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Can I get a mobile deal with poor credit history?

By Mike Whitehead
Tuesday, May 8th 2018

When you're after a new mobile plan, a poor credit record can present quite a problem. However, with options such as SIM-only deals and pay-as-you-go, there are still ways you can find a good deal.

You have two choices - a SIM-only deal or a PAYG deal. Even better, some providers require no credit check at all for this type of deal.

Get a SIM-only mobile deal

You will still require a credit check for a SIM-only deal, however, these are much less strict because you’re just applying for a SIM card rather than an expensive new phone.

a pile of mobile sims

SIM deals are often available on 30-day terms. This is quite useful, as your credit record will improve with every monthly payment made. After 12 months you can check your credit record again and see if it’s improved sufficiently to consider a new mobile plan.

Asda Mobile, a provider running on EE’s 4G network, offers 30-day SIM-only plans with no credit check. It has a comprehensive range of plans available at very competitive prices. TPO Mobile (The People's Operator) also offers a wide range of 30-day SIM-only deals with no credit check required, and also brings the added bonus of allowing you to keep your existing number. It also donates 10% of what you spend to a charity of your choice.

Get a pay-as-you-go deal

As the name suggests, all you’re doing is paying in advance for whatever allowance suits and when you run out you buy some more. There’s absolutely no need for a credit check as there’s no risk involved to the provider. You need to buy your SIM card at the outset (there’s lots of deals which will provide the SIM for free) and then add your credit allowance as and when needed.

You will know best how often your handset is used and with a pay-as-you-go deal there’s the flexibility of either a deal that operates on a pay-by-usage basis or a bundle deal that will last for 30 days. The latter instance is better suited to anyone who’s pretty sure they’ll get through their credit allowance in the specified timeframe.

There are some cracking pay-as-you-go deals to choose from across a range of providers including O2, Three, Asda Mobile, TPO Mobile and Giffgaff. Click the logos to see their best PAYG deals today.

Investigate your credit record

If you’re genuinely unsure as to why you’ve been rejected by a mobile provider, it's a good idea to apply for a statutory credit report from the credit reference agencies yourself in order to find out what is affecting your overall score.

check your credit history

It’s recommended that you conduct a credit check once a year – you have a legal right to all the information lending companies hold on you. They’re quick and easy to request online and only cost a few quid. Some companies such as Noddle and Clearscore offer ‘free-for-life’ monthly reports; however, they will then bombard you with credit offers that ‘match’ your profile, so if you don’t want that, it may be best to just pay the small fee.

What can cause a bad credit rating?

There’s no doubt being rejected for a monthly mobile plan can be frustrating. Your credit rating can be adversely affected by all sorts of things, from merely missing a repayment on a loan or credit card or, more seriously, if you’ve been involved in a bankruptcy or County Court Judgement. CCJs and bankruptcies are publicly held information and, therefore, would show up on any credit search carried out by a lender.

As consumers, we all have a credit score based on previous credit activity. However, all three major credit reference agencies – Equifax (up to 700), Experian (up to 999) and CallCredit (up to 710) – operate different score ranges. This is where things can get a little confusing. Since the agencies all operate on different scales, it can be difficult to ascertain what’s a good score and what isn’t. Also, not every lender uses information available from all three agencies. A lender will largely rely upon its own internal credit criteria when deciding whether to accept an application or not.

Don't be tempted to keep trying different providers

Once a provider conducts a credit search it leaves a ‘footprint’ on your record for twelve months. Too many footprints within a short space of time will naturally trigger alarm bells with other providers. Each provider is not allowed to see the result of other searches but it’s safe to assume (and they will) that multiple searches are the result of a rejection or, perhaps, possible fraudulent activity.

How to improve your credit record

Obviously, keeping up to date with all your financial commitments is the first thing you should do to maintain a healthy credit record. Experian has stated, following its criteria, that just one missed credit card payment could knock down your score by as much as 130 points. Keeping your total bill at less than 30% of the credit limit can add as much as 90 points back on. With a maximum score of 999, this could have a big effect overall. There are also some other simple things that can bolster your overall credit rating.

young couple dealing with debt

Check you are registered on the electoral roll

A complete apathy towards voting in any upcoming political election is not the point here. You could have a strong historical record of keeping on top of your bills, but if a credit provider can’t match your name to your given address it’s likely you will be turned down for any future credit. You need to contact your local council and make sure you’re registered at your current address on the electoral roll.

Check your credit report on a regular basis

Make sure you check your report at least every 12-18 months. If you’ve just moved into a new address, it’s advisable to check as soon as you can to see if there is any adverse information held on previous tenants. If so, contact the provider to clarify that this will not effect any application you make in the future. Also, if any debt is showing that you know has been cleared, this also needs to be removed.

Regular credit checks should also highlight any fraudulent attempts to gain credit using your name and address. If anything shows up that looks suspicious, contact the provider on the report and make them aware straight away. Most companies will be fairly sympathetic in such circumstances.

Clear any old financial ties

It’s a fact of life that your partner may not have as solid a credit rating as you – and vice versa. Your partner’s poor credit score could adversely affect yours so make sure they are also keeping a tab on their own credit report and taking steps to improve it. Equally, if you’ve separated from someone, make sure all previous financial ties are discontinued so as not to affect your credit score moving forward.

Conclusion

With a wide range of SIM-only and pay-as-you-go deals available, you still have a healthy choice for your handset plan regardless of your credit history. If you do have an adverse credit score, you can follow the guidance shown here to start rebuilding your record for the future.

However, if you just want ot be guaranteed a SIM or PAYG deal right now, you really only need begin and end your search with ASDA mobile, whose lack of any credit checks at all guarantees you just that.

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