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Vodafone credit check fail: how to get a SIM or phone contract

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If you've not passed Vodafone's credit check for a phone contract or SIM only deal, here are some of the reasons and what you can do about it. Last updated: 28th June 2021.

Vodafone’s credit check policy

Credit checks on Vodafone: how they work

Logos of experian, Equifax and TransUnion

Vodafone work with multiple agenciesRead Vodafone's guide

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In a nutshell, a credit check looks at your credit history and whether or not you’ve made repayments on time. With Vodafone, you'll need to pass a credit check to get any of their pay monthly products.

To do this, they’ll take your personal details and use licenced credit reference agencies (Experian, Equifax and Transunion) to conduct a search (read Vodafone’s page on credit checks here).

But what can you do if you fail the credit check? For what reasons might you have failed Vodafone's credit checks? How can you still get a deal with them and your credit back on track?

In this guide, we’ll try to help you find out why you failed with Vodafone and we’ll go through some alternative options that will put you on the right track to find a deal that works for you.

I wanted a: Phone Phone contract | SIM card SIM only contract

Phone contracts

Declined for a phone contract with Vodafone?

No need to worry - in this guide, we'll help you plan your approach to getting accepted for an alternative Vodafone product.


Have you entered your information correctly?

Screenshot of typos in Vodafone's checkout

Making an error causes issuesGo back now

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This might be a strange question, but are you 100% sure you’ve entered all of your details correctly? We ask because misspellings and mismatched details are a surprisingly high cause of credit check failures.

In order to run a credit check properly with their credit agency partners, Vodafone will need your precise details. The smallest mistake like a wrong digit in your postcode or your date of birth can cause a response of decline.

You can appeal the credit check decision and let them know why you are doing it. If you decide to re-place the order, make sure to get everything right, including name spellings, address history and your bank details.

But please be aware that multiple tries will show up on your credit report and could reduce your chance of getting accepted. That’s why we’d advise against trying again if you’re certain that you’ve got the details right.

If that’s the case, Vodafone have probably found something in their search that didn’t give them the confidence to provide you with a mobile phone contract this time. Keep reading to get an overview of what you can do next.

Useful link: Return to Vodafone’s phone contracts

Could someone else take out the phone contract for you?

Friends holding shoulders and a contract icon

A friend or family member could helpReturn to phones

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If you have a bad credit history, it might be worth checking if someone in your family or household could take one out for you. It is perfectly legal and makes sense if they have a good record. But it is also a matter of trust.

Of course there’s also no guarantee they’ll pass the credit check. Remember: trying and failing could affect their credit file. And if all goes through, you won’t be gaining any good credit yourself and it won’t help with your future applications.

The account will be on their name - without the option of switching to your account later. So make sure you have an arrangement in place, as any missed payments could affect their credit file as well as your relationship.

And it goes without saying, never make an order yourself using someone else’s details. This is fraud and illegal. They need to make the order themselves or they need to be present when you do it.

Useful link: Back to Vodafone’s phone range

Could you go for a cheaper phone?

Screenshot of Vodafone's cheapest phone

Example pricing onlyFind cheapest phones

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Behind the scenes, mobile phone networks tend to categorise their phones into different tiers for credit checks, based on the value of the phone. So if you apply for an expensive high-end phone, the better your credit file needs to be.

It is only natural for Vodafone to expect a very good credit history from someone who’s essentially asking them to give them an expensive handset. They need to be sure that you can pay them back.

If you’ve failed a credit check (or know you are likely to fail) for a top-end phone, applying for a lower priced model could be a good option for you - even if it’s not your ideal-world situation.

There is a lower risk involved for the provider, so they might be able to afford more leniency in who they accept. Once you’re in with a network, you could always try for a better model at the end of the contract too.

Useful link: Take a look at Vodafone’s cheapest phones

Use Vodafone’s SIM only plans as a route to a phone later

Vodafone SIM card
SIM only

a month

Excellent coverage and speedsSee all plans

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Another option is to consider a SIM only plan from Vodafone (without a phone). There’s no guarantee that you’ll be accepted, but credit check levels are almost always lower as there’s no handset included.

By making your monthly repayments you’ll be able to build your credit profile with Vodafone over time. This will show them you’re a reputable paying customer, which could help with future applications for a phone contract.

But if you have a specific model in mind that you want now, you could pay for the phone up front in full - either with Vodafone, from the manufacturer directly or SIM-free from someone like Carphone Warehouse.

If you try this approach and also get rejected for a SIM only plan from Vodafone, there are still options. See Talkmobile step below on this page.

Useful link: The best current SIMs on Vodafone

Consider a reseller that sells Vodafone phone contracts

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Other retailers selling VodafoneCompare all retailers

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If you applied for a mobile phone contract with Vodafone directly and have been rejected, you might be able to try again with a separate reseller. These sell their own phone contracts but on Vodafone’s network.

Because they’re independent companies from Vodafone, they will work with different credit checking agencies and may have different requirements to Vodafone themselves.

This could mean they might accept you, even if Vodafone didn’t directly. We’d advise against trying over and over with different retailers though if you don’t get accepted, as the attempts all go on your record.

Here is the list of resellers that sell Vodafone phone contracts:

Carphone Warehouse stock a large range of Vodafone phone contracts and generally work out cheaper than joining Vodafone directly. They own budget-friendly and that also sell Vodafone.

Then there’s Fonehouse and Metrofone that are owned by the same separate company from Vodafone and Carphone Warehouse. They sell phone contracts on the Vodafone network and credit check separately.

