Your credit score is based on your credit history – if you’ve paid a bill on time or never defaulted on debt, your score could be higher. Lenders will look at this when deciding whether to lend to you.
That’s because the higher your score, the lower the risk you pose to them. Having a limited or no credit history could result in the opposite. If you’ve never borrowed or had any bills to pay, your score may be lower. As such, lenders will have no information about your credit past.
Here, we explain what this could mean and how you might fix it.
How to check if you have credit history
If you are thinking of applying for a loan, you may want to check your credit score first. As mentioned above, having a healthier credit history could give you access to more favourable offers. There are three main credit reference agencies in the UK. They are Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
You can use these sites to find out the details of your report and credit history. Your credit score lets lenders know how well you can manage your money and any credit agreements.
You can check your credit history on these sites too:
- Clearscore - free access to your Equifax score and report
- Noddle - free access to your TransUnion score and report
- Credit Karma - free access to your TransUnion score and report
- CreditExpert - free access to your Experian score and report for 30 days (after which time a monthly fee is charged)
To get a full idea of your credit history, you may need to sign up to Equifax, Experian and TransUnion together.
Currently we only offer loans to eligible Vanquis customers. If you're not a Vanquis customer, fear not! We're working on making our loans available to more people. Check this space for updates.
If you’re eligible, we’ll contact you via email, SMS or in the Vanquis mobile app. Here’s what you can expect when we offer you a loan:
- Simple and straightforward online application
- No hidden charges or fees, ever
- No impact to your credit score if declined
You can also call to check your eligibility and receive a link to your online application. Give us a ring on 0333 003 5802*.
To see what other offers may be available to you, download the Vanquis App.
If you don't have a credit history, it might be a result of a few things. Here, we show the most common reasons for this:
Have you recently turned or are under the age of 18?
If you are under the age of 18, you will not be able to view your credit report. If you have just turned 18 though, there will be little data on your report. This will start to change if you take on and use credit responsibly. Everything from a mobile phone contract to an overdraft will be on your file.
Every credit application should be carefully considered to ensure you can keep up with repayments.
Have you recently arrived in the UK?
If you are new to the UK, credit agencies will have no data for you. Even if you have a good score in the last country you lived in it will not count. This is because credit reports and scores cannot transfer between countries. It can take up to six months to create your first report and score.
No credit accounts in your name?
It may be that you have simply never used credit before. This might be because you're young or that you have never needed to. If you pay joint bills then it could be that your name isn't listed as the account holder. This is also true if you have a mobile phone contract in someone else's name.
You may not have a lot of loan options if you don't have much of a credit history. While some lenders will consider lending to you, they can see you as a risk. This is because they will have no idea of how well you can handle money. As a result, these loans can feature higher APRs.
Your credit score shows lenders how well (or not) you can manage a credit agreement. If you don't have one, you may struggle to get approved by lenders.
Here are some things you can do to help build your credit history.
Open a bank account
Having a well-managed bank account can be a good way to build credit. If you can show lenders you can run it in a responsible way then they may lend to you. If you have an overdraft, it helps to stay below the limit and to pay it off as soon as possible.
Set up some Direct Debits
Once you have a bank account set up, it helps to arrange some Direct Debits. These are payments that will be taken from your account on a set day each month. This could be for a utility or phone bill. Late or missed payments can lower your credit score and will stay on your report for six years.
Get a credit card
Getting a credit card can be a good way of boosting your score. But if you’ve never used one before there may be limits to what you can get. For instance, they may have low borrowing limits and high interest rates. Repayments on a credit card can be flexible though, meaning there is no set deadline to pay off the debt you owe.
But please note that this means it will take longer to repay the debt. If you pay it off in full and on time each month you will start to build a positive credit history.
Take out a small loan from a trusted lender
Taking out a small loan can be a good way to build credit. This is because payments are fixed each month until the debt is repaid. Meaning you will know exactly when the loan will be paid off. Once you have paid in full and on time your score may improve.
Please note that you should only take out a loan if you are sure you can meet the payments. You can use a loan calculator to work out the monthly fee.
Manage your bills
One of the best ways of building your credit is by managing your bills. Taking care of these will show lenders that you're responsible. Things such as paying rent can improve your score as long as it's on time and in full. Once you have shown you can do this over time your score will grow.
*Call charge information
Network charges may apply. Calls to 01 and 03 numbers from UK landlines and mobiles are normally included in free plan minutes if available; otherwise calls to 03 numbers cost the same as calls to 01/02 prefix numbers. Calls to 0800 or 0808 numbers are free from mobiles and landlines.