London is a global international trade and business hub that offers opportunity and diversity. As the largest city in the United Kingdom and Europe, you’ll find cultures from all over the world; in fact, over 300 languages are spoken, in London and 35% of the  city’s population are foreign-born. It’s no secret that the UK is an attractive destination to move to and settle in, but the process is often a bit more complicated than expected, even once you meet the Government visa qualifications. 

Even with the troubles that come with moving to a new country, the United Kingdom is a wonderful place to call home. Our advice for newcomers is to focus on financials as quickly as possible in order to build a proper foundation for a successful life.

How to Get Started Building Credit When You’re New to the UK

  1. Find a permanent place to stay and UK address. It’s important to have a stable resident address to show proof of identity and build credit. This means you should avoid moving frequently at first. It can be tempting to rent a fully-inclusive flat, but a note that this can lead to issues for proof of identity and your credit score.
  1. Open a bank account. This can actually be tricky based on your circumstances around proof of address if you’re new to the UK. If you work for a UK government recognized company, try asking the HR department for an official letter stating your information such as: 
  • Full (Legal) Name
  • Current UK address
  • Previous address (even if abroad)
  • How long you’ve been working for the company
  • Current salary

If that option fails, consider opening a ‘new to UK’ bank account at big banks such as Lloyds. A word of caution that these accounts often carry higher fees with fewer benefits.

  1. Sign up with utility providers. Regular payments to some utility options will help build your credit. Consider trying to set up the following:
    • Council tax payments (once you are renting a flat)
    • Water and sewage service
    • A landline (through British Telecom / BT or others)
    • Gas and electric payments
  1. Get a mobile contract. It’s best to go with a pay-monthly mobile contract for building credit. They typically have a contract length of 12-24 months and can help get your credit score rolling after 3 months.
  1. Consider entry level credit cards or build credit using a credit builder app. Signing up, using and making on time payments on credit cards can help build your credit. Alternatively you can use a credit building app like Portify. Consider applying for the following to get started:
  1. Get on the electoral roll. Registering to vote gives your credit a lift in the UK. It’s important to note that there are many more qualifying Commonwealth citizen countries that allow newcomers to vote in UK elections. However, this will not be an option for most foreigners.

If you follow these steps and never miss a payment, you should slowly build good credit in the UK!

What are the Benefits of Having Good Credit in the UK?

The benefits of having good credit in the UK include having expanded access to credit cards, loans, mortgages, flat rentals, mobile phone contracts, and more. More importantly, having good credit will likely allow you to borrow with lower interest rates because lenders see you are more trustworthy and likely to repay.

If you recently relocated to the United Kingdom, either for school, work, or other reasons, you will face all the joys but also the challenges of moving. Admittedly, one of the biggest frustrations is not having UK credit history. Lack of credit can prevent you from getting access to housing, credit cards or a loan. .

Building a credit file in the UK is important to properly set up your life in your new home country. Without any credit or a credit history, you might be charged a high deposit for a flat rental or even potentially be rejected.

The good news is that there are more modern options to help build credit than ever before.

Build your credit score with Portify.

The Portify app works to build your credit score through your monthly membership fee. We partner and report payments to Experian, Equifax and TransUnion and help the hardest workers build credit. Join our community of users who have been working to build healthy credit.


Lauren Robson is the digital communications manager at Portify.
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