Before taking out any form of credit, you’ll usually need to go through a credit check so that lenders can assess your creditworthiness.
When applying for credit cards and loans, for example, lenders use this information to assess risk, see how reliable you are as a borrower and confirm your identity.
In a similar way, car subscriptions services often carry out credit checks to make sure you can afford your monthly payments and to check your previous borrowing history.
Yes – car subscription companies will assess your past credit history to check whether you will be able to afford your monthly payments.
When applying to get a car on subscription most car providers carry out a ‘soft’ credit check. This type of check doesn’t leave a mark on your credit report and won’t affect your credit score. It’s often used to prove your identity and gives lenders a snapshot of your credit history.
However, other subscription companies may run a ‘hard’ check when you apply for an all-inclusive car subscription. A hard check does leave a mark on your credit record and can reduce your credit score. This type of search reveals your full credit past, including payment history, open and closed accounts, CCJs (county court judgements) etc.
It may be a good idea to sign up with the major credit check agencies before you attempt to get a subscription. You can see if there are any potential red flags which may prevent you from passing affordability checks. Although subscriptions aren't as stringent as other types of car finance, you can still be rejected.
You could also try CheckMyFile for free for 30 days (then £14.99 a month), and you can cancel online anytime. They give you access to all the credit information held on you by Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.
Yes! But you'll have to pass affordability checks which may include a soft credit search on your report.
Your credit score is a numerical rating based on your financial history. The specific score range depends on the credit agency, but with all agencies, the higher the credit score, the better. A “good” credit score usually showcases that you have a good payment history and are likely to be less of a risk to lenders. This also usually means you’ll get better deals and rates.
All credit reference agencies in the UK let users check their scores for free. Here’s what a good credit score looks like with each one:
Car subscription providers don’t usually look at your actual credit score, but rather how well you have managed your financial accounts in the past.
What's more, the cost of the monthly car subscription is usually fixed and doesn't depend on your credit score, which means you won’t benefit from better deals even if you have an ‘excellent’ score.
You may be asked to provide the following documents and information when getting a car on subscription:
If you have a bad credit history or score, chances are you’ve had issues repaying credit in the past. Sometimes it takes time to ‘repair’ your credit and increase your score.
Young people with no credit history or people who’ve never opened a credit account in the UK would also fall into this category, simply because lenders cannot assess risk and your ability to make payments on time.
So if you don’t want to get a car with bad credit there’s a couple of things you need to keep in mind.
Below is a full list of negative factors which may lead to bad credit:
All of these factors can stay on your credit report for up to six years. This means your chances of getting accepted for credit can be affected for a very long time. Learn how to improve your credit score and be subscription-ready!
Proceed with caution if considering no credit check car finance in the UK due to potential risks. Some companies offering such loans may take reckless or even illegal measures for repayment as they cannot know your ability to repay the loan. Beware of loan sharks who are not registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and lend illegally, resorting to intimidation for repayment.
Opt for a loan from an FCA-registered lender, even if it requires a credit check. These lenders ensure you understand the loan terms and deal with you transparently. A credit check assesses your creditworthiness, protecting you from unmanageable debt. It involves the lender seeking information about your financial situation and history.
Credit reference agencies use this data to calculate a credit score, which affects your finance options and interest rates. When comparing finance costs, prefer a soft check, which doesn't affect your credit score, unlike multiple hard checks.
If your credit score is low, consider improving it to qualify for better car finance options. Always check the lender's FCA registration before applying for a loan. A car subscription can be a viable alternative too. Other options include saving for a car or seeking help from family or friends.
You probably won’t be refused a car on subscription because of a poor credit history per se but rather if the lender cannot match your details and prove your identity.
It’s possible that in the future subscription services will start using credit history to offer better deals, but right now, the chances of getting refused are low.
Cars on subscription do not appear on your credit report.
By contrast, cars bought on finance (PCP or HP) will always show up in your credit history. Even cars on lease are reported to credit bureaus, such as Equifax, TransUnion and Experian.
Your report will also show the amount left to pay, the number of months remaining and any missed payments. If you don't want to leave a long-term mark on your credit report, you could consider comparing the best EV salary sacrifice schemes currently available on the market!
However, as car subscriptions do not appear on your credit report, this also means they don't directly help improve your credit score either. That said, services like Experian Boost look at your monthly subscriptions (such as Spotify and Netflix) which can actually improve your Experian credit score.
Most providers carry out a ‘soft’ search when you apply and this won’t affect your credit score. Others, like Wagonex, run a ‘hard’ search which will have a temporary negative impact on your score. This means it’s important not to make too many credit applications in a short space of time.
No, it doesn’t. The monthly cost is usually fixed so even if you have the highest score possible, you won’t benefit from a cheaper subscription cost.
No, cancelling a subscription and returning the car will not hurt your credit score. Even swapping cars every few months isn’t going to be an issue (it’s even encouraged by some companies).
Usually, once you’ve created an account with a subscription company and they have your details on file, they won’t carry out any credit checks again.
Here's a breakdown of the subscription services currently available in the UK and the type of credit search they carry out:
If you're worried about your debts, you can get free advice from debt charity organisations. They will look at your financial situation and help you set up a more manageable repayment plan to help you pay off your debt, as well as help you make better financial decisions in the future.
You can seek help from the following organisations:
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There are hundreds of cars available via UK subscription companies.
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Vehicle subscription providers care about your credit history and will want to know if you can afford your car subscription repayments.