New Law = Free Credit Score For Life!

Since the new GDPR law came into effect you can get your credit score for free! Knowing your Credit Score allows you to get better deals.

My Pick

Out of every credit score providor I tested, I would recommend: Experian Free Credit Score.

Experian offers a free credit score with no card details required and checking your score won’t affect it.

Why you should trust me

My name’s John Talbot, also known in the personal finance community as the ‘Money Nerd’. If you saw my story in the Sun Newspaper recently, you’ll know that I was once drowning in debt and I beat the system by using tools like these.

I’ve this week researching how these companies work, going through the application process and testing their customer service. I’m confident in my methodology and recommendations.

What’s a credit score?

Checking your credit score is in good shape is important if you want to get a credit card, loan or even a phone contract! The big credit reference agencies try to lure you in with free month-long trials followed by paid subscriptions.

A credit score reflects the likelihood of you paying back credit. Lenders like banks and credit card companies will look at your credit file when they calculate your credit score, which will show them the level of risk in lending to you. The higher your credit score, the better your chances of being accepted.

Your credit score influences your chances of getting:

  • Credit cards, loans and mortgages
  • Car financing
  • Gas & electricity monthly payments
  • Mobile phone contracts
  • Insurance monthly payments

How does a credit score work?

Your credit score is calculated whenever you apply for credit, such as a loan, credit card, mortgage, or even a mobile phone contract. How your score is worked out depends on the company you’re applying to – different companies have different methods, so your credit rating may vary between them.

Lenders look at the ‘data’ version of you to check your borrowing history and how you typically repay money you’ve borrowed. Usually, they’ll take into account:

  • Information from your credit report
  • Your application details
  • Existing data (e.g. if you’re an existing customer)

Why and what you should check

A decent credit rating can open doors to attractive offers and better rates on borrowing, so checking it regularly is deemed good financial practice.

The credit reference agencies hold information on you which lenders use. Even small errors can cause problems, so it’s important you check through your credit report. Below is a quick checklist on what you can check:

  1. Check addresses on old accounts.
  2. Fight unfair defaults on your file.
  3. If you no longer have joint accounts with someone, ensure you financially separate
  4. Always check your credit reports after rejection.
  5. Cancel unused credit and store cards.

My pick: Experian Free Credit Score

Out of every credit score providor I tested, I would recommend: Experian Free Credit Score.

Experian offers a free credit score with no card details required and checking your score won’t affect it.

Overview

Experian is the largest credit reference agency and provide the best credit score experience. Since the new GDPR law has come into effect they have now made it available for free. No card details required.

It took me less than 2 minutes to register and view my score. There’s also sections where you can view tips on how to improve. There’s no catch and no reason not to do it.

Benefits

When you apply for a loan, credit card, rent agreement, mortgage, phone contract, etc, this is the number that they look at. Knowledge is power, knowing your score allows you to take steps to improve it and demand better interest rates.

The score is update every 30 days, so you can start tracking how you’re doing every month. Lots of little changes can improve it. For example mine went from poor to fair when I stopped being late on my credit card bill every month.

Price

In short: free for life and no card details required.

You have a legal right to check your credit report. It used to cost £2 or £15 per month, but since the new GDPR law came into effect in May 2018, it’s now free.

The checks are all done online so they’re quick and easy to do.

The statutory report contains your personal details, info on financial links to other people, whether you’re on the electoral roll, the credit accounts you have, any missed payments or defaults, and a list of other recent searches of your credit report.

Process

I tested the sign up process and it took less than 2 minutes (including taking screenshots! Super simple, I reckon you’ll do it in less than 60 seconds.

First you’ll land on this page which explains what you’ll get with your free score.

Enter your basic informaiton.

Add your current address and set up a passoword.

Answer a basic question to confirm it’s you. I got ‘which bank are you at’?

Add your income and that’s it, you’re done. Once submitted, you’ll get your credit score as shown below.

How’s your Score calculated?

The Experian Credit Score runs from 0-999 and is based on your Experian Credit Report. The higher your score, the greater your chance of getting the best credit deals.

You’ll lose points for having records on your report that may look negative to companies, such as late payments and defaults. You’ll gain points for things that companies usually view positively, such as consistently making payments on time and being on the electoral roll.

What’s good or average credit score?

There’s no ‘magic’ number that will guarantee you approval. And, because different companies may look for different things in their potential customers, you may be refused credit by one and accepted by another. They consider a ‘good’ score to be between 881 and 960, with ‘fair’ or average between 721 and 880.

The free Experian Credit Score is a useful guide and gives you an idea of how companies may see you, so you can make more informed choices when it comes to credit.

  • Excellent (961 – 999): You should get the best credit cards, loans and mortgages.
  • Good (881 – 960): You should get most credit cards, loans and mortgages but the very best deals may reject you.
  • Fair (721 – 880): You might get OK interest rates but your credit limits may not be very high.
  • Poor (561 – 720): You might be accepted for credit cards, loans and mortgages but they may have higher interest rates.
  • Very Poor (0 – 560): You’re more likely to be rejected for most credit cards, loans and mortgages that are available.

Flaws but not dealbreakers

There are drawbacks – you won’t be able to see all features that the paid service provides, however this shouldn’t stop you from tracking your score on a monthly basis to see if you’re improving.

How much does it cost?

It’s free for life and no card details required.

You have a legal right to check your credit report. It used to cost £2 or £15 per month, but since the new GDPR law came into effect in May 2018, it’s now free.

Will checking my credit score impact my score?

No. You can check your credit score as much as you like without impacting your score. Your score only gets impacted when you apply for things like credit cards and loans.

How long will it take?

To register it took me less than 2 minutes and you get your credit score instantly.

The Bottom Line Free Credit Scores

Since the new GDPR law came into effect you’re now legally allowed to get your credit score for free and no card details are required. It takes less than 2 minutes, there’s no catches and nothing to lose. Go for it!

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