How to build credit history without a credit card

Introducing the Monese Credit Builder

By Melissa on February 28, 2022

Hero image

Each year, there are thousands of people who leave their home countries behind to begin afresh in the UK. And as exciting of an opportunity starting from zero in a new place can be, there are areas in your life where starting from scratch can be a hindrance – like your credit journey and history.

Others who might also be starting with no credit history are the thousands of university graduates and younger generations just starting out in life. Gig workers and many on a side-hustle also struggle to access credit because their work and income doesn’t fit a traditional pattern. They may face fewer options when it comes to borrowing money. For example, asking friends or family for loans, applying for high-cost credit such as payday loans, or going without.

If you’ve just moved to the UK or just starting out as a young person, you’ll have no credit history at all with UK credit agencies. You’ll quickly learn that a lack of history may make it difficult to rent a flat, take out a loan and even get a mobile plan in the UK. And much like trying to open a bank account as a newcomer, for example, you may find it hard to get a credit card to start rebuilding. This could be due to a lack of proper documentation – or yes, even credit history.

Foreign nationals are often faced with contradictory, endless loopholes like these, and it’s a problem for even young people or college graduates just joining the workforce with no history to their name yet, or people who’ve been rejected for loans in the past. That’s why it was important for us to figure out a way to help the nearly 5.2 million people in the UK who are credit invisible.

We’re excited to announce the launch of the Monese Credit Builder in the UK available on all our plans for just £7.95/month (Rep APR 28.2%)* to help you build your credit history and ultimately access better value borrowing deals.

But first, let’s get into some of the basics. In this post, we’ll answer questions like why your credit score and history are so important, what they mean, and how our new Credit Builder can truly make an impact and meaningful difference in your life.

Why credit score is important

Your credit score is generated by three credit agencies in the UK: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. It’s a measure used by most financial institutions and banks to rate your ability to pay back potential loans or credit you take. It’s based on your credit history, measuring how well you handle your financial commitments. The higher your credit score is, the better credit offers you may receive from potential lenders.

Your credit score can be accessed with the three UK credit agencies in the UK: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. Each of these providers will calculate your credit score to help lenders decide on your credit application.

The credit agencies use your credit history and all publicly available information (for example, if you’re on the electoral register) to calculate your score. Usually, a high score would mean that you’re more likely to be accepted for credit with lenders.

But wait – what’s credit history?

Credit history is a measure of creditworthiness. In the UK, your credit history is your repayment history on credit commitments over the last six years. It may include the number and types of credit accounts, the amount of available credit you’ve used and the number of recent credit enquiries. It’ll contain details on your:

  • regular repayments
  • amounts repaid
  • outstanding amounts
  • number of creditors

Do I need credit history?

Yes! Why is credit history important? The reason why credit history is important is that you need credit history to determine credit score. A poor credit history can impact your ability to get a mobile phone contract, buy a car, rent an apartment or get a loan for any other big-ticket items or ventures in the future.

Credit history: how to build with Monese Credit Builder

What is Credit Builder? The Monese Credit Builder helps you build and improve your credit history and score. It’s the first step towards building or improving your financial footprint, with the main focus being on improving your repayment history. This is considered a high impact factor by most credit scoring models in the UK. As your credit history and score improve, you’ll be able to access better value loans.

There are plenty of benefits to building your credit history with our new Credit Builder to improve your credit score. First, our Credit Builder is interest-free, unlike most credit cards. There’s also a finite timeline (12 months) with our Credit Builder so there’s zero chance of going into persistent, endless debt.

We also report your monthly repayments to all three of the UK’s main credit agencies: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion – something that not all credit builder services do. This is essential because you’ll be improving your credit history and score with all three agencies, which in turn will give you access to a wider range of better value loans in the future.

Finally, the way our Credit Builder is set up, you’ll be saving while building your credit history all at the same time. These savings will also be able to unlock other Monese credit products coming soon!

How Credit Builder works

EN Savings visual

Right in your Monese app, you’ll be able to choose a fixed amount to repay each month, between £30 to £100 (more on this amount below). Depending on the amount you pick, we’ll use this to create an interest-free Credit Builder loan and lock this away in your Credit Builder pot.

What is Credit Builder loan?

Your Credit Builder loan is equal to 12 months of your repayments. So for example, if you decide you can afford to repay £30 per month for a year, this will result in a total loan of £360 in your locked pot. This pot will only be unlocked following your last (12th) repayment.

How Credit Builder loans work

EN Onboarding visual

As you pay off your interest-free credit builder loan each month, you work towards getting your Credit Builder pot unlocked. We’ll report these monthly payments to the three UK credit agencies to help build and improve your credit history and score. After a year, your interest-free loan will be fully repaid. This means you’ll have 12 months of successful repayment history recorded with the credit agencies, and your pot will be unlocked, ready to spend!


Be thoughtful about the fixed amount you choose at the beginning. This number should be driven by how much you can realistically commit to repay monthly and should never be higher than your monthly disposable income. A higher amount doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have a better credit score. The best value of the Credit Builder lies in being able to make your repayments on time, without any financial difficulties.

How fast does Credit Builder loan work?

Improving your credit score is not a quick fix. Depending on when you sign up, it could take up to 90 days for the credit agencies to update information on you. It typically takes 3–4 monthly repayments before you see any uplift on your credit score. You can check your credit score by contacting the credit reference agencies.

How to apply for Credit Builder loan

To access Credit Builder, you need to be living in the UK with a Monese GBP account and aged between 18–75. If you’re eligible for the Credit Builder, you’ll see the option in your Monese app right on the home page or under the Explore tab.

We’re so happy to bring Credit Builder to the UK to help you on your way towards a secure, financial future. Be sure to check out our FAQs for more information on Credit Builder and let us know how you’re loving the feature! Leave us your thoughts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or email us at community@monese.com.

*Representative APR: The loan, as a part of the Credit Builder service is a 0% interest loan, but in financial jargon the £7.95/month subscription fee relates to a 28.2% APR as that is the cost of your Credit Builder. This is based on a loan amount of £600.

Share article

Latest articles