MSE News

Leeds becomes first mortgage lender to use Netflix, Spotify and council tax payments to 'boost' home loan chances – here's how it works

Homebuyers can now use regular Netflix, Spotify and council tax payments to increase their chances of getting accepted for a Leeds Building Society mortgage. The lender has become the first in the UK to start using payment data recorded on Experian Boost when considering home loan applications.

Experian Boost – a form of open banking run by credit reference agency Experian – compiles a record of regular debit payments that don't normally appear on your credit file in order to boost your credit score and improve your 'creditworthiness' in the eyes of lenders.

Boost launched in 2019, but until now lenders hadn't factored in its information when considering a mortgage application. This changed today (Wednesday 10 May) after Leeds Building Society (BS) announced it would start using Boost when making decisions. 

Last year, more than 18,000 first-time buyers got onto the housing ladder using a Leeds BS mortgage. In 2021, Leeds was the 13th biggest mortgage lender in the UK, according to industry trade body UK Finance.

Making sure your credit file is in tip-top condition is key to getting accepted for any form of credit. See our guide on How to check your credit file for free and our Top tips to boost your credit score.

Using Experian Boost could help you get a mortgage from Leeds Building Society

To benefit from today's changes you'll need to be signed up to Experian Boost, which is free to do. It'll mainly help first-time buyers rather than those who've already got a mortgage, as repaying an existing mortgage is more impactful on a credit file than paying direct debits, but remortgagers could benefit to some extent too.

For now, Boost will only help if you're applying for a Leeds BS mortgage as a single applicant, though the building society says it plans to apply Boost to joint mortgage applications "soon".

Boost could help your chance of mortgage acceptance with Leeds BS if you make regular on-time payments towards the likes of:

  • Council tax.
  • Digital subscriptions, including Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Spotify.
  • Investments and savings, such as ISAs and monthly saver accounts.

Other mortgage lenders aren't using Experian Boost for now

Leeds Building Society is currently the only lender to use Experian Boost as part of a mortgage application.

This means if you use Experian Boost and apply for a mortgage with a lender other than Leeds, it'll have no bearing on the outcome of your application.

MoneySavingExpert.com has reached out to major mortgage lenders to see if they have plans to start using Experian Boost in future. So far, Nationwide, Santander, Virgin Money (including Yorkshire Bank and Clydesdale Bank) and Yorkshire Building Society have all confirmed they don't have plans to start using Experian Boost as it stands.

How Experian Boost works

As one of the UK's big three credit reference agencies, Experian provides information to lenders about your credit history – recorded on your credit file – when you apply for credit. Your credit history is one of the factors that'll determine whether or not a lender will accept you (be that for a mortgage, loan, credit card, even the likes of mobile phone contracts, car insurance and more).

By signing up to Experian Boost, Experian will compile a separate history of regular payments over the past 12 months that are not normally recorded on your credit file.

Where you have a good track record of making repayments on time and in full, this will both potentially boost your Experian credit score and be shared with lenders that use Boost. This in turn might help your chance of credit acceptance with lenders you apply for credit from.

Boost only records payments that are made on-time. Where you miss a payment or are late, this is not recorded by Boost – so it shouldn't dent your borrowing prospects or your Experian credit score.

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