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Three Credit Checks Explained – How to Get a Three SIM Plan or Phone Contract

Let’s have an in-depth look at Three’s credit check policy and find out how it works. This guide will also cover how to get a SIM Only tariff or a mobile phone contract from the network.


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There are four major mobile providers in the UK and Three UK is one of them. Three is the smallest of the big four networks in terms of customer numbers and has the least 4G coverage, but they offer the widest & fastest 5G coverage and speeds in the UK.

Three doesn’t offer 2G either, and their 3G is also a little behind the other three; EE, Vodafone and O2. This means the network’s overall voice call quality is trailing behind its competitors. However, the carrier compensates where it’s lacking by offering features like 4G Calling, Wi-Fi Calling and many other extras that add great value to their plans for free. Even 5G comes at no extra cost, provided your device supports it.

Three’s most competitively priced contracts will lock you in for at least a year. If you wish to sign up for a Three pay monthly contract, the network will run a credit check. In this article, we’ll explain how Three’s credit checks work and what other alternatives you have, if you want Three coverage but don’t want to sign up for a long-term contract or undergo a credit check.

How Three’s Credit Check Works

When you sign up for a Three pay monthly SIM plan or phone plan, you will have to undergo a credit check. This is because Three wants to see if you’re financially trustworthy to cover any costs you incur outside of your general bundle allowance and that you are able to cover the repayment of your device, if you purchase a contract handset deal.

Credit checks are not everyone’s cup of tea, as you will be sharing your personal information as well as your financial history. Having said that, there is just no way around it. If you want to benefit from cheaper SIM plans and great discounts the network offers, you’ll have to sign up for a contract and undergo a credit risk assessment.

In order to pass Three’s credit check you must submit a form and share your personal details. Please be extra careful when you’re filling in this form; getting any small detail wrong may cause your application for a SIM or device to be declined. There is nothing tricky about the form but according to Experian (One of the major Credit Reference Agencies in the UK) a lot of people fail their credit checks due to submitting information incorrectly.

Once you submit your personal details and sign up for a SIM or phone contract, Three will contact a CRA (Experian, Equifax or Callcredit) to confirm your ID and examine your financial behaviour. Based on your financial record, you will be given a score. Three have different tiers for their pay monthly contracts, but they don’t share any specific details. If you’re applying for a 1-month contract, you can pass the credit check quite easily. However, signing up for a long term mobile phone contract, let’s say for an iPhone 12 with an unlimited data plan, your credit score will have to be very good.

Three may also ask you to pay an upfront fee for a device or ask further questions before giving you the thumbs up and allowing you to use their mobile services.

Failing Three’s Credit Check

First things first, don’t keep re attempting to pass the credit check. If you fail a credit check it will be noted in your financial record and this might negatively affect your credit rating.

Applying for another credit check before identifying the reason for failure won’t help you and make things harder in the future as your credit rating will be lower than where you started.

There are multiple reasons why you may have failed to pass Three’s credit check, first one is submitting wrong, false or inaccurate information. Make sure your form is 100% correct. Also keep in mind that, if you provide inaccurate or straight up false information about yourself, your details will be passed to fraud prevention agencies.

Three will carefully examine your data, and if it doesn’t meet their criteria for the price plan you applied, they will simply deny your application. There may be a specific reason why you may be failing a credit check, such as “not living in the UK for 3 years or more”, and in that case the network will ask you to give them a call on 0800 033 8001 to see what they can do to help.

If there’s no way you can pass a credit check for a SIM only contract or a mobile phone contract, you can always ask someone you trust to take a mobile contract out on your behalf. We can’t stress this enough, we’re not telling you to place an order using someone else’s details. Remember that, they may also fail a credit check; even if they pass the contract will be in their name and they’ll be liable to pay all the bills. It’s not ideal, but at least there’s an alternative. That’s why we are putting emphasis on the “someone you trust” bit.

Another alternative would be opting for a cheaper SIM only contract or a handset. We know and understand, having a flagship handset from manufacturers such as Apple, Samsung, Xiaomi, Huawei etc. is great, but you may have to compromise and look for a cheaper smartphone or you can purchase a new mobile phone from a UK retailer and just sign up for a SIM only plan from Three. You can even check out refurbished phone deals and cut the cost of the device significantly.

The very last option is paying for the whole deal upfront. If you pay for everything in advance there’s no need to undergo a credit check. However, in this case you’d be paying for a service you’re yet to get.

Three SIM Only Contracts

The mobile network operator provides a wide variety of different SIM only contracts; all Three SIM only plans include unlimited UK minutes & texts. Plus, features like 4G CallingWi-Fi CallingThree Go Roam and 5G are available to all Three customers at no extra cost.

Three’s pay monthly contracts are available in 1-month, 12-month or 24-month deals. As you can probably guess; better rates are available for customers who are okay with locking in for a longer period. Having said that, pricier and longer contracts usually require a higher credit score.

The following table shows Three’s current selection of pay monthly SIM only tariffs.

1 Month Plans
Three Advanced4GB£16.00
Three Advanced12GB£19.00
Three Advanced30GB£24.00
Three AdvancedUnlimited£26.00
12 Month Plans
Three Advanced1GB£6.00
Three Advanced4GB£10.00
Three Advanced8GB£11.00
Three Advanced12GB£8.00 (Half Cooked Deal)
Three Advanced30GB£15.00
Three AdvancedUnlimited£16.00 (Half Cooked Deal)
24 Month Plans
Three Advanced1GB£5.00
Three Advanced4GB£9.00
Three Advanced8GB£10.00
Three Advanced12GB£12.00
Three Advanced30GB£14.00
Three AdvancedUnlimited£10.00 6 Months - £20 from month 7
All Three pay monthly plans come with unlimited minutes & texts.

