Anyone who has ever applied for a mortgage knows the importance of having a good credit score. But only half of Britons have checked their score in the past month, according to new research from pollsters YouGov.

Most people taking part in the survey thought that maintaining a good credit score was important (83%) with 48% saying it was very important. Women are more likely to prize a good score (52%) than men (43%). When looking at age groups, the 18 to 24s are the most likely to believe that keeping their credit score in the top category is very important (57%) – compared to 46% of those aged 55+.

Almost a third (32%) say they check their score less often than once a year, however, 27% monitor theirs monthly. Respondents were also asked when they last checked their scores – a fifth had done so in the past month, but 37% said they had never checked.

There are three main credit reference agencies – Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. Each of them will calculate your credit score based on the information they hold about you. The score can give you an idea of how favourably a lender will look upon you when you apply for a loan, credit card or mortgage deal. A high credit score will also help access the best rates available.

Checking scores is important for anyone who could need to apply for credit. According to consumer organisation, Which?: “Not regularly checking your credit report could mean errors could go uncorrected. In 2019, we found that one in five people who did check their report found [it was] wrong. If you see any mistakes on your credit report, you should contact the credit reference agency to get them corrected.”

There are things you can do to improve a low credit score, ranging from making sure you are registered to vote to careful budgeting to keep your use of credit low.

In the survey, 18% said they frequently try to improve their score with 33% doing so on occasion. Almost half (47%) said they do not try to change their score for the better.

Read more about the survey on the YouGov website.