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How much UK credit history do you need for a mortgage?

The UK mortgage market offers many options for expats and foreigners, but you will need to have some credit history in the UK before you can get one. Here is how it works.

Do you need a UK credit history for a mortgage?

The simple answer is yes, you will need some UK credit history to get a mortgage here, even if there's no set minimum credit score you need in order to buy a house.

The exact score you’ll need varies from lender to lender, as their approaches to risk can vary, so some will require higher scores than others.

You should also keep in mind that you have three credit scores, one for each credit reference agency: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Most mortgage lenders will only accept applications from people with credit score in the “Good” or “Excellent” credit score bands.

However, this mostly applies if you’re looking to get a residential mortgage (meaning for your main home) and you’re already in the UK. But if you’re still abroad or if you’re looking at a buy-to-let mortgage (meaning you want to invest in property instead), then many banks might have a solution for you even without a UK credit history.

How much credit history do I need for a residential mortgage?

The key factor is not the length of your credit history but rather your address history for the last three years.

This is because most lenders only require your address history for the last three years to run a credit check.

If you’re moving address often, perhaps ask a trusted friend or family member to help. And if their credit score is good, they could also help you further by guaranteeing your mortgage. Just be careful not to strain that relationship.

How do I get a UK credit history?

If you do not have a UK credit history, here is how you can create one:

  • Keep a UK address. This should ideally be in your name, but any address where you can receive letters and statements from banks works.
  • Register to vote at your current address, and update that whenever you move. This helps the credit reference agencies verify your identity and your address.
  • Open a UK bank account.
  • Get a mobile phone contract (not a SIM-only one). This is technically your first credit agreement in the UK, and it will be your first real step towards building a credit history.
  • Download a specialised credit-building app.

One such app is Wollit. Wollit is an app available both on Android and iOS, and it works by reporting a fixed-fee monthly subscription as a loan repayment to all three credit reference agencies. This helps you build your credit history and directly influences your credit score.

On top of this, Wollit can also report your monthly rent payment to Experian. This can add another line in your credit report that shows lenders that you’re reliable and pay your bills on time, helping you make the most of your rent while you prepare to become a homeowner.

Wollit, no stress, no hassle - just a clear path to better credit

Terms apply. Results may vary. Improvements to your credit score are not guaranteed. Wollit Credit Builder plans are unregulated.

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Terms apply. Results may vary. Improvements to your credit score are not guaranteed. Wollit Credit Builder plans are unregulated.