Do I have bad credit?
Bad credit can be a result of any negative financial activity, from missed repayments to bouncing direct debits; from County Court Judgements to bankruptcy. The frequency and severity will determine just how negatively your credit score is impacted.
But you could also fail a credit check because of inconsistencies on your report, such as with addresses you’ve provided. Not being on the electoral register or having financial associations with someone else whose credit score is poor will also count towards bad credit.
Can I get broadband with bad credit?
Some companies will check your credit rating before accepting you as a customer, but you won’t be subject to a rigorous check like when applying for a mortgage or a loan. So even if you have a poor credit history, there will likely be a broadband deal out there for you.
Sometimes, if you have a bad credit history then you’ll need to put down a deposit, which the provider will use to make any bill payments you miss.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that rejected applications do show up on your credit report and can negatively impact it. Therefore, if you’re unsuccessful in your application, don’t continue to apply for broadband left, right and centre or you risk damaging your credit score further. Instead, simply avoid this scenario altogether and opt for a broadband package for people with bad credit.
Some providers offer broadband without a credit check at all. If you are really worried about your credit rating it may be best to go straight to one of these.
Which providers offer broadband with no credit check?
Now Broadband doesn’t run credit checks; instead, you pay in advance for the service you use. And if you don’t, then you won’t have access to television or broadband - simple. Now Broadband also have some of the most competitive broadband deals going.
Plusnet similarly don’t carry out credit checks. Cheap broadband deals for fibre optic are a regular feature and the company rank highly for customer service, too.
Direct Save Telecom
DST are another provider who offer broadband deals with no credit checks. Similar to Now Broadband, you make your first payment in advance which then activates your connection. While they tend to be on the whole a little pricier than Now Broadband and Plusnet, they do offer plenty of short-term contracts which can be great if you have an uncertain living situation or don’t want to be tied into an extended contract.
This package from BT is for those on lower incomes or in receipt of certain benefits. You can get standard broadband with speeds of around 10 megabytes per second (Mbps), but the caveat is that your internet will be capped at 15 gigabytes (Gb). As it’s not unlimited, you will need to keep an eye on your internet usage to avoid being charged higher rates for going over your allowance.
Do the Big Four broadband providers require a credit check?
The Big Four are BT, Sky Broadband, TalkTalk and Virgin Media, who collectively hold a significant portion of the UK broadband market. If you are set on one of these providers then you will have to go through a credit check. Don’t worry though, as this will be far less stringent than credit checks for mortgages or loans.
TalkTalk is the most likely household-name broadband provider to accept customers with bad credit. BT and Virgin Media will usually ask you for a deposit which they can use to pay your bills if you are unable to do so.
If you are unsuccessful in getting a deal with one of these providers, you can always head to one that doesn’t run a credit check at all.
If you are unsure where to start it is a good idea to look at cheap broadband deals; the cheaper the deal, the better your chance of being accepted with bad credit.
How is bad credit broadband different from regular broadband?
In terms of the broadband itself, there are no differences at all. If you pay for standard broadband, that’s what you’ll get. Your actual connectivity speeds will depend on your postcode, but the service you receive from the provider should be no different to if you had a great credit score. In sum, having bad credit doesn’t affect the broadband at all; the terms and conditions of your contract may just be slightly different.
How can I check my credit score?
Failing an official credit check could actually damage your credit rating further, so it's worth doing a soft check of your credit score yourself so that you can assess your chances of passing. You can check your credit history with a credit reference agency, of which there are three in the UK:
- TransUnion (formerly Callcredit)
Each of these credit reference agencies will work slightly differently, so it's worth checking them each separately. You can sign up directly with either Equifax or Experian to get a free credit report, while you can also access your TransUnion credit report for free via CreditKarma.
Is mobile broadband a viable alternative?
If you're struggling to find broadband that doesn't require a credit check, then a mobile broadband plan could be a good alternative. Mobile broadband relies on mobile phone networks to deliver data as opposed to the copper ADSL or fibre optic cables used for fixed home broadband.
By opting for a pay-as-you-go plan with a mobile network provider, you won't be subject to any credit check and you can get online simply by inserting your SIM card into a compatible device. Your options for mobile broadband include MiFi dongles and tethering.
You should be aware, however, that mobile broadband plans can often be more expensive than fixed-line broadband, and you're also less likely to get unlimited data. The average broadband speeds you'll receive are also likely to be lower, although these are slowly improving with the rollout of 5G technology.
For more information, head over to our guide on mobile broadband.
Last reviewed: 15 October 2021
Next review: 15 November 2021