Will changing bank accounts affect my credit score?

Dear James,

I have seen what looks like a better current account, but also wanted to apply for car finance later in the year.  Can changing bank accounts have an affect on my credit score?

Anne-Marie, Newcastle-under-Lyme

Dear Anne-Marie,

It’s great to hear that you’ve found a better deal on your current account.  Shopping around from time to time is a great way to make sure you’re getting the best deals. It might be worthwhile checking out some comparison websites as these are a popular way for all of us to research the market to identify the best deals we’re likely to qualify for.  While these comparison services do usually involve a check of your credit report when compiling their results, this should only leave behind a soft footprint (i.e. one you see but not future lenders) unless you make an actual application, so avoids the possibility of collecting multiple credit application footprints in a short period of time that can cause concern to your future lenders. Our factsheet on credit report searches explains the issue in more detail, including which footprints can and can’t affect your credit rating.

It’s certainly wise to plan your actual credit applications and, where possible, to spread them out to avoid your credit history resembling that of a desperate borrower.  Generally speaking, having one or two credit application searches is unlikely to impact an application for a current account or loan but do try to leave at least a few months between applying for the bank account and the car finance if possible. If you’re not sure how many hard footprints you’ve collected already – and don’t forget they only stay on your Experian report for one year – It might be worth obtaining a copy of your credit report and reviewing it carefully. Make sure you also check that there isn’t any inaccurate information that could also hinder your chances of securing the best deals.  If you find anything you disagree with or need help understanding just let us know. 

When you apply for credit some lenders ask how long you’ve been with your bank because they like to see evidence of existing longstanding relationships. But don’t let this put you off switching to a better deal. These days, because of the number of organisations that now share customer information with the credit reference agencies, your actual credit history should give a much fuller picture of your borrowing behaviour.  This is why, if you check your Experian Credit Report and Score using our CreditExpert service, one of the measures we calculate for you is the average age of all of your open credit accounts – because many lenders look at this too. (May 2016, updated April 2018)


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