Warning: Late repayment can cause you serious money problems. For help, go to moneyadviceservice.org.uk

How To Check Your Credit Rating For Free?

Do you want to see what's on your credit file, but you don't want to pay for it? What's on our credit report determines so much of our lives and, for us as consumers, it's important to make sure the information held in them is correct and up to date.

How can we do this? You may not know this, but credit reports can be downloaded or requested free of charge from all of Britain's four major credit reference agencies (CRA).

In this article, the Little Loans team shares:

  • what a credit rating actually is
  • how credit reference agencies including Experian actually work out your score
  • which companies examine your credit file when you apply for a loan or to become a customer
  • why you should keep a constant eye on your credit file
  • top tips on how to improve your credit score in the eyes of lenders

What is a credit rating?

Your credit rating (or credit score) is expressed as one number. And that number is calculated by CRAs to indicate to lenders and other companies:

  • how creditworthy you are,
  • how likely you are to meet your financial obligations, and
  • your ability to manage money and debt.
  • what a credit rating actually is
  • how credit reference agencies including Experian actually work out your score
  • which companies examine your credit file when you apply for a loan or to become a customer
  • why you should keep a constant eye on your credit file
  • top tips on how to improve your credit score in the eyes of lenders

What is a credit rating?

  • how creditworthy you are,
  • how likely you are to meet your financial obligations, and
  • your ability to manage money and debt.

How is my credit score calculated?

Your credit score is worked out using an algorithm which takes account of the following:

  • the number of credit accounts you have open
  • the balance on credit accounts and how close your balances are to your limits
  • your late payment and default history
  • number of hard credit searches against you
  • County Court Judgements or IVAs
  • the number of credit accounts you have open
  • the balance on credit accounts and how close your balances are to your limits
  • your late payment and default history
  • number of hard credit searches against you
  • County Court Judgements or IVAs

Who are the 4 main credit reference agencies?

The four main CRAs in the UK are:

  • Equifax,
  • Experian,
  • TransUnion (formerly known as CallCredit), and
  • Crediva

Each CRA has their own way of calculating your credit score. So, your score with Experian will be different from the score registered at each of the three other CRAs.

Just like providers of credit cards, loans, and mortgages, Experian and the other CRAs must be authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Who uses credit reference agencies?

Lenders offering credit cards, loans, and other types of financial services to consumers must perform a hard search of your credit report from a credit reference agency when you complete an application to open a new borrowing account with them. In fact, it's a legal requirement.

It's not just lenders either who want to see your credit file. Other companies which use them include:

  • Your energy company (gas and electricity)
  • Independent providers of mortgages and insurance,
  • A shop or internet retailer if you're applying for a store card
  • A bank or building society (when you open an account, apply for a loan, or take out a mortgage)
  • Travel agents (if you apply for a holiday loan)
  • Landlords on prospective tenants

Some employers run a credit search on you when you apply for a job. Why is that? In jobs which give employees access to sensitive personal data or financial information, employers have to take extra care that they're not employing someone who may be an increased risk.

Whenever you close a credit account (for example, you pay a loan off), the record of the account will stay on your report for at least one year.

Can I check my credit score for free?

Yes - you can get access to your credit score at no cost from Experian and the three other major CRAs. In most cases, all that you need to do to see your score is to provide them with some limited personal details (including your email address).

How can I check my Experian credit score for free?

You can view your Experian credit records at no cost by going through the company's online registration process - please click here.

How can I check my Equifax credit score at no cost?

To inspect your credit history and to see all the details they hold on you at Equifax, please click here. Please bear in mind that the service is only free for 30 days and there is a charge of £7.95 per month after that.

How can I check my TransUnion credit score for free?

To see all the information that TransUnion hold about your financial accounts, register at Credit Karma for free.

How can I check my Crediva credit score for free?

How can I check my Crediva credit score for free?

