Minimum Credit Score For Mobile Phone Contract

minimum credit score for mobile phone contracts

This page was last updated on 1 April 2021

Minimum Credit Score For Mobile Phone Contracts In 2021

This article gives you answers to some of the most common queries about mobile phone contracts and credit scores. It answers customer questions about:
  • The minimum credit score that you need to get a contract
  • How to improve your credit score
  • Whether or not you have the opportunity to get a contract without going through a credit check
  • What you can do if you are rejected from a phone contract

Topics that you will find covered on this page

You can listen to an audio recording of this page below.

What is the minimum credit score for mobile phone contract?

The fact is there is no minimum rating for a contract phone. Each provider makes their own judgement about whether your credit rating is good enough for their offers. 

If you aren’t able to get phone contracts with one provider, for instance, you can try the ones offered elsewhere. However, you should not apply to lots of providers at once as each application requires another check and that will make your credit rating worse.

Do a little research into the benefits of different phone companies and types of deals to improve your chances. There are tips on how to get a phone contract with poor credit below.

Can you get a phone contract with poor credit?

Yes, you can be approved for a phone contract on bad credit.

Depending on the value of the handset you are interested in, your credit history will matter more or less to the provider. 

A cheaper phone will require less rigorous credit checks as the instalments owed will be smaller. Meanwhile, a smartphone is many times more expensive and may have stricter terms.

Sometimes, you may have the option of paying a deposit as security, or providing a guarantor as proof that even if you can’t afford the rate of instalments the company will still receive the money they are owed.

You could also get a SIM only contract if you are struggling to be approved for a handset phone contract. If you make all the payments on time, this will actually impact your credit rating in a good way.

If all else fails, you should purchase a pay as you go contract. These plans work well for people with poor scores, for example, because you can just pay the top up charges when you can afford them or really need the data, minutes or texts.The reasons that it is easier to get pay as you go SIMs are because you choose to pay the rates in advance each month and there is no obligation to top up every time.

Here is a video about credit ratings and mobile phones.

Can I get a no credit check contract?

Maybe. It may well be possible for you to get a mobile phone contract without undergoing a credit check.

Whether or not you can do this depends on which mobile phone operators and retailers you are looking at, as well as the cost of the handset. Cheaper mobile phones are easier to get when you have bad credit than a smartphone.

However, you should be careful when doing searches for no credit check mobile phone deals. Before making any final buying decisions, it is important to ask yourself whether it could be a scam. 

If you are being offered a smartphone contract without a credit check, then the service could be too good to be true. Don’t fall for this kind of fraud and lose any money you pay up front.

contract phone bad credit

Can I get a phone contract with a CCJ?

County court judgements (CCJs) can make it trickier for you to get a contract for the handset of your choice, such as an iPhone, Samsung, or other high end tech products.  CCJs stay listed on your credit record for up to six years, and can affect whether your application is accepted during this time.

However, this doesn’t mean there is no point taking steps to explore your options. You may still be able to get a contract phone (bad credit won’t be a big issue to some UK mobile networks offering a cheaper handset or bundle).

Look at different network providers and their buying guides to see which handsets you could afford. 

Which mobile network is easiest to get a contract with?

Mobile phone contracts tend to be easier for consumers to access than other types of credit such as a loan, mortgage, or credit card. However, getting a phone contract for bad credit ratings can still be difficult.

There are myths that some phone companies are much easier to get contracts with than others. The reality is that all providers need to check your credit rating as a step in the process. 

They need to do this to see if you have bad credit for phone contract services and if you meet their criteria.

Nevertheless, each network does of course have its own preferences and cares more or less about different aspects of your credit report and has different conditions you need to meet. So, the bottom line is that the answer to the question really depends on your own specific circumstances and there is unfortunately no easy answer.

However, in the UK you have plenty of options and each network uses different credit reference agencies to check your credit. If you know that you have a better credit score with one credit reference agency than another, then you could apply to a mobile phone provider who uses their credit reports for its customers.

phone contract on bad credit

Which mobile phone companies use which credit agencies?

The UK has three top CRAs (credit reference agencies). Some phone providers will conduct their credit checks with multiple CRAs, whereas others will only use one agency.

Equifax is used by EE, Vodafone, O2, Three, Sky Mobile, BT Mobile, Virgin Mobile, and iD Mobile.

TransUnion is used by EE, Three, and Vodafone.

Finally, Experian is used by EE, Three, Vodafone, Tesco Mobile, and iD Mobile.

How do I check my credit report?

The chances are that your credit scores will be very similar across the three CRAs. But it is still worth it to check your credit history with the three agencies to see if either of them rates you differently.

