Credit score. Probably two of the least-liked words when put together like so.

In today’s world, you can’t do much without a decent credit score. Even getting a mobile phone plan or broadband at home requires a credit check. Not to mention the obvious things such as credit cards and loans.

Recently, I did some research into credit scores. Being from Australia, neither of us have a history in the UK – no bank accounts opened when we were kids, no mobile phones when we were teenagers, no car loans as adults… nothing. We don’t exist in the credit score world before 2015. Well, not in the UK.

It’s frustrating.

Sure, we are slowly building our credit scores, but of course to build a credit score you first have to go into debt and show that you are a good risk (seems backwards, right?). We started by signing up for broadband internet for home, then we bought our super-comfy bed on finance, purely as a score booster.

Ryan has been on a phone plan for over a year now and I have recently switched from pay-as-you-go to a plan after my research identified that as the easiest way to build your credit rating. If only I’d known all that when we first got to the UK! To be fair, building a credit score was the last thing in our minds when we first got here and we prefer not to be in debt and live within our means as much as possible.

However, now we actually have a need for a credit score.

In case you hadn’t noticed, we’re planning on buying a narrowboat. They’re not exactly cheap and we haven’t won the lottery, so a loan or finance is pretty much our only option. For that, we need a good credit score – hopefully a really good score so that we can get the best interest rates!

Well … it’s not good news.

According to one of those online credit score checkers, our credit scores are pretty much neutral. Not too bad, not too good. Just … meh.

We’ve done everything we can to try to improve them over the next few years:

  • Phones on plans – account paid on time
  • Small finance loan on the bed – instalments paid on time
  • Low limit credit card – balance and interest paid on time
  • Renting through a Real Estate company – rent paid on time
  • Registered on the Electoral Roll

But it’s a long process…

Through my research, I found that there are other things that can improve a credit score, but they’re not really feasible for us.

This includes being home owners (getting a mortgage would require a credit score!!), or being long-term renters at the same address (part of the reason we came to the UK was to explore this beautiful country which means moving around).

There is also one final option – apparently we can get our credit score from Australia and present it to financial institutions and they might accept that, but it’s not guaranteed.

So, apart from the obvious plan to pay things off on time, does anyone else have any tips for building your credit score up? We’d love to hear them (not that we’re desperate, or anything…)