Get a better credit score in the UK

Getting a better UK credit score is about two things: using credit, and using it responsibly. If you can show that you do both of those things, you should find you qualify for the kinds of credit you might want or need in order to enjoy your lifestyle.

There are other factors of course – for example, the amount you can borrow on a mortgage might depend on how much you earn each year, and not just your credit score – but improving your UK credit rating will generally help to unlock new kinds of credit, and may even help to increase the amount you can borrow.

But if you’re new to the UK or even just new to having your own UK bank account, your credit score might not be as high as you’d like. So how can you improve a credit rating in the UK?

Check your UK credit file

First of all, check what’s on your UK credit history using one of the online credit reference agencies – you usually don’t have to pay for this anymore, as there should be a free trial or a completely free service available, especially if you only need to check your UK credit score once.

Registering with one of these websites can be difficult in itself, as they will often ask for a lot of security details and proof that you are the correct person for that UK credit record – so make sure you have the details of your current loans and other credit agreements close to hand.

Once you are signed up, you should get an overall credit score and an idea of whether that score is good or bad. You may also be told how it compares to the average score in your area and nationwide.

Your credit file is also the place to look for anything that may be having a negative effect on your credit score. This can include lots of credit applications in a short space of time, or arrears on rent and other bills.

Fix any errors

One of the easiest things you can do is apply to fix any mistakes on your credit file that are having a negative impact on your score.

This might include if money was taken from your account in error and it took you past your overdraft limit, or if you paid a bill on time but the supplier mistakenly flagged your account as being in arrears.

It’s important to get any mistakes fixed because no matter how good the rest of your credit record is, errors on your file will continue to keep your score lower than it could be.

Use more credit

It might sound strange, but using more credit will help to improve your credit score. Lenders want to see that you are experienced at using credit and can be trusted to stick to your repayment schedule – not that you have never taken out a loan before.

For example, if you have never used a credit card in your own name, this can count against your credit score. It is still possible to get a very good rating without a credit card though – it’s just something to consider.

Use credit responsibly

Much more important is to use the credit that you do have responsibly. Remember, credit includes anything where you borrow money, or where you are supplied with goods or services and pay for it later.

This can be gas and electricity, water, mobile phone contracts, TV and entertainment subscriptions, along with credit cards, bank account overdrafts, loans and mortgages – it all counts, and it all adds up.

A single missed payment on your mobile phone contract can directly affect your credit score and your access to products like loans and mortgages, so be careful.

Another way to manage money

An Arro Personal Account offers guaranteed acceptance if you’re eligible, subject to our Fair Fit criteria, and importantly there is no credit check – so your credit score does not matter when you apply.

There’s no overdraft or credit card with the account, just a MasterCard® debit card, so if you’ve struggled with credit in the past, an Arro Personal Account can work as a fresh start.

Over time, those old errors of judgment will start to fade from your credit history, and lenders will be more concerned with your recent better behaviour – and you should start to find you have better access to everything from mobile phone contracts, to credit cards with a higher spending limit.