If it’s a Samsung model you’re after, you can actually get a contract on Vodafone via Samsung’s own website here. Their deals are based on finance though (a loan) so these could be even tougher to be accepted for.

ChitterChatter also sell Vodafone contracts and are independent from all the above, so may have a different credit policy. And Mobile Phones Direct are a separate company also selling Vodafone, owned by

Useful link: Compare all retailers of Vodafone phone contracts

Talkmobile use Vodafone’s network and have options for phones

Talkmobile phone upgrades

Talkmobile upgrade phonesSee their options

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If you get rejected for both a phone and SIM only contract from Vodafone, we’d suggest joining Talkmobile on SIM only for now, with a view to upgrading to a phone contract with them down the line.

Talkmobile are owned by Vodafone and use their network. But there’s no credit check to pass to join Talkmobile on SIM only (only an ID check). And their deals are flexible and cheaper than Vodafone directly.

Once you’re with Talkmobile, they offer a range of upgrade phones that you may be eligible for, after a few months of reliably paying for your SIM. Check your account regularly to see if you qualify for an upgrade.

Doing this could be a great opportunity to build your credit rating. And even if the upgrade phone they offer isn’t what you’d ideally go for, you can use it as a stepping stone to getting a better phone elsewhere in future.

Useful link: Talkmobile's buying online terms and conditions

SIM only plans

Declined for a SIM only contract with Vodafone

Don’t despair - there are still other steps you can take.

SIM card

Are you sure you’ve entered your information correctly?

Spelling mistakes in checkout

Incorrect details cause failuresReturn to SIMs

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You need to be absolutely certain you’ve entered your details correctly. That’s because getting even the smallest thing wrong such as misspelling your name or missing specific financial information could result in a failed check.

Vodafone use licensed Credit Reference Agency partners to conduct the credit check. They will need your precise details, so make sure you double check before you hit send.

Failed credit checks can be appealed, which is useful when you know you’ve missed something in your application. If you decide to re-place the order, make sure to get everything right. This could solve the issue.

But please be aware that multiple credit checks will show up on your credit report and could reduce your chance of getting accepted. So try to avoid applying again if you’re certain that you’ve got the details right.

Vodafone might have found something in their search that didn’t give them the confidence to provide you with a SIM only contract this time. If that’s the case, keep reading to find out what options are available to you.

Useful link: Return to Vodafone's SIM only range

Someone else can take out the SIM only contract for you

Two friends and a contract

Know anyone with better credit?Join for you

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It is perfectly legal for someone you trust to take out a SIM only contract for you. It’s worth checking if someone in your family or household with a good credit history is willing to do this.

But remember, if all goes through, the account will be on their name. They will be responsible for making the monthly payments. This means that any missed or late payments could therefore affect their credit rating.

And you won’t have the option to transfer the account to your name later, so the only credit being built is that of the person whose name is on the account. In a nutshell, this option won’t help you build up your credit score.

It goes without saying, it is illegal to use someone else’s details to apply for any mobile contract. They need to do it themselves or be present when you do it.

Useful link: Return to Vodafone's SIM only range

Join another provider on the Vodafone network

Here are two options on the same network wuith no credit checks

Vodafone logo and an antenna

VOXI SIM only plans have no credit checks

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Get free streaming

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Another option worth considering is to join another network. VOXI are owned by Vodafone and use their network. They offer flexible 1-month plans without the higher prices you’d associate with their parent company.

We’d say this is an excellent option for someone who was declined by Vodafone directly. You buy your monthly bundle of minutes, texts and data on VOXI up front - so they don’t need to run a credit check to be sure you’ll pay.

VOXI are a great network to join at any point (read our full review here). They have identical coverage and speeds to Vodafone and you’ll get some nice benefits like Endless Social Media data on every plan.

But it is worth noting that this option will not help you build your credit rating. There’s no direct debit set up for credit agencies to see. But as a way of getting a SIM here and now, VOXI are a great choice.

Useful link: VOXI’s current SIM only plans

Talkmobile only check your ID

Talkmobile ID check screenshot

How it works

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Talkmobile is another excellent option for someone wanting access to the Vodafone network after failing their credit check. They are owned by Vodafone and use their 2G, 3G and 4G networks.

There’s no credit check to pass, but you’ll need to provide a valid ID for the network to check that you are who you say you are, and that the bank details you've provided are legitimate.

Making the monthly payments should allow you to rebuild your credit in a way that will let you join other pay monthly networks later if you want to. Talkmobile even have a range of upgrade phones too for SIM customers.

We think Talkmobile are a good network to join for anyone, not just if you’ve had credit problems. They’re no frills but they’ve got good telephone customer service, with the same 2G/3G/4G coverage and speeds as Vodafone.

Useful link: Our full Talkmobile network review

Vodafone’s Pay As You Go bundles don’t have a credit check

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Example pricing onlySee current deals

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If neither of the above appeal, you could still join Vodafone on a pay as you go SIM, without needing to pass a credit check. On PAYG, you pre-pay for all your usage as top-ups, so there’s no risk of non-payment to the network.

It means you can still join Vodafone directly. And if you build up months and months of regular top-ups on your account, you could talk to their customer service down the line about moving to pay monthly.

Having a pay as you go SIM however will not build up your credit rating with any agencies and therefore won’t help you apply for a SIM only or phone contract with any other network that runs credit checks.

We’d also point out that Vodafone’s pay as you go bundles are way more expensive than VOXI and Talkmobile, with no real extra benefits. So only do this if you’re absolutely dead set on joining Vodafone directly.

Useful link: Compare pay as you go bundle SIMs

Compare all no credit check SIMs

Here are more options with no credit check to pass

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