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Loans

Borrow from £1,000 to £25,000 and repay from your salary at rates from as low as 4.5% APR.

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Savings

Get into the savings habit with regular savings deducted directly from your armed forces salary.

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About us

Forces Finance is delivered in partnership between London Mutual Credit Union and the MOD.

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How it Works

Decide how much you’d like to save each month or borrow, and we’ll arrange the with your employer.

Join Forces Finance

How to Check Your Credit Score

Most of us have heard of credit scores, and know they can impact the outcome of a loan application. But do you know what yours is and how to check it?

In the not-so-distant past, credit was by word of mouth. Villagers would occasionally lend money or goods to each other, and shop owners would sell items on credit. And, as you would expect, word would soon get around about who was, and who was not, reliable in paying it back.

Naturally, banks and shop owners were generally more willing to take the word of those with reputations for being reliable. Equally, they would think twice about lending to those with a reputation for being late or not paying back their debts at all.

The same principle still apply, to how the credit system works today.

These days, your reputation is represented by a score (usually out of 700 or 1000). This is is give by one of three credit reference agencies. The score is automatically calculated based on your credit file, which contains a history of all your borrowing on credit cards, loans, mortgages and even mobile phone contracts. It also shows how you have handled repayments in the past.

Lenders use this credit file, and sometimes the score itself, to decide whether or not to approve your application. They often also use it to decide what rate of interest to charge you.

Who holds my credit report?

Confusingly, you are likely to have not just one credit score or file, but several.

This is because there are several credit referencing agencies. Each of them holds slightly different information, and have different ways that they measure and calculate your overall credit score. In the UK, the three main credit reference agencies are Experian, TransUnion and Equifax.

Most lenders will use one, or a combination of these agencies, to make a decision.

How to check your credit report

Checking your credit score is relatively easy. All three credit referencing agencies provide websites available to the general public. On them, you can register and view the information they hold about you, free of charge.

Why it’s important to check

Most lenders, as well as insurance and mobile phone providers, will either manually or automatically check your credit file when they make a decision.

When they carry out a check, often this itself can be recorded on your file (called a ‘footprint’). This can happen regardless of whether your application was successful or not.

Avoiding rejection

Because of that, it’s a good idea to make sure that everything is accurate before you apply. It’s worth checking to make sure that there is nothing in there that is likely to trip you up, or cause your application to be turned down.

Protecting yourself against fraud

Another good reason to check regularly is to protect yourself from fraud. Sadly, fraud is also on the rise. Each year, there are thousands of cases of criminals applying for credit cards or mobile phone contracts falsely using the names, addresses, and other details stolen from others. Your credit report will show all credit which has been taken out in your name, so it’s a good way to spot if something’s not right.

What is considered a good score?

There’s no solid rule on this one, as different lenders will be looking for different things. Many also will set different criteria for which customers they wish to lend to.

As a rule of thumb though:

Experian

Experian’s credit scores’ range from range from 0-999.

  • Fair: 721-880
  • Good: 881-960
  • Excellent: 961-999

TransUnion

TransUnion’s scores range from 0-710. 

  • Fair: 566-603
  • Good: 604-627
  • Excellent: 628-710

Equifax

Equifax scores range from 0-700.

  • Fair: 380-419
  • Good: 420-465
  • Excellent: 466-700

How we use credit scores

Forces Finance is part of London Mutual Credit Union. At London Mutual, we use a manual underwriting process. That means that your loan application will always be carefully considered by a member of our team. There will never be a situation where ‘computer says no’.

As part of that process, we will check your credit file with one or more of the three credit providers. This is the best way for us to verify your identity, and to see who else you owe money to. It also shows us if you have had any problems with repayments or things like CCJs in the past.

Your credit file is just one of a whole range of factors we consider, including your income and affordability checks. Because of this, there will never be a situation where we approve or decline your application based just on the headline number in your credit score alone.

Good to Know

The contents of this article are intended for informational purposes only, and do not constitute financial advice. Always consult a qualified professional for independent advice if you are unsure about whether a financial product or strategy is suitable for you.

All loans are subject to our loans policy and availability. The amount and rate that we may offer you may differ based on our assessment of your personal circumstances. Applying for a loan may affect your future ability to take out credit.

Ben West

Ben is responsible for promoting our membership and services, improving customer experience, and developing our links with the Armed Forces community. Having grown up in a Royal Navy family, Ben has some experience of the unique challenges of armed forces life.

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