In terms of 4G and 3G network coverage & data speeds, Three ranks last among the four major operators. While all four operators provide over 99% population coverage, Three’s UK landmass coverage is significantly behind, being around 75% at the time of writing. EE offers the most 4G coverage in the UK with over 95% UK geographical coverage, followed by Vodafone and O2. On the bright side, Three’s prices are way more competitive and packed with extra features that come at no extra cost. You can read our Three vs EE comparison to get a better idea. You can also have a look at our extensive EE Review to discover everything you need to know about the carrier and their SIM only deals.

If you’re a heavy data user, we strongly suggest checking out Three’s unlimited data plans; the carrier offers true unlimited data with no data caps, no speed or tethering restrictions.

Three also offers both Home Broadband and Mobile Broadband deals. These two offers are also subject to credit checks and the process is exactly the same.

Three Mobile Phone Contracts

Three has some great mobile phone offers bundled with their SIM plans. They also deliver your order for free within a working day. The network offers mobile phone contracts on low end handsets, all the way to your flagship iPhones & Samsung phones. Their pay monthly phone contracts are usually cheaper than the other main network operators.

The carrier may ask for an upfront payment when you sign up for a flagship handset deal with a heavy data plan. You can also pay the full price upfront and skip the credit check, but if that’s the case, we again recommend checking out trustworthy retailers as they sell handsets for considerably cheaper prices than mobile networks.

At the time of writing, you can get 6 months half price on selected plans plus a few other extras depending on your handset choice. These extras include 6 months free Spotify Premium membership and wireless headphones and speakers.

You can also receive a discount of £80, if you refer a friend to a Three phone contract.

No Credit Check SIMs From Three

If you want to be on Three’s network, but don’t want to deal with credit checks you can always use the carrier’s traditional pay as you go service if you’re a light data user or purchase a supercharged pay as you go data pack and enjoy unlimited UK minutes & texts valid for 30 days. The amount of data you get depends on which PAYG pack you choose.

Unfortunately, Three doesn’t offer a data rollover scheme but you can always have a look at our ‘How much mobile data do I need?’ guide to find out which pay as you go pack is ideal for you. We rate the network’s PAYG service quite highly, because their rates are pretty good and you are still eligible for all the extras such as 4G and Wi-Fi Calling, Go Roam and 5G at no extra cost.

We’d like to underline that, Three’s pay monthly 30-day contracts are different from their 30-day PAYG data packs. You still have to undergo a credit check for the former deal and set up a monthly direct debit for paying your bill. The latter works on a prepaid basis, meaning there are no credit checks, nor a requirement for setting up a payment method.

Alternative SIM Only Deals

Three also supports multiple smaller mobile virtual network operators, allowing them to piggyback on their underlying infrastructure. If your area has good coverage from Three, you might want to check out the SIM only deals from the networks below.


The carrier is directly owned by Three. SMARTY provides commitment-free SIM only plans piggybacking on Three’s 4G and 3G network. The MVNO stands out with their cheap prices and high value plans. SMARTY’s unlimited data plans are wallet friendly and they’re usually the cheapest on the market. SMARTY also offers Wi-Fi Calling at no extra cost and from what we understand 4G Calling is also on its way. Sadly, SMARTY doesn’t have 5G yet, but the network is planning to launch their 5G service this year.

Read our SMARTY Review and you can learn everything you need to know about the carrier.

iD Mobile

Owned by Dixons Carphone and powered by Three, iD Mobile offers 4G & 3G SIM only contracts and great mobile phone contracts. Plus, all iD Mobile pay monthly plans come with a one time data boost, as well as 4G Calling & Wi-Fi Calling. However, you’ll have to undergo a credit check in order to get your hands on one of their pay monthly SIMs or mobile phone deals. They also provide a pay as you go service, but we believe it’s a bit overpriced, especially given how you don’t get any of the extras listed above.

Make sure to read our iD Mobile Review, if you want to learn more about their offers and extra features.

Superdrug Mobile

Superdrug is actually a health and beauty retailer, but they also have a mobile service that launched back in the summer of 2018. The carrier is using Three as its provider. Superdrug Mobile only offers four different SIM only plans, and except the unlimited data plan they’re not preferable, unless you’re a regular Superdrug customer.

The network’s unlimited data plan has no speed restrictions or data caps, plus you get double Health and Beautycard points on all your Superdrug shopping. You’ll also receive £20 credit for your Health & Beautycard when you activate your SIM. Read our Superdrug Mobile Review, if you want to discover more about their offers.


How can I pass Three’s credit check?

There’s no certain way or a trick to pass a credit check. The best you can do is submit your order and fill in the form with accurate information. You can also check your credit score before making an order. All CRAs have an obligation to provide you with a copy of your credit report at no cost. You can get your report online or alternatively, you can ask for a written copy.

What should I do if I fail a credit check?

If you’ve failed to pass a credit check, don’t keep submitting orders. Try to find out what went wrong. Maybe you put wrong information or made a typo in your form. Maybe you applied for a contract above your credit score. Failed credit checks can affect your credit rating and not in a positive way.

Can someone else undergo a credit check on my behalf?

Technically, no. However, you can ask someone you trust to sign up for a contract on your behalf. They would have to pay all your bills, but you can pay this person.

What can I do if I haven’t been living in the UK for 3 years or more? What can I do if I don’t have a credit score yet?

Well, you can always give them a call on 0800 033 8001 and speak to Three’s customer service. They will see what they can do for you. Alternatively you can seek no credit check SIM plans.

Can I skip a credit check if I pay the full price of my order?

Yes, in that case you don’t have to undergo a credit check. Although, keep in mind that you’ll be paying for the service you’re yet to receive. You might want to think twice before signing up for this kind of a deal.