On mobile phones and credit checks

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before but I absolutely love gadgets. I have been having an ongoing love affair with the iPhone for over four years, first an iPhone 3G, then an iPhone 4S and currently an iPhone 4, because my iPhone 4S is still locked to my German service provider for another month.

Since I moved here, my plan had been to get the new iPhone when it comes out, and on Friday, it finally did!

Yesterday, we went to the Three shop at the mall, and I was hoping to pick one up then. Unfortunately they did not have any in stock, and they recommended I order it online as online orders are given priority.

Back home we went, and in the evening I wanted to order it online, only to discover that well, I can’t, no way no how.  As a part of their credit check, they ask for all of your UK addresses for the past 3 years, and basically, if you haven’t spent the past 3 years living in the UK, there is no way you can get a mobile phone contract online.

So today, on an absolutely gorgeous, sunny and warm September day, N. and I went back into town, to the shop downtown, to hopefully order the iPhone then.

I had been a bit worried that I might be refused based on my (lack of) credit history. I have to admit that would have been a real bummer for me. I am 30 years old and have had mobile phone contracts in my name for the past 9 years but here, I could have easily been deemed untrustworthy, based on the fact that I don’t have much of a credit history here. It would have been so frustrating.

When I first moved here, I wasn’t even able to get a regular bank account because I had no income. I just got a basic account with RBS that only allowed me to use their cash machines. A week or two after I got my job, I applied for another, regular bank account and was approved.

These are the kinds of things you really take for granted in your home country, getting bank accounts and mobile phone contracts without a problem (if you have never done anything to mess up your credit rating).

You would think that in today’s world, with so many people moving internationally, there would be a way for countries to share this kind of data, but nope, when you move to another country, you have to start from scratch again. I haven’t tried it, but I am pretty sure I would be refused for a credit card here, even though I’ve had one in Germany for 10 years.

I had read that the service provider Three were not quite as strict with their credit checks, so I was hoping I might have a chance with them. Plus N. is with them as well, and very very happy (they have amazing 3G download speeds and unlimited data).

To make a long story short, I managed to get the contract. I had brought all sorts of things, payslips, bank statements and whatnot, but in the end, I didn’t need any of them. It turned out much easier than I expected it to be.

I am almost more excited about the fact that I was able to get a mobile phone contract here than about the new iPhone. I think it might really help with building up my credit history so that eventually, in a couple of years, N. and I will be able to get a mortgage.

Alright, I am also really excited about the new iPhone (that’d be the iPhone 5s). I will have to wait about two weeks for it to be delivered but I will hopefully get it just before we go to Germany. Cant wait!


2 thoughts on “On mobile phones and credit checks

  1. I’m happy it all worked out for you! By the way, when we applied for a mortgage they didn’t look at our credit rating. They only checked if we’re registered as a defaulter, and they needed to see our contracts from work.

  2. It will absolutely help to built your credit. You should wait a few more months and get a credit card. That’s a biggie….just buy something small and pay it every month and in no time will your credit rating increase:)

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