If you have a bad credit rating, you might find it difficult to pass the credit check required to get a standard broadband package. Fortunately, there are providers that can offer you broadband and phone services without a credit check. We take you through the options, and provide useful advice on how to improve your credit rating to increase your choice of broadband options.
The easiest way to get no credit check internet is to buy a package from NOW broadband, Plusnet or Direct Save Telecom, all of which provide broadband with no credit check.
But if you want more choice and a potentially more cost-effective package, there is nothing to stop you applying to providers such as TalkTalk, Sky, BT or Virgin Media. They all run credit checks, but these are not as tough as the checks that are run when you are applying for a financial service, like a mortgage.
If you are not successful in your application, it may have a negative effect on your credit score, but as long as you don’t apply to lots of providers in a short period of time, there shouldn’t be any lasting damage to your rating.
Here are the providers that offer the best broadband for bad credit.
NOW standard and fibre broadband packages are available without a credit check because you pay up front for their services. So, if you can’t pay in advance, you don’t get the services they offer.
The only thing to be aware of is the set-up fee you will have to pay when signing up to their one-month broadband package.
Plusnet does not run any credit checks for their 12-month or 18-month broadband packages, however there will be a set-up fee that you have to pay (around £20).
Direct Save Telecom is a smaller provider that also does not conduct any credit checks and offers similar prices to Plusnet. There will be a set up fee and they will ask you to pay your first invoice before your service goes live.
Like Plusnet, NOW and Direct Save Telecom, Virgin Media offer no credit check broadband on their 30 day rolling contracts and at some impressive speeds (up to 362Mbps), but the downside is the cost – all of their rolling packages come with a one-off £80 fee and cost a minimum of £44 per month, which makes Virgin Media the most expensive option for your bad credit broadband.
Big providers like Sky, BT, Virgin Media and TalkTalk will all check your credit rating before they will be willing to accept you as a customer.
But the checks aren’t as tough as with things like credit cards or mortgages, so you may pass the check even with a low credit score. The market is very competitive and providers are keen to take new customers, for example TalkTalk says only a small number of customers fail the check, so it might be worth taking a chance on one of these providers.
And even if you don’t pass the check, they may still give you options for becoming a customer, such as requiring you to put down a deposit for services.
This means you pay a deposit before you’re provided with a broadband service, and if you don’t pay your bill the provider will use this money instead. The deposit remains your money though, and providing you’ve paid all your bills you will get it back at the end of your contract or at a time agreed with the provider.
For those on a low income or claiming universal basic income, BT offers a basic phone and broadband service with no credit check. But you will need to provide details of your situation and any benefits you are claiming so that BT can check your records with the Department for Work and Pensions to find out if you qualify.
Another option for those that want broadband without a credit check is to use pay-as-you-go (PAYG) internet.
Although mobile broadband is unlikely to be as fast as home broadband (unless you are one of the few that has access to the new 5G network), you can get it quickly (just buy a SIM card and compatible device) and there are no credit checks at all.
Also, mobile broadband isn’t just something for your phone. If everyone in your house needs access you can buy a MiFi router that allows you to put your 4G SIM in and it then broadcasts the signal for many devices to connect to the internet.
A MiFi device is a small bit of tech that creates a Wi-Fi hotspot by connecting to a mobile network. Because it creates a Wi-Fi hotspot, you can connect a number of devices to the internet at the same time – like a laptop or tablet.
It works just like a mobile phone, using a SIM card to connect to the mobile network. It then amplifies that connection through a personal, secure Wi-Fi network that you join like any other Wi-Fi network.
If you are determined to apply to one of the major providers and take the risk of a credit check, many customers suggest that TalkTalk are the most lenient provider and are most likely to offer you a contract with bad credit.
However, as Plusnet, NOW and Direct Save Telecom don’t run credit checks at all and offer cost-effective broadband packages, these represent the best current options for no credit check internet.
Before you do anything, you should check your credit rating as it might be better than you think.
There are three credit reference agencies – Experian, Equifax and TransUnion – that calculate personal score credits based on the data they collect, and all three of them can provide you with at least one report for free.
Your credit report will contain information such as:
Name, address and date of birth
Whether you are on the electoral register at your address
Searches on your file (for things like credit applications)
Financial links to other people – like a joint bank account or loan
Late/missed payments or defaults
How much money you owe to lenders
Any County Court Judgments (CCJs) against you that are not paid in full within one month of receiving the notice
If you have been declared bankrupt
It is important to read your report carefully, as there may be things in it that are incorrect (your current address, for example) or things that you didn’t know that are affecting your score (an unpaid credit card that you forgot about).
While it can take a little time to improve your credit score and you may need to buy a no credit check broadband package in the short term, there are things that you can do today to start making positive changes.
Check for mistakes on your file: A slight mistake on your address can have an impact on your score, so make sure you check all of your details thoroughly and report any incorrect information.
Moving home a lot: Providers will feel more comfortable if you have lived at one address for a long time.
Pay bills on time: Missing payments with other service providers will make broadband suppliers think twice before agreeing to take you on as a customer, so try to keep with payments on other services to improve your overall score and avoid having to buy no credit check internet.
Check if you’re linked to someone who has a bad rating: Having a spouse, friend or family member’s credit rating linked to yours through a joint account can affect your rating if they have a poor score.
Check for suspect activity: If something on your report looks odd or doesn’t seem to apply to you (such as an application for credit in your name without your knowledge) then contact the credit reference agency immediately to update your file.
County Court Judgements (CCJs): Receiving any court judgements for debt will have a serious impact on your credit score. If you’re having problems keeping up with payments, find free debt advice online.
Keep your credit utilisation down: Credit utilisation is how much of your available credit limit you use. So, if your credit limit is £1,000 and you’ve used £500 of it then your utilisation is at 50%. Usually, using less of your available credit will be seen as positive and will increase your credit score as a result. If possible, try and keep your credit utilisation at 25% or lower.
If you start making these positive changes today, you will have a much wider variety of broadband contracts available to you, instead of having to focus your search on credit check broadband offers.
If you are worried about money and paying your bills, getting internet with bad credit still represents another monthly bill and a significant financial risk to you.
So if you are struggling, seek advice and help first.
There are lots of different places where you can get financial guidance before making a decision around buying broadband without a credit check:
National Debtline on 0808 808 4000 or go to nationaldebtline.org
StepChange Debt Charity on 0800 138 1111 or use the remedy debt tool at stepchange.org
You can also get face-to-face advice from organisations like the Citizens Advice Bureau, visit citizensadvice.org.uk to find your local branch.
Age UK centres are available locally to provide help and guidance to older people. They have a ‘money matters’ section on their website, which offers a lot of good advice, from how to claim benefits, to advice on debt. Visit ageuk.org.uk or call on 0800 169 6565 to find out more.