New to the UK?
Welcome! If you’re new to the UK, you’ll find that there are a few differences when getting a credit card in Britain. Luma helps you learn more about how to build your credit and get a credit card in the UK. If you have some credit history in the UK, you may even be eligible for the Luma card.
New Beginnings – Even if You’ve Got a Credit History
While living in the UK, you’ll need to build your credit history so you can get better terms for financial services products like current and savings accounts, credit cards, mortgages and more. The higher your credit rating, the better your interest rates for saving and borrowing.
One thing that isn’t transferable is your credit rating. Even if you’ve established a solid credit history back in your home country, you may find that you’re starting over here in the UK. That’s because your credit rating doesn’t transfer between countries– even between those countries where leading credit agencies (like Experian and Equifax) do business in both, like the UK & U.S.
Establish a Fixed Address Soon & Stay There
When you’re new to the UK, you may not have a fixed address at first. You may stay with friends or in temporary lodging while you find a more permanent home. However, changing addresses too frequently can affect your credit rating. Try to establish a fixed address as soon as possible and ensure that your residence there is officially documented.
Document Your Identity & Residence
Because you’re new to the UK, official proof of things like your name, residence and employment are vital in establishing your credit history. If you have a bank account in your home country that also has branches in the UK, you may want to check if you can activate an account in the UK prior to your arrival. This is easier than opening a new bank account and helps you establish your financial profile in the UK faster.
In the UK, getting on the electoral register (also called the Electoral Roll) is key. The Electoral Roll is the official record of registered voters who live at a given address. (gov.uk/register-to-vote offers information about getting on the Electoral Roll that may be useful if you’re new to the UK.opens in a new window) In addition to allowing you to exercise your right to vote in some or all of the elections held in the UK, your registration on the electoral roll is used in evaluating your credit history as it’s an official record of your residence.
The trouble is, not everyone can register on the electoral roll. Only those with a UK address and who are citizens of the UK, the Commonwealth, and the European Union can register. If you’re a citizen of the U.S. or China, as two examples, you won’t be able to register for the electoral roll.
Those new to the UK— particularly those unable to get on the Electoral Roll— should also establish bills in their name. Paying bills through direct debit also helps you establish a solid credit profile.
Try a Credit Builder Card
In spite of some of the hurdles in relocating to the UK, getting a credit card may be easier than you think. There are numerous cards available for those building their credit, including the Luma card. While these often have higher interest rates if you carry a balance, credit builder cards can be an excellent way to build your credit history when you use credit cards responsibly. You may even be eligible for a Luma card today if you have some UK credit history.
The best way to use a credit card to build your credit is to buy something small each month, like supplies you need to move into your new home, and pay that balance off in full each month. With time, such responsible use of your credit card will help you increase your UK credit rating.