check, and if they feel that your financial situation could pose a risk, unfortunately they may decide not to employ you.

Do you think your credit score has an effect on this?

Question 3

Switching your energy provider

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We usually pay for our gas and electricity in arrears – which means paying for it after we've used it, often by direct debit or on a monthly or quarterly bill. So, when you apply to switch to a new energy provider, most will run a credit check to check your identity and to see if you've got a history of missed payments.

Even if you don't meet the supplier's criteria, it's unlikely that they'd refuse to supply you, but they could offer you different prices, or only supply you on a prepayment meter.

Do you think your credit score has an effect on this?

Question 4

Taking out a mobile phone contract

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When you get a new phone on contract, you're essentially getting it on credit and paying off the cost as part of your monthly payment. Most network providers will run a credit check to see if you can afford the monthly repayments, and to judge whether you can pay your monthly bill on time.

You could be turned down if you've been refused credit in the past, or if you don't have much credit history, but this doesn't mean you can't get a mobile phone contract at all. If you're having trouble getting accepted, it might be worth considering a lower-end handset, or perhaps looking at sim-only deals instead.

Do you think your credit score has an effect on this?

Question 5

Renting a house

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Before you can move in to a property you want to rent, you need approval from the landlord. Landlords want to make sure they'll be paid their rent on time, so they run credit checks on potential tenants to get some information about their track record of paying back their debts. If there are any County Court Judgements (CCJs) or insolvency records on your credit report, a potential landlord might be reluctant to accept you as a tenant.

A landlord must get your permission before running a credit check. You don't legally have to agree to it, but a landlord may not be comfortable renting to you without one. This type of check won't have an impact on your credit score.

Do you think your credit score has an effect on this?

Question 6

Paying your council tax monthly

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Although lots of companies run a credit check when you apply to pay monthly for something, this doesn't apply to making monthly payments for your council tax.

Do you think your credit score has an effect on this?

Question 7

Getting school places for your children

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Applying for school places for your children can be a long and daunting process, but it doesn't include a credit check, so your financial history shouldn't have any effect on this.

Do you think your credit score has an effect on this?

Question 8

Getting a student loan

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Whatever your credit history, it shouldn't get in the way of you getting financial support for your university studies. Applications for student loans don't include credit checks, so your score won't have an impact.

Do you think your credit score has an effect on this?

Question 9

Paying for furniture or white goods on interest-free credit

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If you're looking to upgrade your home with a new fridge freezer or three piece suite, you might have the option of spreading the cost over a fixed period, without paying interest. This is known as interest-free credit, and it essentially amounts to taking out a credit agreement with the retailer. They'll carry out a credit check when you apply for this, so if your credit history isn't as good as you'd like, this may affect whether you can take the interest-free credit option.

Do you think your credit score has an effect on this?

Question 10

Opening a savings account

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Opening a savings account doesn't involve a credit check, so no matter what your credit history is like, it shouldn't get in the way of building your nest egg.

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