The UK’s Borrowing Power: Who’s most likely to get credit?

We’ve mapped out the average Borrowing Power scores across the UK to reveal the differences and divisions that exist between the credit haves and the have nots.

Knowing that you have access to affordable credit can make it easier to plan for the future you want. It can give you the confidence that you won't be tripped up by life's twists and turns. And it can make those big life decisions a little simpler.

We’ve just launched our free live credit report service. As well as being able to track your Live Credit Score and get full access to six years’ worth of your borrowing history, you can also see your real-world Borrowing Power (see the panel for more details).

Interactive Borrowing Power map of the UK

Use the map to see the UK’s Borrowing Power hotspots: What’s the level in your postcode area? Are your neighbours more or less likely to be accepted for credit than you? Find out below.

Average Borrowing Power

0 to 3.0
3.0 to 3.5
3.5 to 4.0
4.0 to 4.5
4.5 to 10.0

Borrowing Power of the UK’s ten largest cities

Borrowing Power
Bradford 3.44
London 3.40
Glasgow 3.36
Bristol 3.33
Leeds 3.29
Sheffield 3.29
Manchester 3.28
Birmingham 3.24
Liverpool 3.21
Edinburgh 3.14

What is Borrowing Power?

Unique to TotallyMoney and based on real-time, real-world lending decisions, your Borrowing Power level shows you how likely you are to be accepted for credit. Scored out of ten, the higher your Borrowing Power score, the more attractive you are to lenders. And it’s updated every time you log in to your dashboard.

The Borrowing Power calculation takes into account crucial information that is excluded from your credit score, but still informs credit providers’ lending decisions.

You can see your Borrowing Power when you sign up for a TotallyMoney free credit report.

Checking your Borrowing Power has no impact on your likelihood of being accepted for credit. We run a soft search on your credit file to calculate your level. Soft searches are generally not visible to lenders, but if they are, their lending decisions are unaffected.

Some interesting findings from the research

London might be the financial centre of the UK, but at 3.40 out of 10, it only has the second highest average Borrowing Power of the country’s ten biggest cities. Bradford came out on top with an average score of 3.44.

Although the national average Borrowing Power levels of Scotland is lower than that of England or Northern Ireland, the Scottish cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh have the third and tenth highest average Borrowing Powers, respectively, of any UK city.

Of the UK’s ten most populous cities, only six (Bradford, London, Glasgow, Bristol, Leeds and Sheffield) have an average Borrowing Power that is equal to or higher than the national average of 3.29.

The four postcode areas with the highest Borrowing Power levels (Kingston, Twickenham, Bromley and South-West London), all lie in the South-East of England.

Borrowing Power is a real-time snapshot of our customers’ access to credit. Therefore the average scores can fluctuate day-to-day due to changes in individuals’ credit statuses or the products that are in the market. The Borrowing Power averages presented here are based on 289,200 TotallyMoney customers and were calculated on 18 April 2017.

Top 10 Postcode Areas

Postcode area
Location Borrowing Power
KT Kingston 3.57
TW Twickenham 3.56
BR Bromley 3.55
SW South West London 3.52
OX Oxford 3.50
UB Uxbridge 3.50
GU Guilford 3.49
HA Harrow 3.48
IG Ilford 3.48
HP Hemel Hempstead 3.47

Bottom 10 Postcode Areas

Postcode area
Location Borrowing Power
HR Hereford 3.17
CF Cardiff 3.17
BL Bolton 3.17
DG Dumfries & Galloway 3.16
FY Blackpool 3.15
NP Newport 3.15
DD Dundee 3.14
WC West Central London 3.13
BN Brighton 3.13
SA Swansea 3.13

What affects your Borrowing Power?

Missing monthly payments on your credit cards or loans, or busting your credit limit will have a negative impact on your Borrowing Power.

However, a low Borrowing Power level can be improved by getting a card for people with poor credit and using it sensibly – for example by spending a little on it each month and always making sure you pay off the balance in full.

There are other steps you can take to convince lenders that you can be relied on. Register to vote and try not to move house too often – having a stable address gives lenders confidence that will be responsible with card or loan repayments, thereby improving your Borrowing Power.

And check that all the details in your credit report are consistent, accurate and up to date. It’s this information that lenders will look at when considering your application. It’s also used to calculate your Borrowing Power, so it pays to make sure that it’s right.

Why you need to know what’s on your credit report

As well as tracking your Borrowing Power and understanding what lenders really think of you, it’s important to check your credit report regularly.

Before you put in any application for credit, you should make sure that all the information on your credit report is up to date and correct. Don’t assume that everything will be right on your report. According to credit reference agency Callcredit, more than one in four people who check their credit reports find errors.

Sign up for your TotallyMoney Free Credit Report – it’s the first step towards taking control of your personal finances. You’ll be able to see the Best Credit Matches that are available to you. This personal shortlist of credit card offers is based on your likelihood of being accepted.