How can expats new to the UK build their credit score?
Latest figures reveal that 588,000 people made the UK their home in the year ending March 2017. If you have no previous credit history in the UK, try these six credit-boosting tips for visiting expats – from the experts at LOQBOX.
If you’re new to the UK, it may come as a bit of a surprise that the credit history you built up back home counts for nothing here in your new home. As Experian’s Neil Stone puts it:
Due to the differences in data protection laws between countries, we are some way off having a ‘global’ credit score. We [like other credit reference agencies] only hold information relating to individuals at UK addresses and so moving to or from a new country will mean starting your credit history afresh.
The good news is there are a few simple ways you can do something about it.
1. Get on the electoral roll
This acts as an important financial ‘anchor’ that really helps your credit score. It only takes a few minutes, and it’s completely free. If you qualify to vote in the UK, just head to www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.
Not sure whether you can? Expatfocus.com explains…
In the UK, you can only register on the electoral roll if you already have a UK address and you are a citizen of … the Commonwealth, the EU or Britain.
While Experian’s Neil Stone adds…
If you are not able to register on the electoral roll, you can add a note to your credit report to explain this, called a Notice of Correction.
2. Get a copy of your credit report
You don’t have to pay to see your credit report. Each major credit reference agency (CRA) offers a free service online – ClearScore or CreditWise (Equifax), Credit Club (Experian), and Noddle (CallCredit). It’s a good idea to check all three for inconsistencies or mistakes.
If you want to monitor your UK credit report while it’s coming together, a [free online] service … might be a good option. This would also give you a credit report score, whenever you log in, to help you track your progress.
James Jones, Experian
3. Don’t panic if they can’t find you
The CRAs may not have much data on you yet – or maybe none at all. This is OK. The other steps here will help establish your ‘financial presence’ with them.
4. Get your bills in your name
Utility bills won’t help you get credit, but they help to build your digital identity. Whether renting or buying, if you pay the bills, make sure they’re in your name so they count towards your credit history.
5. Get a mobile
A mobile phone contract is another way of building your digital identity with the CRAs. You’ll need to pass a credit check, which could be tricky, but don’t let that stop you trying.
6. Get a credit card
Getting a credit card and making the full payment each month will build your credit history and prove your creditworthiness to lenders. Again, you’ll need to pass a credit check. Use a ‘soft search’ tool from totallymoney.com or moneysupermarket.com to see how likely you are to be accepted before applying.
Some card companies (like Luma and Capital One) offer credit cards specifically designed to help those with bad credit build up their history. Money Saving Expert even has a handy page all about them.
LOQBOX itself is completely free. If you’re struggling to get a foot on the credit ladder – or you just don’t want a credit card – you can sign up to LOQBOX and rebuild your credit history just by saving as little as £20 a month.
We also found this useful video, courtesy of Experian, that explains some of the credit-building steps you can take when new to the UK.
This post was written and compiled by the credit experts behind LOQBOX. To sign up for free or read more about the clever way LOQBOX works, head to LOQBOX.co.uk.