One of the best ways to boost your airline miles and hotel points in the UK is by taking out a travel rewards credit card.
Every so often, I get a question from a reader about the impact that applying for these cards can have on your credit score. While I’m not in a position to give you detailed advice about the dos and don’t of applying for credit cards, it’s definitely advisable to keep on top of your credit score so that if you do apply for a card, you can easily track the impact it may have on your score.
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:
- TransUnion (formerly Callcredit)
This article from MoneySavingExpert covers many of the key points and is well worth a read.
Today, I’m going to highlight four different options that allow you to keep an eye on your credit score on a monthly basis, for free.
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 informing you that your new Noddle report is ready.
Noddle was part of the Callcredit credit reference agency before it was bought by TransUnion. TransUnion recently sold Noddle to Credit Karma. It remains to be seen if the Noddle branding will remain long-term.
Sign up to Noddle for free via this link
I’ve been using ClearScore 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.
Interestingly, Experian agreed to acquire ClearScore in March 2018 but subsequently scrapped the move following concerns over the merger expressed by the CMA.
Sign-up to ClearScore for free via this link
If you prefer an app, you can access the ClearScore app here:
Money Saving Expert Credit Club
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 only offered free access to your Experian Credit Score but it has since expanded. You can now view your full Experian Credit Report for free using the service.
Considering that full access to your credit report from Experian themselves would cost you £14.99 a month, the MSE Credit Club is a very useful service indeed.
You can join the MSE 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.
You can find out more on this page of the Barclaycard website
I have accounts with 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 TransUnion.
Once you’re actively monitoring your credit score, you’ll be in a good position to see what effect applying for credit cards has on it and determine your strategy accordingly.
How do you keep track of your credit score?
Disclaimer: The information provided by Tricks of the Trade is intended solely as a helpful guide to relevant travel rewards card products and their various features and offers. You should always conduct your own research as recommendations provided within may not be suitable for your personal financial circumstances.