Anyone trying to get their finances straight will know the importance of a credit score: it’s how lenders like banks and mortgage providers decide whether you’re a safe person to give money to, and will be checked for everything from car payments to renting a home.
It’s important to check your credit score regularly to make sure that it’s accurate and find out if there’s anything you should be doing to improve what lenders think of you. There are a range of online tools available to help you do exactly that – so we’re going to compare some of the most popular. Some people will try to charge you for this service, often in the form of a monthly subscription, but all the options discussed in this list are available for free.
There are several credit agencies working in the UK, and they may all score you differently. You have no control over which agency a lender uses when running a credit check, so it may be helpful to sign up for multiple credit checker tools.
MoneySavingExpert Credit Club
MoneySavingExpert partners with Experian, one of the most popular credit agencies in the UK, so it’s a good place to start. You’ll need to share personal details about your financial and employment situation to set up an account, which gives you access to your full report as well as hints and tips for improving your score.
Like most of the tools on this list, they’ll also help you understand whether you’re likely to be accepted for different financial products such as loans and credit cards by checking affordability and other eligibility criteria. This is helpful, because lenders will do a credit check when deciding whether to lend to you or not.
ClearScore also work with Experian, so should give you the same information as MoneySavingExpert. This tool displays your credit score on a timeline, so you can see how its changed overtime and understand how different activity – such as applying for a new account or upping your credit limit – has directly affected your report.
We found it a little less user friendly than the Credit Club, and also had some difficulties signing up as they didn’t recognise the address. Once in, though, it does have some particularly helpful features – such as letting you contact Experian directly to challenge any incorrect information.
Credit Karma recently merged with Noddle, and users of either tool can now login through their platform. They partner with TransUnion and have an interface that is very similar to ClearScore, showing you a timeline that highlights fluctuations in your score. It also provides tips for saving money and suggestions for improving your overall score in a clean and smart, mobile-friendly lay-out.
Money Supermarket Credit Monitor
Money Supermarket recently launched their own tool, partnering with the credit agency TransUnion. It’s particularly easy to use, asking for just a few personal details and then verifying your account history as a secondary security measure.
Once in, you’ll see a simple dashboard very similar to the MoneySavingExpert offering – although it’s worth using both tools, as they partner with different agencies. It will show you your score alongside information about how well you compare to the rest of the country, things you’re doing well and tips to improve, and the option to view your full report if you wish to.