5 ways you could build up a credit history

Lenders like to see some evidence that you’ve been a reliable manager of credit in the past – that you’ve got a record of taking credit and paying it back under the terms agreed.

But what if you don’t have a much of a credit history? You would need to build up a credit profile to support future credit applications.

There could be a number of reasons why there might not be enough information to help lenders come to a decision, for example you’re young and have yet to take out much credit, or you’re still living at home, or a new UK resident.  Having no or little credit history could result in you missing out on that mobile phone contract, a mortgage for your first home or the loan you want to buy a car.

Get yourself on the electoral roll – This is easy to do if you are a British or EU citizen. Lenders will check your name and address to prove that you live where you say you do. You can do this even if you are still living at home with mum and dad, or sharing student digs. If you’re not a UK or EU citizen then you can add a short note to your credit report explaining why you are not registered to vote here, or also offer other proof of your name & address.

Show you’re responsible- Smaller forms of credit, like a mobile phone contract or store card, can be easier to be accepted for and also show that you can pay bills responsibly and on time each month. Be careful though – they can sometimes come with higher interest rates and you shouldn’t take out something that you can’t repay.

Open a bank account – Managing it well can help your score and build your history. Just don’t go on a shopping spree and go over your overdraft limit, if you have one, and try to keep an eye on what you are spending!

Manage a credit card – If you’ve got a bank account or a financial relationship with a bank already, they may be happy to give you a credit card as you’ve proved to them that you can manage credit. Once a credit card shows on your credit report, as long as you make payments on time, your credit score should steadily increase.

Show what you already have – If you have a credit history from a previous country, some lenders may be willing to take this into account when deciding whether to do business with you. You’ll need to get it from the credit reference agency in that country, and share it with the lender, but it could be a big help.

Finally, remember to keep a close eye on your credit report to make sure it is in a healthy condition, accurate and up to date. Watch out too for unfamiliar or suspicious entries in your credit report that could indicate identity fraud.

11 thoughts on “5 ways you could build up a credit history

  1. NIGEL MARKHAM

    THIS IS A BIG CON HAVING TO PAY TO USE THIS SERVICE BEFORE YOU CAN GET A REPORT .SOME PEOPLE DON’T HAVE CREDIT OR DEBIT CARDS TO SUPPLEMENT THE REQUIREMENTS YOU NEED TO THINK OF THESE PEOPLE INSTEAD OF YOURSELVES.

    Reply
    1. Neil Stone

      Hi Nigel,
      we do encourage everyone to check their report regularly and try to make this as easy as possible. You can apply for a statutory credit report for just £2.00 either online or by post. I understand that not everyone has a debit card, if you don’t then you can apply by sending a £2.00 postal order or cheque with the application form. You can find out more about applying for the £2.00 report and download the application form here. The £2.00 charge is a statutory fee that goes towards the cost of producing the report, we don’t make any profit from the producing the statutory report.
      We also offer a 30 day trial for the CreditExpert service for first time users, which lets you can check your report and score if you can cancel within the 30 days there is no charge, however you would need a bank card to sign up to this, as the card details are used as part of our security checks.
      I hope this helps if you have any further questions please let me know.
      Regards
      Neil
      Experian Social Media Customer Services

      Reply
  2. Evelyn Shaw

    Why have Experian turned me down for car insurance with Saga – according to you my credit rating is fair- I have two credit cards – my rating says that I was late with a payment some 2/3 years ago – the fact is that it was lost in the post, so I never use the post anymore. I have never been refused credit before – I have two credit cards and pay for lots of thing by monthly direct debit, so am really incensed that I have had to have give my credit card details to you to get this” Free 30 day” credit rating info which has been accepted and have current monthly payments with my current car insurer. I do have savings incidentally and am able to pay outright, but refer to manage my income the way I do.

    Reply
    1. James Jarvis

      Hi Evelyn,

      Thanks for getting in touch, Experian do not make the decision for accepting or refusing credit that decision sits with the lender in this case it might be worth speaking with Saga directly.

      Lenders will consider how your accounts have been conducted in the past and you will be scored positively for maintaining a healthy payment history. However, lenders wish to lend responsibly and so will take into consideration the level of your existing financial commitments. Lenders will also wish to verify you at your present address, so being registered on the Electoral Roll could improve your chances of gaining credit.

      As you have mentioned you have just signed up for the 30 day trial, if you would like me to take a look at your Credit Report to see if there is anything which might have impacting you when you applied for insurance with Saga, send me your details to UksocialSupport@experian.com

      Regards
      James
      Experian Social Media Customer Services

      Reply
  3. Ross

    Hi,
    I have had a few credit issues in the past (when I was 18-19) but over the last 8 years I have worked hard to build my rating again. I now have a rating of 717, not great but on its way and I want to build it higher but I can’t find a way to. I have a mobile which I’ve never missed a payment on. The thing I wanted to ask is I heard about the rent scheme, I’m a private tenant and pay around £750 a month for my 2 bed new build house. Can my landlords sign me up to the rent scheme or is it social housing only?
    Appreciate the help

    Ross

    Reply
  4. Fred

    Hello so when I was 17-18, I had a debit card for a year or so everything was fine until I was a victim of identity theft. My bank cancelled my card as it went past overdraft and since never gave me a bank card again. This is effecting me seriously, I tried applying for a debit card and now I keep getting rejected . How do I put myself in the position to be accepted…

    Reply
    1. CreditExpert Neil

      Hi Fred, finding that you have been a victim of fraud is always distressing particularly if you find it is still having an impact on you now.
      You may wish to check your credit report to see what information has been recorded as a result of the fraudulent activity which may cause you to be refused credit. Our dedicated Victims of Fraud team will then be able to help you if there is information on the report as a result of the fraud.
      You can find out more about applying for your Experian report here.
      You may also want to check your report with the other credit references as they may hold different information.
      Here are the contact details of other the other credit reference agencies:

      Callcredit PLC: Consumer Services Team, PO Box 491, Leeds, LS3 1WZ
      Tel: 0845 366 0071

      Equifax Ltd: Customer Service Centre, P O Box 10036, Leicester, LE3 4FS
      Tel: 0800 014 2955
      Kind regards
      CreditExpert Neil

      Reply
  5. Fred

    I received my credit score and it was 766 which is stated fair. That is all well and good but still need to find out how to get the score up so I can apply for a debit card and be accepted.

    Reply
    1. CreditExpert Neil

      Hi Fred, it’s great to hear that you are looking to increase your score.
      It will depend on what information is already on your report as to the best way to go about this.
      For some general tips on building your score take a look at our guide.
      If you would like us to check your report specifically please contact us and we will able to do so.
      Kind regards
      CreditExpert Neil

      Reply
  6. Rachel

    I took out a credit score building credit card, my balance is low and my payments have been made on time so why has my credit score gone down?

    Reply
    1. CreditExpert Neil

      Hi Rachel, I understand your Experian score has dropped when you have taken out a new card.
      Opening a new card causes you score to drop in the short term, as a new search will be recorded and the new account will appear on your report. Lenders will be concerned that you could become over-committed if you take out further credit on top of this, and will like to see that you can manage this account well before offering further credit.
      Once the search is over 6 months old it will no longer impact your Experian score, and as the account gets older it will then start to add to your Experian score.
      Kind regards
      Neil

      Reply

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