A credit score is a three-digit number that expresses your creditworthiness based on your credit history and other personal information. When you apply for a product like a credit card, loan, mortgage or car finance, lenders use your credit score amongst other factors to decide whether you qualify for approval, and the level of interest they charge you.
People with higher credit scores have a better chance of acceptance and are more likely to have access to higher credit limits and preferential interest rates, while those with lower scores tend not to get the best offers. However, you can increase your chances of acceptance with a credit card for bad credit, and when managed responsibly, it could help you build your credit score.
The average UK credit score is 797 out of 999 (according to Experian), however scores can vary depending on the credit reference agency. Looking at different areas of the UK more closely, shows the average credit score varies significantly depending on the location.
The areas of the UK with the highest average credit scores are:
The areas of the UK with the lowest average credit scores are:
Credit score bands help us better understand our position with credit by assigning each number into one of the following categories, very poor, poor, fair, good, or excellent.
The UK’s three main credit reference agencies, TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax, all use different methods to calculate your credit score, which is why the credit score band ranges vary slightly between each one.
Experian credit scores range between 0 and 999, using the following bands:
In April 2021, the Equifax credit score range changed from 0-700 to 0-1,000 to make it easier for customers to understand their scores, they still use the same credit report information and data. The company now uses the following band classifications:
Each credit reference agency uses a different range to classify credit scores, so it depends on which one you use to check your score. For Experian, a score of 881 to 960 is considered ‘good’. For TransUnion, a score of 604-627 is considered ‘good’. For Equifax, a score of 531 to 670 is considered ‘good’. If you are an Aqua customer, you can check your credit score for free using Aqua Coach, available in the Aqua app. The better your credit score, the more likely you are to be accepted for a mortgage, loan, or credit card.
With a fair credit score you may be offered a credit card with a lower credit limit to begin with and a higher rate of interest. However, if you practice good credit management by staying within your credit limit and making payments on time, your lender may increase your limit or even lower your interest rate if they feel this is the right decision for you.
When you make a mortgage application, lenders look at your credit score to determine whether you are a good candidate to lend to, but there isn’t one specific credit score for a mortgage that guarantees you’ll be accepted. Mortgage affordability involves more than that. Lenders will also consider your earnings and your other regular outgoing costs like bills and council tax.
No, no matter how many times you check your credit score or your credit report, it will never have an impact on your credit score. Checking your own credit score is considered a soft inquiry, which means it won’t leave a mark that’s visible to lenders on your credit report. However, they will remain visible to you for 12-24 months.
Stay on track with your credit building journey with text reminders, award-winning customer support and our free credit-building tool, Aqua Coach, available in the Aqua app.
Powered by TransUnion, Aqua Coach is an in-app tool that helps our customers better understand their credit scores, the behaviours that affect it, and what they can do to improve it.
We help over 4,000 people start their credit building journey each week and you can check if you’re eligible too in less than 60 seconds, without impacting your credit score.
Representative 34.9% APR Variable with Aqua Classic.
If you’d like to learn more about credit and the best ways to manage it, our Credit Smarts hub is full of advice and guidance to help with learning how to budget, understanding the cost of bad credit, how credit cards work, what the different types of credit cards are for, and so much more.
Failure to make payments on time or to stay within your credit limit means that you will pay additional charges and may make obtaining credit in the future more expensive and difficult.
From spreading costs to building credit history, learn the benefits of credit cards when used responsibly.
Learn what it means to carry a credit card balance and how this could affect your credit score.