Many mobile phone contracts will require a customer to pass a credit check, but there are a sizeable number of no credit check contracts on offer that even those with bad credit or no credit history can apply for because the providers offer a guaranteed pass.
Recommended providers for no credit checks mobile phone contracts
PG Mobile are a network operator that run on the backbone of the 4G Three network and they operate a range of contract phones and SIM only contracts. Their website also states that they “can guarantee a pay monthly contract SIM and a handset for everyone over the age of 18 even if you have been refused by other networks”.
Look for the PG Mobile “guaranteed pass” contracts if you need a no credit check contract that includes a mobile phone or check out their range of SIM only deals. Their contracts also come with a flexible cap so a limit can be set whereby you will not be charged over a set amount per month so you won’t receive any nasty surprises with your monthly phone bill. There are contracts on offer where the handset is included free of charge.
Life Mobile operate on the EE network and have connected over 150,000 customers on their SIM only and handset contract deals. They offer no credit check mobile contracts by stipulating that the first month of the contract payment be paid up front. Life have a number of excellent value SIM only contracts starting from just £4.95 that include a payment cap so that your bills won’t spiral out of control. The cap is set at an initial £5 over your agreed monthly contract tariff, but this can be raised or lowered easily on your request.
According to the network “all LIFE Mobile customers are entitled to upgrade from 6 months into their contract term. This means if you have completed the first six months of a SIM contract you will typically be offered an optional upgrade to a handset contract.
The People’s Operator
The People’s Operator (TPO) are a good option if you would like a SIM only contract on a no credit check basis and you are charitably minded because 10% of your bill will be automatically given to the nominated charity of your choice.
TPO do not offer mobile contracts that include a handset – they are solely a SIM contract network so if you need a handset to be included a better option would likely be PG Mobile of giffgaff.
All of The People’s Operator SIM only contracts are offered on a 30 days basis which gives you the flexibility to cancel the contract with only one months’ notice period.
Contracts start at around £5 and include a generous amount of free minutes, free texts and data allowance. One of the most popular contracts is the £14.99 per month deal which offers unlimited call minutes, unlimited texts and 6GB of data.
The TPO network currently runs on the EE network so there is very wide mobile phone network data and voice call coverage within the UK using a TPO SIM.
giffgaff are a network that uses the O2 backbone and offer a range of competitive SIM only and handset deals but these are organised in a slightly different way to standard mobile phones contracts which means those with poor or bad credit stand a better chance of being able to get a handset deal through giffgaff than other networks.
To obtain a handset through giffgaff you can pay for it outright and then add on a SIM tariff but this normally means a high initial outlay for the phone, or you can spread the cost of the phone by opting to get a peer-to-peer loan through RateSetter which is organised by giffgaff and add on a SIM tariff (the SIM tariff is a rolling 30 day deal so you could cancel this after 30 days if you like).
There is a great deal of flexibility involved in arranging the phone finance on giffgaff and it is stated that they perform a “soft credit check” only. The credit check is not as strict as it would be for example a standard loan application because through giffgaff the customer selects an amount that they would like to pay up front (it can be small or large). It sounds complicated but it is in fact quite simple and one of the easiest ways to get the finance required to get a top of the range phone if you have a medium to low credit rating.
What do mobile phone networks look for when doing a credit check?
Phone networks want to ensure that they don’t make a loss, so many will impose credit checks on prospective customers to check that the customer has the money to pay for the duration of the contract and that their past finances show that they have a positive history of paying bills on time.
Credit checking is usually outsources to one of the large credit checking agencies such as Experian or Equifax. Naturally these agencies are secretive about the exact searches that they undertake otherwise the system could be gamed and those that can’t afford credit end up receiving unaffordable credit terms.
However, there are range of areas that credit check agencies are known to check and by familiarising yourself with this often simple administrative areas you will help to step yourself from failing a credit check unnecessarily.
giffgaff credit checks
giffgaff have a reputation for being a solid community driven network so it is unsurprising that they have been quite forthcoming with aspects of their credit check procedures.
As mentioned before, they use a form of peer-to-peer loan provided by RateSetter for people to finance handset purchases and for the loan application to be successful the applicant need to soft credit checked.
In terms of the RateSetter credit checks we know the following –
- The minimum age for an applicant is 18 (it is 21 for other RateSetter loans but for giffgaff they stipulate a minimum age of 18.
- The first stage of the credit check is to check on the financial status of the applicant and whether the applicant is suited and able to reply the finance selected.
- The second stage is the identification check to ensure that the applicant is not applying fraudulently and that they are who they say they are.
Other network or online phone shop credit checks
As a rule of thumb the credit checks used to obtain a phone contract are split into “finance” and “identification” so it is possible that the credit check agencies will look into the following aspects –
- Are there sufficient funds in place to pay for the mobile phone contract?
- Have bills been paid in full and on time historically?
- How much credit does the applicant already have access to.
- What is the applicants credit score overall?
- Have there been multiple failed attempts to obtain credit in a short period of time?
- Is there a history of financial problems?
If an applicant does not satisfy the criteria listed above it is likely that a credit check will fail.
A credit check agency will likely check that the following details corroborate with what you stated on your phone application –
- Address (and potentially past addresses)
- Telephone number
- Bank account details
It may be requested that a scan of your passport and/or utility bill be supplied as further ID confirmation.
Why did I fail a phone contract credit check?
There can be a wide variety of reasons why you could have failed a network or phone shop credit check. It is extremely unlikely that they will let you know why you failed so it will likely take a little bit of investigation from yourself to discover why.
One of the first things that you could do is to get a copy of your credit file. This is a document that details your address and past addresses along with details of finance past and present. Often you can get a copy of this for free as part of a free trial or alternatively it can be purchased for a few pounds. The main credit check agencies are Equifax and Experian so they are normally the best places to go to online.
Common reasons why a phone contract could have been declined due to a failed credit check include –
- Contact details in the phone application don’t match those that are in the credit report
- Spelling mistakes in the credit report or phone application
- An applicant is not on the electoral role so the credit check agency is unable to verify where the applicant lives
- There is a lack of credit history so the agency believes you to be a high risk applicant because there is no documented evidence of whether you pay your bills on time
- There is evidence of bad credit on the credit file. i.e. unpaid bills, too much credit, CCJ’s, etc.
- There have been too many applications for a phone contract within a short space of time
- An applicant has access to too much credit therefore there is a risk of too much debt
- There are mistakes on the credit report that misrepresent the correct status
- The applicant is too young
- The applicant has now bank account
- The applicant has been subject to identity fraud
I failed the credit check. What do I do now?
If you have failed a credit check for a phone contract do not immediately submit another application for a phone contract with a different provider that stipulates a credit check in the hope that you will pass the credit check at a different network or online phone website.
Too many repeated credit check fails within a small space of time can negatively affect your credit score which consequently makes it even harder to get accepted.
Take your time to work out why your application may have been rejected and attempt to rectify the areas of weakness with your application. For example, if you applied for a high value phone you may want to lower your expectations and go for a cheaper model. Similarly if you initially wanted a contract phone with no upfront cost you may need to consider paying a small deposit towards the cost of the phone upfront to help you pass the credit check stage.
An alternative is to make an application for a phone contract with a provider that offers no credit check contracts such as PG Mobile. They offer a range of guaranteed phone contracts including top handsets so it is possible that you could get an iPhone no credit check contract or a no credit check deal for a Samsung Galaxy, HTC or LG phone.
Or if you require a no credit check SIM only then Life Mobile or TPO would be two good options.
Best no credit check phone contract providers
The People’s Operator