They may have slightly different information about missed payments and other factors to do with your credit history, which is why your credit score can be different.

You can see your credit report for free online at any time. All you need to do is go to the CRAs’ websites and provide some basic information about yourself to prove your identity.

Read more about the process of accessing your credit report from the advice section here.

bad credit for phone contract

What should I do if I can’t get a mobile phone contract?

If you have been refused a contract because you have poor credit history, you can consider some of these alternative options:

  • Get a pay as you go sim card. You won’t need a credit check with the network provider because you top up your phone in advance. The other benefit is that your will only have to pay as much money as you need or want each month.
  • Get a SIM only deal. Although you will still have to have a credit check, your chance of being approved for a sim only contract is higher than a full mobile phone contract. This is due to the fact you pay monthly in smaller instalments and the contract is shorter.
  • Borrow a handset from family or friends. You could also use one of your old phones instead if you have one.

In the meantime, you should make changes to try to improve your credit rating in the long run. This will increase your chances of mobile phone networks approving you to get a contract in the future.

How can I improve my credit score?

In the long run, the best way to get a contract phone will be to improve your credit score so that it’s easier to pass a credit check for a handset in the future.

To get good credit, there are a few simple things you can do:

  • Register to vote. By putting your name on the electoral roll, you can boost your credit score in just a couple of minutes. This works best if you use the same address to apply for your contract, as it is an indication of stability in your life and finances.
  • Don’t make too many applications. Reapplying for lots of phone contracts in a short time period damages your credit rating, because each credit check is noted on your file. You don’t want to appear desperate for credit!
  • Check your credit history. If you spot an error in your credit history, then you can have the mistake corrected on your file. If you have experience of being a victim of fraud, this is a more likely problem for you. Get the mistakes corrected and as a result your credit scoring may be improved. 
  • Remove past financial partners from your file. If you no longer have connections to someone with a bad score, make sure the CRAs know this so that their financial trouble doesn’t negatively affect your credit rating.
  • Stay at the same address. Moving house a lot suggests that you don’t have much stability in your life, and credit providers might worry about the risk in lending money to you. Reside at the same address for longer if you can. 
  • Pay your bills and don’t miss repayments. Always aim to meet your financial obligations for mortgages and credit cards on time or you will have problems getting more credit later on.
  • Stay within your credit limit. Make at least the smallest possible monthly payment for your credit card bill each time, and don’t exceed your credit limit unless you absolutely have to. 

If you are really struggling to get out of a bad financial place, you can look into alternatives like a Debt Management Plan or an Individual Voluntary Agreement.

But these are very serious kinds of agreements and you should not take such a decision lightly – they affect your credit score badly while you have them, but can help you pay off debts.

More interesting articles related to credit ratings

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In this article we explain what a credit rating is and what steps you can take to improve your score.  Even small steps can have a huge impact.

does switching bank affect your credit rating?

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what credit score is needed to rent a house?

If you are looking to rent a house then it is likely that your prospective landlord will do a credit check on you.  Read about why.

minimum credit score for a mobile phone contract

Increasingly, if you are looking at a mobile phone contract the provider will want to do a credit check.  Our article explains what is involved.

does an IVA affect your credit rating?

If you have taken an Individual Voluntary Arrangement then this will impact your credit rating.  Our article explains how.

What is an equity release calculator?

Home owners with debt issues often look at equity release as a way of releasing money. Our calculator shows what you could get.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the minimum credit score for mobile phone contract?

The fact is there is no minimum rating for a contract phone. Each provider makes their own judgement about whether your credit rating is good enough for their offers.

If you aren’t able to get phone contracts with one provider, for instance, you can try the ones offered elsewhere. However, you should not apply to lots of providers at once as each application requires another check and that will make your credit rating worse.

Can you get a phone contract with poor credit?

Yes, you can be approved for a phone contract on bad credit.

Depending on the value of the handset you are interested in, your credit history will matter more or less to the provider.

A cheaper phone will require less rigorous credit checks as the instalments owed will be smaller. Meanwhile, a smartphone is many times more expensive and may have stricter terms.

Can I get a no credit check contract?

Maybe. It may well be possible for you to get a mobile phone contract without undergoing a credit check.

Whether or not you can do this depends on which mobile phone operators and retailers you are looking at, as well as the cost of the handset. Cheaper mobile phones are easier to get when you have bad credit than a smartphone.

Can I get a phone contract with a CCJ?

County court judgements (CCJs) can make it trickier for you to get a contract for the handset of your choice, such as an iPhone, Samsung, or other high end tech products.  CCJs stay listed on your credit record for up to six years, and can affect whether your application is accepted during this time.

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