What credit score do I need to get a contract mobile phone?

Last Modified 23rd of May 2022

If you want to get a mobile phone on contract in the UK, the phone network will most likely check your credit score. Fortunately though, mobile phone contracts are among the easiest things to get accepted for, even if you have a poor credit history.

Remember that mobile phone networks need to sell contracts. If a network refuses you they lose the opportunity to make money out of you, they are effectively turning down 2 years of custom (and potentially many more), so for this reason you might find it is easier than you thought to get accepted.

In order to answer the question, we need to consider that mobile phones are generally much easier to get accepted for – if you’ve got a score of 650 or more, then you shouldn’t have any problems, but this would depend on which network, the value is of the device you have chosen and your individual circumstances.  Nowadays however, mobile phones are generally priced between £800 – £1,000 so networks are essentially taking on a risk to give you this phone for free. If you can afford to, and there’s an option to do so, you can improve your chance of getting accepted if you pay some money up front towards the cost of the phone.

How to improve your chances

If your credit is particularly bad there are plenty of things you can do to improve your chances of being accepted. At the end of the day, if you can’t afford to pay the contract the network will have to bear two costs – the cost of the minutes and texts you have used but not paid for (this cost is tiny) and the cost of the free handset they gave you.

Needless to say, getting a cheaper contract will help you, and applying for a contract with a relatively cheap handset will help a lot too as this minimises their exposure. Getting an iPhone on a contract for instance may be very tricky, but you can always go for a cheaper handset and then save up to buy yourself a second hand iPhone.

If you are still struggling

There is no minimum credit score required to get a mobile phone, each network operator will score you differently and it can sometimes help to go to the ‘easier’ networks first. Vodafone, Three and O2 are said to be the easiest networks to be approved on, so start by applying to those.

If your credit is so bad that you cannot get accepted for a cheap handset with either of those networks your final option is to simply buy a cheap handset and get a SIM only monthly contract (with no phone included).

There are few people with credit so bad that they can’t get on a sim-only contract and if this is the option you have to take, it is an excellent way to start building your credit rating back up. After 3 or 4 months of paying your bill on time you will almost certainly find that you can upgrade to a full contract with a medium level free phone handset.

Don’t forget to compare

If you have a steady income and have a good credit history, you will more than likely be accepted for a phone contract – so make sure you do your best to find the cheapest deal. Use an online comparison site to make this quicker and easier.