Can a phone contract improve my credit score?

Your mobile phone contract is a type of borrowing, so monthly payments show up on your credit report. That means if you pay on time you can dial up your credit score. But of course there’s a flip side! If you’re late paying your contract or you miss payments, your credit score could drop. Loqbox is here to help you get smart about smart phone contracts!

Everybody’s got one in their pocket, but that doesn’t mean your phone should burn a hole in it. Find out what credit score you need to get a mobile phone, how phone contracts affect your credit score and if there’s a minimum credit score you need to get a phone contract. Let’s get into it!

What credit score do you need for a phone contract?

There’s no minimum credit score to get a mobile phone contract. But your contract provider will look at your credit report to make a decision on whether they will accept you as a customer.

This decision will be based on the details of your credit report and the specifics of the deal they’re offering. Fortunately, phone contract checks are nowhere near as in depth as a mortgage application. But they will run a hard credit check against your credit report as part of their decision making.

If you’re declined a phone contract, be careful not to apply for lots of contracts in a short space of time. Multiple hard credit checks on your report will reduce your credit score for around six months (if you can prove you can handle credit responsibly during this time, it will start to rebuild itself).

What is a good credit score for a phone contract?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a universal credit score that will guarantee you are accepted for a phone contract. It’s more complicated than that.

Credit reports can seem really confusing when you look over the information they hold, so the credit reference agencies (that generate your credit reports), also created credit scores as an easy way for the public to understand how a lender may be viewing the credit report.

The best thing to do is to take a look at your credit report with all three of the UK’s main credit reference agencies (CRAs): Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. This will give you an idea of whether a lender will view your credit report positively or negatively, and that can help you to work out if you’re likely to be accepted or not.  

If you’re not sure what your credit score is you can check each one for free and without hurting it using these recommended services:

ClearScore (uses Equifax data)*
Credit Club (uses Experian data)
Intuit Credit Karma (uses TransUnion data)

*We just called to say… we get a little commission when you sign up for ClearScore using this link.

Can you get a phone contract with bad credit?

It is possible to get a phone contract with “poor” or “bad” credit. Generally, a cheaper handset requires a softer credit search. That’s because monthly installments will be cheaper so you're less of a risk! Paying deposits or providing guarantors is another way to get a phone contract when you don't have “good” credit. But the great news is once you’ve got your phone contract, you can use it to improve your credit score.

Does a phone contract improve your credit score?

Yes! And no.  It depends how you use it! Your phone contract is considered to be credit. The way you use it will show up on your credit report. Managing your phone contract payments properly will have a positive affect on your credit score. But if you miss payments, or if you’re late paying, you might find your phone contract actually hurts your credit score!

If you miss a payment on your mobile phone contract, your contract provider might report it as a default. This stays on your credit report for six years! This could make it harder to borrow money in the future. If you manage to keep up payments after defaulting, you’ll see the negative impact on your credit score decrease over time. But you want to avoid defaults whenever you can!

So, your phone contract can improve your credit score. Which is great news. But the reality is that if you are trying to boost your credit score because you want to take out a large loan or a mortgage, your phone contract isn’t going to make a big enough splash in the eyes of a potential creditor. It’s not going to hurt to have a good history of paying your contract every month, but you might need a bigger boost. That’s where we come in!

Get started with Loqbox, we can offer proven ways of boosting your credit score in really smart ways!

Phone contract and credit score FAQs:

How do you pass a credit check for mobile phones?

There is no guaranteed way to pass your mobile phone credit check, and there is also no universal credit score number that will ensure you are accepted.

The main thing phone contract providers are looking for is if you have missed payments, defaults or country court judgments (CCJs) against your name. These can have a negative impact on your credit history and will stay on your credit report for a whopping six years. So it’s really important you stay on top of your credit agreements.

What’s the easiest phone contract to get with bad credit?

No mobile phone contract provider is better than any other if you have bad credit. There isn’t one phone company that is easier to get approved for in the UK. That’s a myth, unfortunately.

The truth is they will all complete similar credit checks when you apply for a phone contract. There are lots of providers and many variations of contracts and handsets so you should be able to find something that’s right for you out there!

MoneySuperMarket suggests opting for a SIM-only deal if you have bad credit – if you’ve been declined a phone contract, but you don’t necessarily need a new handset, there are SIM-only deals with rolling one-month long contracts that could be a better option. Doing this would give you time to focus on improving what is negatively affecting your credit score, before you apply for a contract again in the future.

Does upgrading your phone affect your credit score?

Yes, upgrading your mobile phone contract counts as taking a new credit agreement so you will have a credit check completed on you. This means that it will show on your credit report. But it is considered a normal check and if everything is OK on your credit report, then you have nothing to worry about!

Will a SIM-only contract improve my credit rating?

This depends on whether you pay by Direct Debit or not and, if you do, how responsibly you manage those payments. Paying your credit agreements by Direct Debit can help you to build your credit history over time. 

If you pay the agreed amount on time, you’ll likely see a small but steady growth. But if you miss payments or pay late, you will see your credit score take a hit!

If you’re looking for an alternative way to build your credit history, read more about Loqbox Rent. We can help you make your rent payments (whether you pay those to your landlord, council or family) count towards your credit history with Experian.

Explore more articles

Subscribe to Loqbox Inbox
Sign up for our monthly emails and we’ll do our best to help you find your way on your journey with money
Give your credit score a boost
For just £2.50 a week, you could see your credit score rise by up to 300 points in the first three months
Get started
Improvements to your credit score are not guaranteed
Subscribe to Loqbox Inbox
Sign up for our monthly emails and we’ll do our best to help you find your way on your journey with money
Give your credit score a boost
For just £2.50 a week, you could see your credit score rise by up to 300 points in the first three months
Get started
Improvements to your credit score are not guaranteed