What is a credit score?
Lenders need to check a few things before they can lend money to you. Like your history with credit and whether you can afford to pay them back. Credit scores, which come from credit reference agencies (CRAs), are a way to represent your history with credit using a number. There are 3 main CRAs: TransUnion, Experian and Equifax.
Credit scores are based on things like your history of borrowing and paying money back. They’re made to help you track your borrowing health. CRAs will look at a bunch of other things too, like publicly available information. Based on their own criteria, each CRA will score you differently.
We’re really excited to let you know that we’ve been working on showing you your credit score, for free, right inside the Monzo app. It’ll be available to everyone soon!
Why would you want to check your credit score?
Credit scores show if you’re in good borrowing health
When you try to borrow money, apply for a credit card, or even get a mobile phone contract, lenders or credit providers will want to figure out if you're likely to pay back any money that you borrow. Among other things, they'll use information about how you’ve borrowed in the past and if you’ve used other types of credit to help them make that decision. Credit scores are a good summary of the information they have.
Checking your credit score can help you find out what your borrowing health is like and how you might look to potential lenders. It can also help show you if your credit score is improving too. You can read more about how to improve your credit score here.
It’s important to check there aren’t any mistakes in your credit score
Credit reference agencies generate your score based on information they'll get about you from banks, lenders and public sources (like the electoral register). They'll look at your borrowing history, credit limits, how you use your credit, if you’ve made any late payments, details from courts, details from local authorities and other factors.
Having a lower credit score could mean it’s more difficult to get credit. And the credit you do get might be given to you at a higher rate of interest.
Checking your score means you can be sure there are no mistakes that might impact your overall score and make it lower than it should be. You should be looking for mistakes like incorrect personal information, accounts you haven’t opened, closed accounts that still look open and duplicate accounts.
Will checking my credit score damage it?
Nope! You can check your credit report and score as much as you like. It won’t damage your chances of getting credit.
It’s a little different when you apply for credit. At that point a lender checks your credit report. It’s called a ‘credit search’ or ‘credit check’, and it’ll leave a mark on your report that temporarily lowers your score. So, it’s best not to apply for lots of credit all in one go.
What to look for when you check your credit score
When you check your credit score, you’ll usually see a ‘band’ which helps show how your credit score is looking. There are typically 5 bands: excellent, good, fair, poor, and very poor.
Once you’re able to check your credit score in Monzo, you’ll see that our bands are quite unique. They are:
Room to improve
Since each CRA uses a different scale for credit scores, their bands can vary. And in any case, the bands are just a guide – they don’t necessarily reflect what lenders or credit providers think of your credit history.
What may be more useful is to see how your credit score changes over time. This can help you understand if you’re managing money well.
You should also investigate any sudden drop in your score, especially if you can’t think of what might’ve caused it. This might suggest there’s a error on your report, or that you’ve been a victim of fraud.
How to check your credit score
Credit agencies gather information about you to make your report and calculate your score. You can check your report and score with TransUnion, Experian and Equifax.
Keep in mind that you have more than one credit score and report, since each CRA creates them in slightly different ways.
You’ll soon be able to check your credit score using Monzo
With Monzo, you’ll be able to see your score in just a few taps – no need to fill out any long forms. We’ll explain what your score could mean, in plain English, and we’ll give you some tips on how to improve your credit score or maintain it.
It’s almost ready – we’ll introduce this over the next few months.
We report information about current accounts and loans to TransUnion and Experian. We also use data from TransUnion and Experian to help us make decisions about who we can responsibly lend money to (for our overdrafts and loans). The score you see in your app comes from TransUnion.