Credit in the UK

When you move to another country you are basically starting over again at square one and without a credit rating getting settled can be a bit difficult. Even if you had an excellent credit rating in Canada once you move here you will have to rebuild your credit in the UK.

Two things of the you should sort first are a mobile phone and a bank account.  I couldn’t get a contract for my first phone though they did say that I could buy a phone and pay 6 months up front on a plan.  I just bought a cheap phone and went pay-as-you-go.

My bank account was set up through Lloyds TSB International in Toronto before I moved. To set up the account I had to provide:

  • Canadian ID
  • Canadian proof of address
  • current Canadian bank statements
  • completed application form (which they will send you).

The account took about 2 weeks to set up and I received my debit card in the post prior to moving which I was able to use when I landed in the UK.

Once you are working and your salary is being deposited and direct debits going out to pay bills will all go towards establishing your credit rating.

Credit Cards

After living here for a year, I applied for a credit card (you may be more likely to be accepted for a higher interest credit card) or you try to take out a small bank loan.

Make regular payments for a few months, then pay it off early if you can. Be careful not to apply for too many credit cards and/or loans as it could negatively affect your credit rating.

Talk to your bank, tell them what you are trying to do and they will advise you the best way to go about rebuild your credit in the UK.

Electoral Roll

You will need to contact your local authority to put yourself on the Electoral Roll.  You should do that as soon as your are able.  As a Commonwealth Citizen residing in the UK you have the right to vote in the elections.

Aside from your right to vote, it also helps your credit rating if you are registered.

When we initially came over I had enough funds to last us 6 months.  It’s a pain to not be eligible for any type of credit, but looking back I’m actually grateful for it.  Living off cash/savings taught me a valuable lesson to live within your means (something I didn’t always do in Canada!).

Helpful links:

Lloyds Bank New to the UK
Electoral Register
Credit Cards for Expats