Your credit score is one of the most important tools used by lenders to assess car loan applications. So, what credit score is needed for UK car finance? There’s no black and white answer, however there is lots to learn when it comes to credit scores.

Using information like your payment history, current debts and used credit vs. available credit ratio, lenders will assign you a unique credit score. They’ll also factor in financial faux pas such as a history of missed payments, excessive credit card applications and failure to join the electoral roll. Data is combined to create a financial footprint that helps lenders determine your ‘riskiness’ as a borrower. Higher scores establish you as responsible and low risk while lower scores suggest you’re more likely to default on your loan.

There are plenty of benefits associated with strong credit scores, including access to a wider range of products offered by lenders. You can also unlock better interest rates, higher credit limits and other perks. That said, a poor credit score doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t qualify for car finance eligibility.

Read on to find out more about what credit score is needed for UK car finance and how to navigate the industry.

Meet the ‘Big Three’ UK credit agencies

In the UK, most lenders use three main Credit Reference Agencies (CRAs) to vet applicants. Each agency uses a different scale to assess individuals and assign a credit score. Most people fall within the Fair, Good or Excellent range. Anything beneath Fair is considered Poor.

Below, we take a closer look at the different CRAs in the UK and what scales they use:

Equifax

Fair: 380-419

Good: 420-465

Excellent: 466-700

Experian

Fair: 721-880

Good: 881-960

Excellent: 961-999

TransUnion

Fair: 566-603

Good: 604-627

Excellent: 628-710

What credit score is needed for UK car finance? Every CRA uses a different system to assess your credit score. This means you don’t necessarily have a single credit score, however whether you qualify as Fair, Good or Excellent shouldn’t vary too much between agencies.

As well as your credit score, lenders will assess your application using their own custom eligibility criteria. For example, some lenders may be interested in the size of your deposit while others may prioritise proof of ongoing income. Others might place more weight on your debt-to-income ratio, which is used to determine your ability to stay on top of your instalments. Residential stability can also be factored in, with some lenders viewing a string of different addresses as a red flag.

Minimum car finance credit scores

When applying for car finance, it’s important to understand that every lender is different. Just like applying for a mortgage or credit card, all lenders have their own unique criteria and vetting policies. Some use algorithms to assess applications and paint a black and white picture of borrowers while others take a more personalised approach. If you’re worried about where you stand and have been researching what credit score is needed for UK car finance, it’s best to look for lenders that take a personalised approach to car finance.

In the UK, there’s no minimum credit score needed to apply for car finance or purchase a vehicle. However, your score will impact what loan products you’re eligible for and what types of terms, conditions and interest rates you can unlock. Generally, higher scores translate to better deals. This is the industry’s way of rewarding you for an excellent borrowing history.

What to expect from your credit score

If you have an excellent credit score and proof of income you should find it relatively easy to secure car finance. You’ll have access to the widest range of products and the advertised interest rates offered by lenders. Borrowers with good scores are still eligible for great products and interest rates, though may enjoy less success than their excellent counterparts.

If you have a fair credit score your chances of securing car finance are still high. You may not be able to unlock the same products and APR rates as applicants with higher scores, but you’ll still have plenty of choice. Poor credit scores can be more difficult to work with but with the right approach, the door to car finance is still wide open.

Securing car finance with a poor credit score

While many Brits enjoy excellent credit ratings, a significant percentage of the population struggle when it comes to financial history. If you’re worried about what credit score is needed for car finance in the UK, it pays to enlist the help of the experts. 

First, you’ll want to look for a broker that doesn’t rely exclusively on automated algorithms to assess applications. For borrowers with poor credit scores, this is the fastest way to have your application rejected. Instead, shop around for a broker that takes a personalised approach to car finance. The option to speak with a human and discuss the unique challenges of your car finance application can drastically improve your chances.

Next, keep an eye out for brokers with access to a wide panel of lenders. Some brokers work exclusively with a handful of lenders, which can significantly limit your options and chances of success. At My Car Credit, we work with a broad panel of car finance lenders, one of the largest panels in the UK. This broadens your horizons and ensures your application is exposed to all kinds of lenders and products.

How to check your credit score

When it comes to checking your credit score it’s best to start with a ‘soft search’ credit check. This gives brokers an idea of your financial history without leaving a permanent mark on your credit score. Too many hard searches can suggest you’re continually on the search for new lines of credit – a major red flag for lenders.

Whether you have an excellent credit score or you’re not quite where you want to be, we can help secure you the best car finance deals from our panel of lenders. We’re available to discuss your options and help you learn more about what credit score is needed for car finance UK. Get in touch at enquiries@mycarcredit.co.uk or give us a call on 01246 458 810 to chat with a car finance expert.

Representative APR 8.9%

Evolution Funding Ltd T/A My Car Credit

My Credit Rating

Excellent

  • You are a home owner
  • You have been on the electoral role for a long period of time
  • You have current credit arrangements and mortgage with no defaults
  • You have no CCJs, credit arrears or missed payments
  • You rarely apply for credit
  • You are employed or self-employed

Good

  • You are on the electoral role
  • You are a home owner or long standing tenant
  • You have a stable employment history
  • You have current credit arrangements with occasional missed payments
  • You have no CCJs

Fair

  • You are or have recently been on the electoral role
  • You may have recently changed address
  • You may have occasional missed payments
  • You may have an old CCJ
  • You may have regularly applied for credit

Poor

  • You may have had frequent changes in address
  • You may not be traceable on the voters roll
  • You may have exceeded credit card limits
  • You may have missed payments on current agreements
  • You may have had a CCJ in the past

Bad

  • You may not be traceable on the voters roll
  • Your credit cards are over their limits
  • You have recent CCJs
  • You may have been refused credit elsewhere
  • You may be in a debt management plan
£

X monthly repayments of
£X

Typical rate

Loan amount

Total payable

X% APR*

£X

£X

*for illustration purposes only

No impact on your credit score*

Representative Example

Borrowing £7,500 at a representative APR of 8.9%, annual interest rate (fixed) 8.86%, 47 monthly payments of £184.94 followed by 1 payment of £194.94 (incl. estimated £10 option to purchase fee), a deposit of £0.00, total cost of credit is £1,387.12, total amount payable is £8,887.12.

Evolution Funding Limited, trading as My Car Credit, is a credit broker and not a lender.

Please ensure you can afford the repayments for the duration of the loan before entering into a credit agreement.

*Initial application is a soft search. Should you progress, some lenders may perform a hard search on your credit file.

Require more help?

Got a question you can’t find the answer to, or need some advice and guidance around taking out car finance? Our Car Credit Specialists are friendly, experienced, and here to help so get in touch today!