Bad credit, damaged financial history, and CCJs all mean you may fail a credit check - and we’re afraid you need to pass one to get a broadband package. So what can you do if you’ve been rejected by a provider, or are concerned that you might be?
The good news is that you do have a couple of options.
Broadband providers that don’t do credit checks
There’s only one major provider out there with a credit-check-free broadband package: BT. Its BT Basic package offers discounted line rental and broadband for anyone on certain benefits, with low income, or taking out a state pension. It’s got average speeds of 10Mb, and a rather low download limit of 12GB per month. You can sign up to BT Basic via BT’s website.
Not everyone qualifies for that, though - and if you want unlimited downloads or BT fibre optic broadband, you’ll need to pass a credit check.
Unfortunately, all other broadband providers will check your credit before accepting you as a customer too.
So what can I do?
Try signing up to a provider anyway. Have a look at some of the cheap deals above, and click through to one you like to see if you get accepted.
Although almost all providers do credit checks, some are less stringent than others - and different companies use different criteria and credit firms to check your score. Someone who gets accepted by one provider may be rejected by another.
Many people with a poor credit rating say they’ve still been able to get a broadband package, with many reporting better luck with budget providers - such as TalkTalk. It’s worth giving them a go, we say.
If you do manage to sign up, paying all your bills on time can help improve your score - which might make things easier next time around.
Cheap broadband deals
Since it's the cheaper broadband deals from budget-focused providers that are most likely to accept a poor credit history, these are the ones to try. Take a look at the cheap packages above, or head on over to our cheap deals page. Here you'll see our pick of the best, and you can find out what's available in your postcode.
Pay-as-you-go mobile broadband is available with zero credit checks whatsoever. It’s not the best option - it comes with download limits, speeds aren’t always amazing, and it’s more expensive - but it’s better than nothing if you really need internet.
To get online, you need a mobile broadband device, such as a dongle or a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot, and a data SIM to put in it. You can then buy a 30-day bundle of data to use - which you can renew as soon as the month is over.
You can also tether from your mobile, if your plan allows for it. Again, it’s not ideal, and can’t really be done long term, but it’ll do if you’re in a bind.
Checking (and improving) your credit score
Worry not - your credit rating isn’t screwed forever. You can check it, learn about it, and make it better.
The main credit agencies that banks and other companies use are Experian, Equifax, and Callcredit - all three of which will let you check your own score. Some allow you to check for free, while in other cases you’ll be charged a small fee. You’ll be able to see not just your rating, but what’s contributing to it, so you can see what you can do to improve.
Here are a few steps you can take to help:
- Register to vote so you’re on the electoral roll
- Pay all your bills on time - all of them - via direct debit if possible
- Avoid linking your finances to anyone who has worse credit than you - such as through joint bank accounts and utility bills
- Check your score once a year or so, and correct any errors you see