Your credit score is an indication of your creditworthiness. But there’s no universal credit score (in fact, you have three!) and they’re not the only thing lenders look at.
In truth, no number guarantees you’ll be accepted for credit cards, loans or mortgages. But comparing your credit score with the UK average for your age is a useful way to see where you stand.
If your credit score is above the UK average for your age group, you may be in a good position to get better deals on borrowing. If it’s falling short, Loqbox is here to help. But you need to make sure your whole credit history is in good shape and that your personal information is accurate. You should only ever think of your credit score as a reference.
So, what’s a credit score and why should I care?
Your credit score is a number generated by your credit history that summarises your creditworthiness. Read more about what a credit score is here. Being creditworthy may improve your chances of being accepted for credit (like loans, credit cards and mortgages) and might mean you’re offered better interest rates. Generally, the higher your credit score the better. But it’s not as simple as that.
Potential lenders won’t look at your credit score. They use their own systems and build a profile of your creditworthiness from your credit history and by looking at things not listed on it, like your employment history. It’s possible to be accepted for credit with a bad credit score or even be declined with a good one.
So why should you care about it? Well, if your credit score is low then there’s every chance something needs fixing. Your score helps you understand how healthy your credit history is as a whole. If you are thinking about taking out a loan or applying for a mortgage, your first step should be to look at your credit score. Being declined is likely to hurt your credit score further!
How do I find out my credit score?
You actually have more than one credit score. Credit scores are calculated by credit reference agencies (CRAs). There are three main CRAS in the UK: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.
Each one uses their own scoring system so your score is different from one to the other. If you want to find out more about the top three CRAs, read up on who they are, what the difference is, and which ones lenders use here.
To find out what your credit score is with each CRA, you can use these services to check it for free and without hurting it:
ClearScore (uses Equifax data)*
Credit Club (uses Experian data)
Credit Karma (uses TransUnion data)
*If you decide to sign up for ClearScore using this link, Loqbox receives a little commission for sending you there.
What’s the overall average credit score in the UK?
Because there are three main CRAs in the UK, there are three overall averages. This is a quick guide to the national averages for all age groups. If you already know your credit scores, how do they compare?
- Experian score between 0-999. The overall UK average is 797**.
- Equifax score between 0-1000. The overall UK average is 585**.
- TransUnion score between 0-710. The overall UK average is 573**.
Your credit score with all CRAs are categorised in brackets like “poor”, “fair”, “good” and “excellent”. While the scoring systems for each CRA are different, they all use similar data to calculate your credit score. So you are likely to fall into similar categories in each one regardless of your different scores.
If your credit score is “good” with Experian, you’d expect it to be “good” with Equifax and TransUnion as well. It’s worth mentioning that errors on your credit report can exist with one CRA but not the others, so if one has a wildly different score something probably needs fixing! You can learn how to fix errors on your credit report here.
What’s important to remember is that the ‘average’ is affected by things like address area, age (see below), and whether or not you’re registered to vote.
**At the time of researching this article in Dec 2022, we are sourcing data from Experian PLC, ClearScore, and MoneySuperMarket from the publications in 2021 or later.
What’s the average credit score by age UK?
Not all of the CRAs release their average credit score for different age groups. To break it down, let’s look at data from Experian. We’ll also list the rating category so you can compare across different CRAs. People under the age of 18 do not have a credit score.
Average credit score by age
Credit scores seem to be lower on average for people between the ages of 21 and 45. This is when you are more likely to have a greater need for credit with mortgages and loans. And if you happen to have children, the financial pressures of having dependents may also put more strain on your credit score during this time.
Average credit scores have actually improved since the lockdowns in 2020. This is most likely because of payment freezes and repayment holidays, as well as a general shift in how people spent and saved during the uncertainties.
What if my credit score is below average?
Firstly, don’t worry! If you check your credit scores and they are lower than the national average in the UK it’s not the end of the world. With some patience, you can usually improve it. You’ve already done the right thing by checking your credit scores. So what should you do next?
If you want a proven way to build your credit score with all three CRAs (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion) you should get started with Loqbox! If you want to watch your credit scores grow, why not take a look at Loqbox Spend? Our members see an average increase of 125 points in the first six months!