Borrowing money and using credit cards

Credit card

What’s a credit rating? How do I get a credit card? How do loans work? We take you through the answers below.

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Credit rating

A three digit number assigned by a credit checking company, for example Experian, measuring your ability to repay any money borrowed. Your credit rating can be affected by making late payments and the affordability of how much money you’re asking to borrow.

Credit checks

When a company looks at information from your credit report to understand your financial behaviour. They don’t always need your consent to do this, but they must have a legitimate reason (e.g. you applied for a loan with them).

Credits cards

A credit card gives you access to credit you can spend to make purchases, reduce debt and earn rewards. A credit card may be issued by a bank, building society, or other type of credit lender.

Credit cards work like loans but instead of getting money in your bank account you get credit on your credit card. Your lender will set you a credit limit, and you’ll be able to spend as much of it as you need before paying back some or all of your balance each month.

There are lots of different types of credit card.

Find the right one for you on the Experian website.

Building credit

You can build you credit score in a number of ways. The simplest way is to make payments on time.

For more advice on building credit, visit the Experian website.


A sum of money borrowed from a lender (e.g. bank or building society) with a repayment agreement between borrower and lender. This agreement is legally binding and not being able to meet them could affect your credit score, meaning you might not be able to borrow money in the same way in the future.

Find out more on the Experian website.

Find out more about borrowing

Financial expert Charlotte Ransom explains more about borrowing.

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