Checking your credit file to see what shape it’s in is always a good idea. It lets you see what information the three credit reference agencies hold on you – that’s Experian, Equifax and CallCredit. But do you have to pay for this or can you check your credit rating for free?

Yes – you absolutely can look at your credit report without having to pay! While it’s true that there are paid-for versions, you can get a basic credit report for nothing. And it’s really easy to do as well.

Here’s how you can check your credit rating for free – with Experian, Equifax and CallCredit.

How to check your credit rating for free

The three credit reference agencies in the UK offer free credit checking services. Experian’s free service is called Experian CreditMatcher, Equifax is partnered with free service ClearScore and the free CallCredit service is Noddle. All three of these services let you access some details of your credit report without paying.

When you’re signing up to CreditMatcher, ClearScore or Noddle, you’ll need to know some of your basic financial information. This will include things like when you moved into a particular address, how much you owe to a creditor and when you opened a bank account.

Don’t worry – these won’t be tricky questions and they should all be things you can find out from your bank statements or other files.

You’ll then be able to see your credit score from each of the three services. CreditMatcher scores you out of 999, ClearScore will give you a score out of 700 and Noddle gives you a score out of five.

It’s helpful to use these scores to get a picture of your credit rating – if it’s gone up from last month, this could mean your credit is improving. But these scores don’t actually mean anything in terms of what credit you can get. That’s because all lenders use different criteria when you apply to borrow.

So if you have a 400 credit score from ClearScore, you might be able to get credit from one lender while another one might turn you down. There’s no such thing as a universal credit blacklist that means all creditors will reject you.

Why should you check your credit report?

If you’ve had problems with debt, you might think that you won’t ever want to borrow again. But checking your credit report isn’t just a good idea if you’re looking to take out credit.

A bank account, tenancy agreement or a mobile phone contract are all services where someone could check your credit report when you apply. And if there’s anything negative on your credit report, it’s possible that some of these services could reject you.

It’s important that you check your credit rating to see if there’s anything on there that shouldn’t be. For example, has a creditor marked a default on a debt when you know you paid it off in time? Or does your report say you still live at a previous address? These could all affect any applications for credit or other services.

If you do find anything wrong on your credit report, contact the relevant credit reference agency and they should fix this. You might need to provide some evidence – a statement that shows you paid off a debt on time, for example.

Want to know if voting improves your credit rating? Read our blog to find out more.