Can I get a mobile phone contract with a bad credit rating?

The use of mobile phones has exploded in the past decade, but figures from credit reference agency Experian, suggest that over a third of people (33%) are oblivious to how important their credit score is in determining whether they are likely to get phone and contract they desire.

People with a bad credit rating or no previous credit history might find themselves being rejected for a mobile phone contract. In fact the research revealed that 1 in 10 people aged between 18 and 24 have previously been unsuccessful in applying for a phone contract because their credit rating did not meet the required standard.

When you apply for a contract phone, the provider will credit score you and typically this is based on three types of information. Firstly the details you provide on your application, secondly the details they hold on file for you (if you’ve been a customer before) and thirdly the information on your credit report which includes details of any loans, mortgages or other borrowings you currently have or have had in the past six years, with details of how they were repaid.

The provider will take into consideration all the information it has at its disposal and generate a number for you which will equate to your credit score. This key figure will indicate whether you’re the type of customer they are looking for. A low credit score can often lead to being turned down.

However, having a poor credit rating doesn’t necessarily prevent you from getting a mobile phone contract as different networks have contrasting acceptance criteria. It is certainly not a one size fits all approach. It is a matter of approaching networks who are actively looking for new customers and who are less stringent about a person’s credit history.

According to industry regulator, Ofcom, at the start of the millennium approximately half of UK adults had a mobile phone, today that figure stands at 92% and with increasing numbers of us owning a smartphone, we all now rely on mobile communications to access the web, download apps and send email.

If you want to get your hands on the latest iPhone, Blackberry, Windows or Android smart phone and want to pay monthly, but fear your credit history is not up to scratch, there are networks who may be willing to take you on as a customer.

Once you are approved, it is crucial you do everything in your power to ensure you pay on time, which will prevent any further damage to your credit rating. Keeping up to date with your mobile phone bill will help to strengthen your credit score in due course.