What's the minimum credit score needed for a mobile phone contract?

A man using his mobile phone
If you’re looking to take out a mobile phone contract for the first time, you might be wondering how having a good credit score can affect your chances.

While it’s not the end of the world if you don’t have a great credit rating, it can make your chances of being accepted for a mobile phone contract a little trickier, so in today’s guide, we’ll be taking you through everything you need to know about the minimum credit score needed for a phone contract as well as what to do if your credit report isn’t quite as good as it should be and how this can affect your chances of getting a contract.

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Is your credit checked when getting a mobile phone contract?

Most networks will carry out a credit check on you when you apply for a mobile phone contract to see if they think that you’ll be reliable and able to keep up with the contract payments each month. Not every provider will perform a credit check, but more often than not, you can expect most providers to do a bit of digging into your credit history. 

Can I get a mobile phone without having a credit check?

It is possible to find a retailer who will offer a no-credit check mobile phone contract, but these are usually for cheaper handsets and it’s very rare that you’ll be able to get a nice smartphone without having your credit rating checked out first.

What is the easiest mobile network credit check?

Thankfully, mobile phone contracts are some of the easiest things to be accepted for when it comes to lines of credit, even if you don’t have a perfect credit score. 

When it comes to finding the easiest phone company to get approved for, it depends on the network provider and the criteria that they look out for when deciding whether to offer you a phone contract or not.

The below networks are renowned for being some of the easiest to be accepted for:

  • O2
  • Vodafone
  • Tesco Mobile
  • Three
  • EE

What credit score do you need to have for a phone contract?

There isn’t one minimum credit score needed for a mobile phone contract as each network has its own determining factors when deciding whether to give you a contract or not. 

Naturally, just like with almost every line of credit you try to obtain, the better your credit score, the more chance you have of getting a phone contract, but it’s a good idea to check different phone networks to see what kind of score you can expect to need.

What do you need to provide to the network for a credit check?

When applying for a phone contact, the network will likely ask you to provide some personal details such as your name, date of birth, your current address and any previous addresses from the last three years, as well as a few details about your employment and income status so that they can carry out a credit check on you.

Do phone contracts improve your credit score?

Just like with most other types of credit, it’s possible for a mobile phone contract to affect your credit score in both a positive and negative way.

If you continually miss payments and you end up defaulting on your phone contract, then this can have a negative effect on your credit score, but on the flip side, it can also help to improve your score if you can prove that you’re able to make your payments on time each month.

How to improve your chances of being accepted

You can improve your chances of being accepted for a phone contract by working on improving your credit score before you apply for a contract so that the network can see that you’ve got a good credit score and you’re reliable when it comes to making repayments.

You can also register on the electoral roll, ensure that you pay all your bills on time to avoid getting into any debt and don’t apply for too much credit in a short space of time as this can look like you’re in desperate need of credit which will put networks off giving you a phone contract.

Can I get a mobile phone contract if I have a bad credit rating?

If you have a bad credit history it can make it a lot more difficult to get a mobile phone contract, but it’s not impossible.

If you’ve ever declared bankruptcy or you’ve been issued with a CCJ (County Court Judgment), these things stay on your credit report for up to six years if you don’t pay them on time which can show that you have issues making regular payments on time and this can affect your chances of a network offering you a contract.

What to do if you've been refused a mobile phone contract

If you’ve been refused a mobile phone contract, we understand how frustrating that can be, especially if it’s due to an issue that you had with a CCJ many years ago, for example. 

Thankfully, there are a couple of things you can do if you’ve been refused a contract; take a look at them below:

  • You can take out a SIM-only contract which means you’ll pay for your phone on a month-by-month basis as it’s not classed as a full mobile phone contract. You might still have to go through a credit check to get a SIM-only contract, but it’s usually much easier to be accepted as the contract is much shorter and you’re not liable for paying as much money.
  • You can continue to use an old handset if you’ve got one and just get a pay-as-you-go SIM card. It might not be as cool as getting a fancy new smartphone, but it will save you the hassle of undergoing a credit check as you pay for the SIM in advance and then top it up as and when you need to.

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