What Credit Score Do You Need For a Phone Contract?

Learn about building your credit score, what credit score you need for a phone contract, and key steps to financial freedom.
mobile phone

A credit score is a number based on an analysis of your credit files. It’s an assessment of how ‘creditworthy’ you are—basically, how risky it is for lenders like banks or credit card companies to lend money to you.

You don’t need a minimum credit score to get a phone contract, but there are lots of things you can do to improve your chances of being accepted. In this post, we’ll give you some tips to help you get that snazzy new device.

Why there’s a credit check for phone contracts

Phones have got a lot pricier over the past few years. An iPhone, for example, can cost anywhere from £500 to well over £1,000. When you buy a phone on contract, mobile networks are risking the fact that they might have to give you that eye-wateringly expensive device for free.

If you’re worried about your credit score, you might want to check it before you start shopping around for a new phone contract. At checkmyfile.com, you can use a free trial to check your score on the three biggest credit reference agencies—Equifax, Experian and TransUnion—in one go.

Getting a phone contract with bad credit

There’s no minimum credit score to get a phone contract. Every network operator scores you differently—so even if one network won’t give you a contract, you might have more luck elsewhere. 

Having bad credit doesn’t stop you from getting a phone contract, but it might make it harder. Make sure you try all the major networks before you give up. Money Saving Advice says that it can be easier to get a contract with Three or Vodafone, for example.

How to improve your credit to get a phone contract

Pave is a nifty app that helps you build your credit score. Every time you pay your monthly membership fee on time, it builds up your credit history with Experian. Which can make it a lot easier to get things like a phone contract. 

Find out more about Pave at paveapp.com.

Here are a few more ways to keep your credit score heading in the right direction. (Psst! We’ve got more information about building credit on our blog.)

Pay off credit cards in full each month

Missing a payment can lead to extra fees, and damage your credit score. We’ve written a handy guide on why this matters on our blog.

Watch your overdraft limits

Every time you go over your overdraft limit, it can damage your credit score. Check out our guide to understanding overdrafts for more help, or see our ultimate guide to overdrafts 2020 for the latest information on overdrafts.

Check the insights on your credit report

This is what banks and lenders use to decide whether to lend to you. By keeping an eye on it, you’ll start to understand more about how your credit report works and what you can do to improve your score.

Be mindful of hard credit checks

This is when a company makes a complete search of your credit report. Each hard check is recorded on your credit report, so any company searching it will be able to see that you've applied for credit.

Make sure you’re on the electoral roll

As well as making you eligible to vote, registering on the electoral roll can boost your credit score. So it’s kind of a win-win.

More credit repair services in the UK

If you’re looking to repair your credit, there are a few different options to check out. 

Credit builder apps are useful because you can check them at any time on your phone. With pave, you get low balance alerts, bill tracking, and financial wellbeing quizzes—all of which helps you keep building your credit.  

Credit builder loans can help to repair your credit, but make sure you check the APR rate when you sign up. Some rates can be quite high—and they sometimes change after a certain period of time.

Credit builder cards can also help by proving that you can pay back what you borrow. There’s a good guide to some of the popular options on money.co.uk.

What to do if you’re refused a phone contract because of your credit score

If you’ve had no luck getting a contract from any of the phone networks, there are still a few things you can do. 

SIM-only deals can be a good option while you’re waiting for your credit score to improve—especially if you already have a phone, or you can borrow one from someone for a little while. You can compare the latest deals on Uswitch.

Getting a pay-as-you-go SIM from a company like giffgaff won’t require a credit check. You might also be more likely to get approved for a SIM-only contract with monthly payments from one of the big networks.

How a phone contract impacts your credit score

Having a phone contract adds new information to your credit file. If you pay your bill on time every month, this has a positive effect on your credit score. But it also means that if you’re late with a payment, your score will go down.

If you miss payments, then your phone provider might choose to cancel your contract. The Consumer Credit Act doesn't apply to mobile phone contracts because you’re not actually given any credit (it’s a contract of service). 

This means that you only have the rights that are stated in your contract’s terms and conditions. In the small print, it’s pretty likely that you’ve given your phone provider permission to report information to credit reference agencies.

Build your credit score with Pave 

Download the Pave app today to start building your credit score. You’ll have that new phone in no time at all! Our mission at Pave is to eliminate financial inequality and give people a fair chance to go as far as they can. We do this by offering the proper path to good credit.