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Check your credit rating

Your credit report contains the information financial institutions see when they are deciding whether to lend money to you or not. If you know your score, you will have a better idea of what credit you can apply for.

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How do I check my credit score?

You can check your credit score with a statutory report from any of the three main UK credit agencies.

Statutory credit reports

Every credit reference agency (CRA) in the UK must offer you a free statutory credit report. The three main CRAs are TransUnionEquifax and Experian

It’s important to regularly check all three, as different lenders use different CRAs or a combination of credit information from multiple CRAs.

Alongside the standard statutory report, many of the CRAs also offer monthly paid-for services that provide extras like tips to improve your credit score and ID fraud alerts. 

Credit reports

Credit reports are a vital tool for managing your finances, but they're also not as easy to use as they should be.

 Learn how to check your credit rating by reading this summary, or see our guides at the bottom of the page for more information, for instance around how to boost your score.

Credit reports are a personal history of all the credit you’ve had, including loansmortgagescredit cards, and mobile phone contracts

Potential lenders will use your credit report to make assessments on your reliability, and how much of a risk it is to lend you money, so it’s a good idea to stay ahead of the game by regularly checking your online credit rating.

What is a credit report?

Compiled by the three main credit reference agencies – ExperianEquifax and TransUnion credit reports collect information from your current and previous financial providers about the types of credit you’ve had, how much, and your repayment history to create a personalised credit report.

When you apply for credit, potential lenders will want to find out whether you’ll be able to repay the debt by running a credit history check. In addition to the information on your application, one tool they will use to decide whether or not you are a reliable borrower is your credit reports from CRAs.

'Free' credit reports and 'free' credit checks

Just search for 'free credit score', ‘free credit report uk’, 'check my credit file free' or ‘credit check free’ and you’ll find a host of supposedly free services offering your credit report online, but how do you know who to trust to get a free credit check online?

Currently, you can access your statutory credit report for free from any UK credit reference agency. We recommend checking your reports at least once a year.

As well as the free report, TransUnion, Equifax and Experian may also offer 'free credit check' online services as temporary introductions to their paid-for services. The typical introductory period is one month, after which you are charged a monthly fee. These paid-for services are more comprehensive, including your full reports.

You can use the free service and set a reminder to cancel the contract before you enter the paid period. This can be a useful way to get a more in depth look at your credit score, beyond what’s in the statutory report.

In particular, these free 30 days checks can be useful if you want a one-off look before you apply for a mobile contract, credit card, loan or mortgage, and want to make sure your credit file is in good shape. This can help you to avoid rejections which may damage your score and make it harder to find credit elsewhere. 

Check your credit rating

Whether you get a free credit check online or pay for it, different credit reporting agencies will have different methods of checking your credit score. 

A TransUnion check will be different from an Experian credit report and the scores will be different too.

For example, an Experian credit report might include information from financial providers that a TransUnion check may not have, and vice versa.

A credit history check can also reduce your vulnerability to online fraud and improve your security against identity theft.

By using an online credit check company, such as Experian, you can find out where your pertinent details are mentioned and take action to delete them if they make you vulnerable.

If you'd like to find out more about how to check credit scores, read our guides on credit reports.