Report exposes credit polarisation that costs families in the UK up to £3.5bn a year

‘The Cost of a Poor Credit Rating’– a report by Dr John Glen, Senior Lecturer at Cranfield Business School, a report commissioned by specialist credit card provider aqua quantifies the direct cost of having a poor credit rating.

Building on aqua’s ‘Mind the Credit Gap’ report, which revealed that more than half of the UK adult population are at risk of being declined credit by mainstream lenders, the latest report commissioned by specialist credit card provider aqua, investigates the annual cost of having a poor credit rating for middle income households across the UK. Using hundreds of figures from various national sources from OFGEM to ONS, Dr Glen compared the cost of utility bills, mobile phone bills, white goods and credit card payments for those with healthy credit scores to those with weak scores.

The research found households with a poor credit score can pay anywhere between £1,089 and £1,225 more than those with healthy credit scores. The greatest impact was felt by families with children (i.e. middle income families with more occupants).

how much more are poor credit families paying
‘The Cost of a Poor Credit Rating’ report found that having a poor credit rating affects the cost of what you buy across a range different household goods and services. For example:


Having poor credit rating

Commenting on the findings, Dr John Glen, Senior Lecturer, Cranfield Business School said: “Simply put, poor credit is costing households in the UK billions. It’s alarming that often the people who need the most help are the ones who are charged more for everyday household products and services. And it’s not just a small number of people, previous research commissioned by aqua has found that 57% of adults in the UK are ‘at risk’ of being declined credit, as a result of a low credit score.”

Sarah Willlingham, founder, added: “A poor credit rating can really impact the price you pay for all sorts of products and services. It’s vital that people understand how important it is to have a healthy credit rating – as aqua’s latest report reveals, it could save you thousands of pounds each year. The great news is that there are simple things people can do to boost their credit rating.”


James Corcoran, CEO of aqua card issuer Progressive Credit Limited, added: “We commissioned this research as we believe in the importance of helping people be better with money, and so be better off. Following on from the ‘Mind the Credit Gap’ report, our latest research shows that having a poor credit rating really does matter – it costs you money. The amount wasted every single year by having a poor credit rating is significant in terms of people’s disposable income and is the equivalent of an average family’s annual gas and electricity bill. The irony is that the people who need their money to go further are the ones who end up paying more.”


He added: “We believe consumers and the industry alike need a wakeup call. We are thrilled to have the support of Sarah Willingham, founder of, and Dr John Glen and we hope that our latest report is a further step forwards in helping people understand the importance of credit scores and will help narrow the credit gap”.


The aqua credit card was launched in 2002 to help the large number of creditworthy individuals in the UK who are left un-served by the mainstream credit industry. aqua creates innovative credit building credit cards and seeks to reward customers who look after their account – designed for people looking to improve or establish their credit rating. Representative 35.9%APR (variable). For more information, visit:

Sarah Willingham also teamed up with aqua to create a series of videos providing credit card advice to help consumers understand the importance of managing their credit card responsibly – videos accessible here.



Notes to editors:

*All stats unless otherwise specified are from Dr John Glen, and his team at Cranfield Business School. Full methodology can be found on page 3 of the report here.



For further information, please contact:

Adam Smith

Teamspirit Public Relations

0207 360 7816


Kelly Hollidge

Teamspirit Public Relations

020 7360 7826