Building credit from scratch can be easier than improving an established, bad credit score. But what score do you start with and what are the best ways to get started establishing a credit file? Learn more here!

What Credit Score Do You Start With in the UK?

It’s unlikely that you will have any  credit history or a credit score in the UK if you’ve recently: turned 18, moved to the UK, or have not maintained a credit account in the last six years.  The question is, what credit score do you start with? The short answer is that you will not have a credit score to start with at all. 

Credit scores are based on the information that is enclosed in your credit file. Your credit file  contains your financial records for the past six years. Your financial history and records start when you have a form of credit, such as a credit card, mortgage, loan, etc., in your name. When you take out a financial product in your name it can take a few months for this to be reflected on your credit score. So if you; just turned 18, recently moved to the UK, or could not maintain a good credit account in the last six years, Credit Reference Agencies do not have enough information on you to calculate your credit score. Therefore, your credit score does not exist.  

Building credit history typically takes time and does not happen overnight. Still, you may begin to see positive results sooner than you think if you start taking the proper steps to establish credit which we will outline later in this article. If you’re starting fresh with your finances at 18 years old, you’ll likely need to have a bank account or another type of account such as a store card for at least 3 to 6 months before a credit score can begin to be calculated.

What is the Average Credit Score for an 18 Years Old?

According to the Map of Average Credit Scores Across the UK, the average credit score for the 18 – 20 year old age group ranges from 774 – 859 depending on the area you live in. It’s important to note that this data is from Experian, therefore the score ranges correspond to your Experian credit score which has a range from 0 – 999. A few notable areas with average credit scores for 18 year olds includes: 

  • City of London: 869
  • Birmingham: 762
  • Leeds : 772
  • Manchester: 750
  • Liverpool: 749
  • Glasgow City : 769

If you want to learn more about the average credit score in the UK with other Credit Reference Agencies such as Equifax and Transunion, find out more here

What are 4 Ways You Can Begin to Establish Credit?

  1. Register on the Electoral Roll. Registering to vote in the UK helps lenders prove that you have residency in the UK and verify that your name and address are correct. This makes you less risky to lend to and helps build your credit score. It is one of the fastest and easiest steps for your journey towards establishing credit! To learn more about building credit in the UK read this blog.  
  1. Open and Maintain a Bank Account. Opening and maintaining a current account with a bank in the UK  helps to establish credit. Properly managing a bank account helps to prove that:
  • You have an established relationship with a financial institution 
  • You know how to manage your money and pay bills on time
  1. Sign up for Credit Builder Apps. Portify’s credit builder app helps you establish and build credit by reporting your payment behaviour to all three major Credit Reference Agencies in the UK. Get started building your credit for £9/month!
  1. Sign up for a Mobile Phone Contract or a Store Card. Smaller forms of credit such as a mobile contract are a great way to begin establishing credit because you may have higher chances of approval than you would for a credit card or loan. Be sure to demonstrate your ability to be financially responsible by paying your monthly bills on time and in full!

Related: The Top Credit Builder Tools for 2021 and How to Build Credit When You’re New to the UK

Build a Healthy Credit File with Portify

Portify works with all major UK Credit Reference Agencies to help you build your credit score.

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Lauren Robson is the digital communications manager at Portify.
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