Your Crediva credit report can be viewed for free at Check My File (details below) or you can obtain your statutory credit report by clicking here. You have to apply in writing to see your report using their application form.

5 free credit score checking services

There are other options available if you don't want to directly register with a credit reference agency like Experian to see your credit file. You can register at:

  • Totally Money (TransUnion) (no cost)
  • Check My File (amalgamation of all four agencies) (no cost for 30 days (free trial) then £14.99 a month)
  • Money Super Market (TransUnion) (no cost)
  • Capital One CreditWise (Equifax) (no cost)

With each of these services, you can discover pre-approved deals that you might be eligible for (based upon your credit score) on credit cards, loans, mortgages, insurance, energy, car finance, and more.

On most sites, there is also an extensive self-help section showing you how to improve your credit score. Follow this advice so that you can make it more likely that lenders will view any applications you make to them in the future more favourably.

5 reasons to sign up and improve your score

You can stay on top of your credit score by signing up to a free account at Experian or one of the other CRAs. The information you'll see on your reports is updated monthly meaning that it's easy to keep control on how you manage your money.

  • Track and log each credit account you have open (your balances and limits)
  • Easy access - log in via your desktop, laptop, tablet, or mobile.
  • Many credit checking services offer free advice on improving your credit score. The better your credit score, the more credit cards, loans, and other types of finance you can apply for which often come with cheaper rates of interest.
  • Guaranteed offers - some of the free services provide deals on credit cards, loans, mortgages, house insurance, car insurance, and more with guaranteed acceptance if you apply.
  • Monitor activity against your name including any missed payments and info on any suspicious activities.

Checking your credit score for free - FAQ

Can I check my credit score at 17?

Credit cards, loans, and mortgages are only available to Brits who are 18 years or older. As a result, 17 years old do not yet have a credit score or a credit file that they can access or inspect.

Can you check your credit score without credit?

When someone turns 18 or they move back to the UK after a period of six or more years living abroad, there will be little or no information (for example, credit account payment history) on their credit report.

Despite this, you will still have your own credit file which you can request to see. Unfortunately,, however, your actual score is likely to be very low meaning that your choice of lenders and financial products will be limited.

As a result, any deal on credit cards, loans, or mortgages you secure is likely to be at a higher rate of interest than offered to customers with "excellent" or "good" credit scores.

Tips and techniques to improve your credit score

You can improve what a lender sees on your credit report. And, because your credit report is updated once a month by each of the CRAs, you can see your credit score rise in real time.

Below are our top tips and techniques on how to improve your credit score:

  • Score lowered by others? Your credit rating may be influenced by the financial behaviour of people you live with and have lived with. If so, consider applying for a "notice of disassociation".
  • Reduce your overall debt - if you can make more than the minimum monthly repayments on your credit cards or even repay a loan completely, your credit rating is likely to rise.
  • Pay your bills in full and on time - missing loan or bill repayments has a negative effect on how creditworthy you're perceived as being.
  • Fraudsters - many criminals steal other people's identities to carry out fraud. Check to see if you've been an unwitting victim.
  • Errors on your report - did you know that over 10m credit files on Brits contain mistakes? Use CRA's appeal procedures to right any mistakes - it's quick and straightforward.
  • Are you on the voters' roll? Being on the electoral register makes a very positive difference to your credit score.

Worried about debt?

There are six national charities in the UK offering free advice and support to consumers worried about their level of borrowing or their ability to manage financially - StepChange, PayPlan, National Debtline, the Debt Advice Foundation, the Money Advice Service, and Citizens Advice.

Little Loans is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Check out our 4.8 star rating on Feefo

See more feefo reviews

Straight forward

“Easy pleasant service, quick decision and easy account management.”

Laurissa Marsden

Representative Example: Amount of credit: £1200 for 18 months at £90.46 per month. Total amount repayable of £1628.28. Interest: £428.28. Interest rate: 49.9% pa (variable). 49.9% APR Representative. We’re a fully regulated and authorised credit broker and not a lender