To maximise your chance of approval for any of the above, you should look at which credit reference agency and credit score your lender/institution uses. Pick a lender/provider that will look at your best score!

Credit Reference Agencies decide your credit score. A credit reference agency (CRA) is an independent organisation that collects and stores financial data about you for the purpose of helping lenders decide whether you should be approved for financial products like credit cards, loans or mortgages. Each CRA has its own numerical scale that they use to assign you a credit score, which signals to lending institutions how financially responsible you are.  CRAs might be referred to as Credit Rating Agencies or Credit Bureaus. 

The UK has three main credit reference agencies: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Each of the big three CRAs collect and hold information on you, but there are inherent differences between the three that you should know about. It’s true that everyone in the UK essentially has three different credit scores because the three companies do not use the same credit scoring system.

You can see a chart of which credit score major UK banks use to decide on your loan along with this article.

Your credit score determines if you get approved for:

  • Credit cards
  • Unsecured personal loans
  • Home mortgages
  • Auto financing
  • Gas & electricity accounts
  • Mobile phone contracts
  • Flat rentals

You should also know which bills report to which Credit reference agency to make sure that your providers will report information that will improve your credit score. Make sure that your good financial habits will count towards a credit score your lenders are using to assess you. 

Knowing which bills are reported to different Credit Rating Agencies and what credit score each lender judges you on can help you plan your financial future. If you want to build up your credit score to get a loan with a specific lender, make sure you are using accounts and providers that report to the credit rating agency that lender uses!