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Credit Score Anxiety – New Research Finds 55% of Brits Are Worried to Check Their Score

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In the midst of the cost of living crisis, many people are concerned about their credit score. Monthly searches for “how to improve credit score” increased by 22% compared to last year, with 18,000 searches being made across the UK in March. Similarly, searches for “check my credit score’ increased by 22%. So what is the general attitude towards credit score in the UK in 2024?

To investigate how many Brits truly understand the concept of credit scores and who feel worried about their score, car finance expert Zuto carried out a survey of Brits currently on or considering a car finance plan.

How many Brits know their credit score?

The survey saw 44% admit to not knowing their credit score, with those aged 20–29 the least likely to know their score (48%). For those in their thirties, people are more likely to be aware of their credit score, with almost two in three knowing (63%). 

When asked how often they check their score and report, almost 1 in 5 (16%) revealed that they have actually never checked their credit score. That being said, the most popular response was checking weekly (27%), closely followed by monthly (25%). Considering how quickly your credit score can fluctuate depending on your financial habits and decisions, it’s a good idea to check your score regularly on a monthly basis.

Credit score anxiety

Interestingly, the survey found that more Brits are worried about checking their credit score (55%) than not checking it (45%). In other words, many people avoid looking into their credit score because it can cause anxiety or worry.

When making purchases that could impact scores, 61% feel worried. Only one in five (20%) do not experience worry when making these purchases.

Whilst credit score anxiety can be caused by a variety of factors, not understanding what a good or bad credit score actually means is a likely contributor…

But what is a “good” credit score?

17% of respondents aren’t confident that they know what a good credit score looks like, but out of those that shared their thoughts, it was a mixed bag. 23% believed a good credit score was 700–799, while 12% thought you needed a score of 900 or higher. 

Jo Allsop, Director of Lenders at Zuto, weighs in: “Across the UK, there are currently three credit agencies: Experian, Equifax, and Transunion, with every finance company using one of these, but it can vary by lender which one they use. Importantly, they all use different bands to decide what is a good and bad credit score. Having said that, as a general rule of thumb, the higher, the better.

“Equifax considers a good credit score to sit between 531 and 810. For Experian, this looks like 881–960. Finally, Transunion considers 604-627 to be a good score. So it is worth bearing this in mind when reviewing your score to understand where you sit, as you may be sitting in a slightly different band than you think.”

Taking control of your credit score

The first step to improving your score is to simply understand what impacts it, both positively and negatively.

Within the survey, 10% of respondents felt that they didn’t understand what could cause a credit score to change, while 21% were unsure. 

Interestingly, the age bracket with the highest confidence level were those aged 60–69. 71% of this demographic think they understand what can impact your score. Those in their seventies, however, had the lowest level of confidence, with just 55% feeling clear on this.

To help you understand exactly what impacts credit score the most, Jo lists the top five influences.

  • How long have you had any accounts? Credit reference agencies will look at the average age of any bank accounts you already have. If you’re someone who switches accounts frequently, this could temporarily bring down your credit score.
  • Being close to your credit limit. Maximising out any credit cards you have can make it look like you’re overly reliant on them for day-to-day spending. In the eyes of a lender, you will likely look at risk of financial difficulty.
  • Missing payments. If you find it difficult to keep up with your bills, or regularly pay off debts late, this will damage your credit score. Always get in touch with the creditor if you think you’re at risk of missing a payment before you miss it.
  • Not using credit at all. If you haven’t taken out any credit or aren’t responsible for paying any household bills, it can be difficult for companies to see how well you manage your money (or predict how you’ll behave in the future), meaning you’ll likely have a lower credit score as you don’t have much credit history.
  • Joint accounts. Bank accounts, mortgages, and utility bills that you share with someone else can create a financial link between you and any joint-account holders. If one person has a bad credit score, this will affect the other person too. If you have recently checked your credit score and have noticed a dip in your score, it’s important to know that it is normal to spot fluctuations. Making some simple and quick changes to your financial habits can help improve your score in the short and long term. In the meantime, there are still loans for poor credit available.

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