Getting credit if you’re new to the UK

While living in the UK, it’s important to build your credit history so you can get better rates for financial products like credit cards, mortgages and more. Here are a few things you can do to get started.

Confirm your identity

First, set yourself up with a UK bank account. If you have an account with a bank in your home country that also has branches in the UK, it’s worth checking whether you can activate this account in the UK prior to your arrival. If not, you’ll need to fill in an application form and take a form of identification, e.g. your passport, and proof of address such as a recent bill, to a local bank. In the event of you not having the documents the bank requires, they should accept a letter from a professional person who knows you such as a GP, teacher or social worker. The process is simple and will help you establish your financial profile in the UK faster.

Your credit rating, however, isn’t transferable. Even if you’ve got a good credit history in your home country, you will have to start over in the UK.

Establish yourself

Once you’ve arrived in the UK, try to find a fixed address as soon as possible. Lenders want to see that you have a ‘stable’ living situation and changing addresses often can affect your credit rating. Being on the electoral roll is key, but be aware that only those who are citizens of the UK, Commonwealth or European Union can register. To find out more about the electoral roll, visit the DirectGov site.

No matter where you’re from, getting a job and establishing an employment history will also help towards creating your credit history. Put your name on as many of your utility bills as possible and ensure payments are up to date – missing a payment on your gas, electricity and water bills may affect your credit rating. Paying these through Direct Debit can help you start a solid credit profile.

Find a credit card to suit you

All credit card providers will perform a credit check when you apply for a credit card. Luckily, there are specific credit cards designed for people with a limited credit history, such as marbles. While these cards often have higher interest rates, they can be a great way to strengthen your credit history if used responsibly.

Explore your options with marbles’ free FastCheck eligibility checker today. It’s simple to use and won’t affect your credit rating.

Representative Example:

Interest rate for purchases34.9% P.A.(variable)
With a representative34.9% APR(variable)
Assumed credit limit£ 1,200