How household bills can help your credit score

By Natasha Culzac

Saved up a little extra cash but not sure what to do with it. Here are the saving options available to you.

Whoever thought paying bills could be a positive. Got bad or no credit history, your household bills are here to help.

Oh, really?

Yes, traditionally it was all a one-way street in that bills only negatively affected your credit score, never positively. Missed payments and defaults can, and always did, severely impact your score, so it’s important to make sure you’re up-to-date. It’s best to put these bills on a direct debit plan so that you never miss a payment.

So what’s changed?

Credit reference agencies are always trying to evolve and find ways to make their products relevant. Experian, for example, has an ongoing programme to add beneficial, on-time utilities payments to customers’ credit reports.

Experian says that since 2009 it has added millions of records from the providers of gas, electricity, water and fixed communications services. This includes a hell of a lot from British Gas. And the number of companies taking part, as well as the records they are disclosing, are continually growing.

Finally, the fact your bills have been paid on time will be reflected in your report, potentially giving it a much-needed boost.

Who will this help exactly?

Primarily people with barely any credit history as well as those with a poor one. Obviously even the shiniest, most faultless credit report will also benefit, but this really will enhance the worthiness of those who otherwise struggle to pay off debt in time (yet always pay their utilities bills) or those who have no other credit at all.

What else?

Be aware that being financially linked to someone can have an effect on your credit. Joint credit accounts, such as mortgages or bank accounts, will mean that you are financially associated with someone and their credit history can affect yours. This is the same with utility bills, however a firm will only link you with someone if you if it thinks you are in a couple and in a traditional ‘financial unit’.

Utility bills helping credit histories is part of a wider drive to help those with low credit scores to improve their report with normal household bills. For example, there’s a new initiative to help renters’ payments count towards their credit just as mortgage payments do. Cool, right? Credit Ladder records your rental payments and feeds this into Experian as part of its Rental Exchange. So long as you pay your rent on time, this’ll be a beauty. Read more about this rental initiative here.

Top takeaway

As annoying as they are, we no longer have to view household bills as all doom and gloom. Remember to set up a direct debit so they’re always paid on time and you can skip the high interest credit cards but still build your way to an excellent credit score.



By Natasha Culzac

Thanks to a journalistic career history and a childhood at Sylvia Young Theatre School, Natasha has her fingers in a few professional pies, doing her best impression of a model and actor as well as personal finance writer. Outside of work she compulsively watches BBC period dramas and constantly lies to herself that this year will be the year she learns French, once and for all.


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