When you apply for a loan, the lending company will use your credit score to decide if your application gets approved, how much they’ll lend you, and what rate of interest you’ll have to pay. The three main credit agencies in the UK are Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – these agencies hold a credit file on you, containing information on your borrowing and repayment history, which they use to produce your credit score. There’s no universal credit score because each agency uses its own system to work out a score.
A lot of things can affect your credit score, so it’s a good idea to take a look at your credit report before you apply for a loan. This means you can correct any mistakes and take steps to boost your score if you need to. The law gives you the right to request a free one-off statutory credit file from any or all of the agencies every year.
A Statutory Report can be useful if you just want to check your credit history as it stands. Alternatively, all three credit agencies offer unlimited access to your record and score, with alerts that allow you to monitor any changes as they happen – handy if you need to know how taking a certain action has affected your score and how quickly. But how can I check my credit score for free? Alternatively, you can get your hands on your report and score for free for as long as you like – here loans by mal takes a look at how.
- Paid: CreditExpert service £14.99 per month
- Free: By signing up to the Money Saving Expert Credit Club, you can access your report and score forever. You’ll also get a personal assistant to find you the right product and a Wallet Workout tool that can tell you which credit products could save you money.
- Paid: Full credit monitoring service £7.95 per month
- Free: You can get your Equifax report and score free for life through ClearScore. The service also lets you compare credit cards and loans, plus ramped up monitory services to detect signs of fraud.
- Paid: CheckMyFile service £14.99 per month
- Free: You can access your TransUnion report and score for free via its Credit Karma service. This also advertises loans and cards you’re likely to be accepted for.
What’s a good credit score?
You might think that credit scores fall into the same ‘good,’ ‘fair’ and ‘not a chance’ categories for all credit agencies, but you’d be wrong. Because each agency uses different criteria, what counts as a good score can differ by quite a bit. Check out the chart below for comparisons.
Checking your credit report and score can give you useful insights into your spending habits and help you to develop better budgeting strategies as well as boosting your score. A good credit score will unlock the best rates on things like insurance, rent and mortgages as well as lots of other perks.
Looking for more information on personal loans or boosting your credit score?
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