A subject that I get questions about on a regular basis is credit scores. Specifically, the effect that applying for credit cards will have on a person’s credit score. It is clear, I think, that one of the best ways to boost your points balances significantly is by taking out some of the travel rewards credit cards that are available.
However, people are understandably concerned about the repercussions of this so I thought I’d put together a piece with a few useful links that will allow you easily keep on top of this.
What is your credit score?
The first thing to say here is that credit scoring in the UK is not an exact science. There is no such thing as a single credit score in this country.
There are actually 3 separate UK credit reference agencies:
This article from MoneySavingExpert covers many of the key points and is well worth a read.
Today, I want to highlight four different options that allow you to keep an eye on your credit score for free on a monthly basis.
This was the first credit score service that I signed up to and it does what it says on the tin. You’ll get a monthly email telling you that your new Noddle report is ready. Noddle is part of the Callcredit credit reference agency.
You can sign up for free via this link
This is a relatively ‘new’ service that I’ve been using since it launched in 2015. They pull their data from Equifax and have over 4 million users. Much like Noddle, you will receive a monthly email when your updated credit score and report is available.
You can sign-up for free via this link
For those who prefer apps, you can access the ClearScore app here:
Money Saving Expert
This might be the newest service covered today, but in my view, this is the best of the lot.
In September 2016, MoneySavingExpert.com (MSE) launched their free Credit Club. Initially, this just offered free access to your Experian Credit Score but has since expanded. You can now freely view your full Experian Credit Report using the service.
Considering that full access to your credit report via Experian directly would cost you £14.99 a month, the MSE Credit Club is a very useful service indeed.
You can join the Credit Club via this link
For some time now, Barclaycard holders have been able to access their Experian Credit Score for free via Online Servicing or within the Barclaycard app. This is only updated every 60 days. It also doesn’t provide access to your full Credit Report.
As a free perk, it was a nice extra before the likes of MSE’s Credit Club came along – now it feels a little antiquated.
Personally, I have signed up for Noddle, ClearScore and MSE’s Credit Club. As they pull their data from different credit reference agencies, this allows me to stay on top of any discrepancies across Experian, Equifax and Callcredit.
Once you are actively monitoring your credit score, you will be in a good position to see what effect applying for credit cards has on it and determine your strategy accordingly. My credit score tends to take a small dip following an application but quickly rises back up (often higher than it was previously) within a couple of months.
With numerous free services now available, it has never been easier to stay on top of your credit score.