How does your credit score compare to your neighbours?


Households in Kingston, Watford and Harrow have the highest average credit scores in Britain, new research has revealed.

Seven of the top 20 locations based on credit score are found in Greater London, including Twickenham, Sutton, Slough and Enfield.

Meanwhile households in Cleveland, Doncaster and Sunderland have the lowest average credit scores.

You can check how your area compares in the interactive map below:

The map, from Totally Money, looks at credit score by postcode and allows people to check what the average score is for their area.

When looked at by area, those living in Kingston upon Thames had the highest average credit scores overall, of 547, followed by those in Watford and then Harrow, both with scores of 545.

However if you zoom in even further, some individual postcodes have even higher scores.

Good credit scores are obtained in a number of ways, including being on the electoral roll, making loan repayments on time, keeping all financial records up to date with the correct name and address and making sure there are no mistakes on your credit file.

If you have fallen behind with repayments, you are regularly being charged for going over a credit limit or you are making multiple applications for new credit this can have a negative affect on your credit score. 

The majority of areas in the top 20 list were found in Greater London or the south of England including areas such as Oxford, Reading, Bournemouth and Hereford.

Town Average credit score  Average borrowing power 
Kingston upon Thames 547 5.35 
Watford  545  5.13 
Harrow  545  4.82 
Guildford  541  5.03 
Twickenham  541  4.88 
Llandrindod Wells  541  4.72 
Hemel Hempstead  540  4.97 
Oxford  540  4.9 
Redhill  539  5.07 
Sutton  539  5.04 
Slough  539  4.92 
St Albans  539  4.89 
Enfield  539  4.88 
Aberdeen  539  4.82 
London  538  4.96 
Ilford  538  4.81 
Wick  537  4.93 
Reading  537  4.92 
Hereford  537  4.61 
Bournemouth  536  4.82 
Source: Totally Money 

The only locations not in England were Llandrindod Wells in Wales, which was in sixth place with an average score of 541, and Aberdeen and Wick in Scotland, with scores of 539 and 537 respectively.

At the other end of the scale Cleveland in the North East of England had the lowest average score of 513. 

It was followed by Doncaster and Sunderland with scores of 514 and 515 respectively.

As a county, Yorkshire was the worst performing and had six locations in the bottom 20 list of scores.

The results are based on data from more than 500,000 people checking their credit score through the website. 

It uses Transunion (previously known as Callcredit) for credit checks and its scoring system is from 0 to 710, in comparison to Experian’s which is 0 to 999.

The higher the score, the better chance of obtaining credit.  

The website also carried out research on 2,000 people and found 41 per cent incorrectly thought where they lived impacted their credit score and 63 per cent didn’t know that details such as being on the electoral role were listed on their credit score.

Those living in Kingston Upon Thames had the highest average credit scores of 547

Those living in Kingston Upon Thames had the highest average credit scores of 547

Those living in Kingston Upon Thames had the highest average credit scores of 547

More than half of those asked also said they were not aware that shared financial commitments were stored on a credit score, such as if you have a joint credit card, mortgage or loan with another person.

The website also included a figure showing borrowing power, which is something it uses exclusively to show how likely people are to be accepted for credit. 

It is a number between one and 10 showing what lenders think of potential borrowers and it says it is based on real-world market activity along with consumer financial behaviour.

The top scorer, Kingston, had an average borrowing power score of 5.35 while Cleveland’s was 4.18, out of 10.

Town Average credit score  Average borrowing power 
Nottingham  520  4.44 
Leeds  520  4.41 
Wigan  520  4.39 
Kilmarnock  520  4.24 
Stoke-on-Trent  519  4.46 
Dundee  519  4.31 
Darlington  519  4.29 
Newport  519  4.27 
Wakefield  518  4.41 
Blackpool  518  4.3 
Newcastle upon Tyne  518  4.28 
Oldham  518  4.23 
Sheffield  517  4.35 
Durham  517  4.32 
Halifax  515  4.41 
Hull  515  4.31 
Wolverhampton  515  4.25 
Sunderland  515  4.15 
Doncaster  514  4.24 
Cleveland  513  4.18 
Source: Totally Money 

Joe Gardiner, head of brand and content at Totally Money, said: ‘Your credit score gives you a handy snapshot of how well you’re managing your money. And the credit “haves” in the South East score higher than the credit “have nots” in the North. 

‘But whether you’re in Lands End or John O’Groats, you can check our interactive map to see if you’re a better borrower than your neighbours.

‘Of course, for the full picture of your financial fortitude, and to find out how to improve your score, you’ll need to check out your credit report.’  

Earlier this month we reported on research showing that half of consumers do not check their eligibility before they apply for credit and of those 43 per cent thought checking their eligibility beforehand would negatively hit their credit score.

However, although checking your eligibility won’t make an impact on your credit score, applying directly with a lender and being rejected will leave a hard mark on your credit score, which other lenders will see.

There are a number of free eligibility checkers available, which perform what’s called a soft search and this doesn’t affect your credit score but gives you an idea on how likely or not you are to be accepted for credit.

How to improve your credit score 

 There are some basic checks you can make to improve your rating:

  • Make sure all your debts are registered to your correct name and address
  • Ensure there are no other mistakes on your file, such as other people’s debts or payments
  • Register on the electoral roll at your current address
  • Don’t make too many applications for credit in a rush – and that includes things like mobile phone contracts. Lenders read that as desperation.
  • Apply for credit you are likely to get and use a free eligibility checker beforehand to find out what your chances are. 
  • Show lenders you’re a responsible borrower by borrowing money and paying it back. This could be by taking out a credit card, spending small amounts on it and then clearing the balance. This means you’re not paying interest but  you are building your credit history
  • Do everything in your power to keep up all agreed repayments such as setting up direct debits – and ask for smaller repayments if you’re finding repayments impossible
  • Close down any credit agreements you no longer use





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