What credit score do I need to get a mortgage?
A score rated good or excellent is a helpful benchmark, but there’s not a certain score that guarantees you a mortgage offer.
Generally, the higher your score, the better chances you have of getting a mortgage.
However, each lender has their own rules for assessing your application and these rules are not as simplistic as a credit score. They’ll look at your full credit report as well as your deposit, income and affordability and even your property before making their decision.
In fact, the score that you see on your credit reporting tool may not be used at all.
How is my credit score used when I apply for a mortgage?
Initially, most of the high street banks will use credit scores to filter their applications. You’ll need to have their minimum score to get a decision in principle or proceed to the underwriting phase. This is a really simple explanation and there'll be more on that in our full Credit Scores and Mortgages guide.
They assess your eligibility in 3 ways:
- Application: This is property details such as value, deposit, and location, and your life circumstances, such as partner and children
- Your finances: This includes stuff like your salary, debts, outgoings, employment status and even your age
- ...Then, they’ll look at credit bureau data: This is where your score comes in
Other personal information such as your salary, your religion or your criminal record is not held on your credit report.
Which credit reference agency is the best?
Of the 3 main credit reference agencies, none is better than the other. Experian is the largest, so if you only have time to check one, you may want it to be Experian.
However, in an ideal world you would check your credit report with all 3 agencies – Experian, Equifax and TransUnion – to catch any inaccuracies.
Different lenders will use different agencies, so if you’re applying to a lender who you know uses Equifax, for example, it makes sense to start with your Equifax score.
How much does a credit report cost?
Since the introduction of new legislation in May 2018 it’s free to check your credit report. All three credit reference agencies will provide you with a statutory report for free, but lots of them offer an enhanced credit reporting service which they will make you pay for.
How often do I need to check my credit report?
You can check your credit report as often as you’d like without damaging your credit score. It’s worth checking as regularly as you can to pick up on any changes or inaccuracies as quickly as possible – at a minimum, you should try and check all three agencies once a year.
You should also check before making any big applications to minimise your chances of being declined.
We can either do a soft search for you and show you which mortgages you are eligible for, or you can see your MortgageScore, which not only takes your credit score into account, but 8 other key bits of info that lenders look at.