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Average age of first credit report check is 39

Written by: Emma Lunn
Many young people could be in the dark about their credit status, typically leaving it until the age of 39 to check their credit record.

MoneySupermarket used anonymised data from 200,000 people who have checked their credit score on the site’s Credit Monitor app and website to find out at what age people started to explore their credit health.

If found that despite an individual’s credit history being available from the age of 18, only 12 per cent of credit checks on MoneySupermarket are made by 18 to 24-year-olds. This means young people may be putting their credit scores at risk by leaving it so long before checking.

The site warns that the financial decisions you make as a young person can have a big impact on your financial future. Subscriptions and contracts, such as phone bills and gym memberships, are all factored into your credit history and building good credit early is key to ensuring you have the stability to apply for products such as credit cards, loans and mortgages further down the line.

MoneySupermarket analysed average credit scores across the UK, as well as credit card uptake and the proportion of credit checks made by young people.

As well as the credit considerations, factors including the local cost of living, employment rate of young people and average salary were used to find the locations where 18 to 24-year-olds are in the best financial position.

It found young people living in Leicester are in the best financial position in terms of their credit situation, income and cost of living. The city benefits from a low cost of living at only £1,053 a month, while Derby’s second place ranking can be attributed to a high employment rate of 65.5 per cent among 18 to 24-year-olds.

Despite having the highest average salary countrywide, London’s young people have a comparatively low employment rate at only 51.8 per cent, but this is still significantly higher than Birmingham, where it is 41.8 per cent.

Young people in the South East have an average credit score of 557.2, while those in the East Midlands are seven points lower, at 550.1. People aged 18 to 24-years-old in the North East have the lowest average credit score at 541.1 – nearly 13 points lower than the national average of 554.

Regionally, while the highest level of credit card uptake is in the East Midlands, where 10 per cent of the 18 to 24-year-old population are applying for cards, the highest average credit score is in the South East.

Rachel Wait, consumer affairs expert at MoneySupermarket, said: “When it comes to your credit score, it’s well worth reviewing at the earliest possible age. Being in the dark about your credit score could mean you don’t have the full story when it comes to your finances.

“Your credit score, worked out from your credit report, is a general interpretation of how much of a ‘risk’ lenders might think you are. The higher your score, the more likely you are to be offered cards and loans with cheaper rates and better offers, and the more you’re likely to be able to borrow.”

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