What is a credit rating/score?
Your credit rating/score is a number that summarises how credit-worthy you are based on your credit history.
The lower your score, the more likely you are to be denied a loan or forced to pay a higher interest rate.
You can find out what your credit history is like by accessing what’s known as your credit rating or credit score.
It is possible for students with no available history of borrowing or managing money to get a personal loan, though it may be more difficult and/or expensive than for borrowers with a good credit history.
Having no credit history means having no credit score. While many lenders may consider having no credit score to be better than having a bad credit score, they may still consider it riskier to lend to an unknown borrower and may charge higher interest rates or fees than to borrowers with good credit scores.
Failing to repay loans and bills will damage your credit score. So will falling behind on your repayments. Your credit score will also suffer if you apply for credit too often or have credit applications rejected.
Different credit reporting bodies use different formulas to calculate credit scores. However, they use the same type of information – credit history and demographic profile.
So they’re going to look at how many credit applications you’ve made, who they were with, what they were for, how much they were for and your repayment record. They’ll also look at your age and postcode. They’ll also look to see if you’ve had any bankruptcies or other relevant legal judgements against you.
Your score can change if your demographic profile changes or new information is added to your file (such as a new loan application) or existing information is removed from your file (because it has reached its expiry date).
There is a strong link between credit scores and personal loan interest rates because many lenders use credit scores to decide what interest rates to offer to potential borrowers.
If you have a higher credit score, lenders will probably classify you as a lower-risk borrower. That means they’ll be keen to win your business, so they may offer you a lower interest rate.
If you have a lower credit score, lenders will probably classify you as a higher-risk borrower. That means they might be concerned about you defaulting on the loan and costing them money. As a result, they might protect themselves by charging you a higher interest rate.