Most people know that you need a good credit score to be able to borrow money, but how to start building one is a mystery. First aired in June 2022, in this episode of Money Clinic, host and FT consumer editor Claer Barrett sits down with listener Emma, 22, who has never been in debt before, aside from her student loans. Emma has heard that getting a credit card could increase her chances of taking out a mortgage in the future, but before she applies for one, what does she need to consider? In this episode, Claer gives Emma’s credit score an MOT with help from Katie Watts, a consumer expert at, and debt adviser Sara Williams, who runs the Debt Camel blog. Together, they explain the hidden world of credit scores, credit files and tips on how to use credit responsibly, as well as offer tips on how to improve your credit score — and why this might be worth doing.

For more tips on how to organise your money, sign up to Claer's email series 'Sort Your Financial Life Out With Claer Barrett' at

If you would like to be a guest on a future episode of Money Clinic, email us at or send Claer a DM on social media — she’s @ClaerB on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok.

Want more?

Check out Claer’s column, A dating app with credit scores: what’s not to love?

Listen to more episodes, such as Credit scores: when a small debt becomes a big problem, Should I pay off my student loan early?, and more.

Presented by Claer Barrett. Produced by Tamara Kormornick and Persis Love. Our executive producer is Manuela Saragosa. Sound design by Breen Turner, with original music from Metaphor Music. Cheryl Brumley is the FT’s global head of audio.

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