Home test kits are very convenient, as they’re sent straight to your door. To get your hands on one, you’ll need to apply online. The government will check your credit report as part of the registration process.
We find out why they do this and how it could affect you.
Why is my credit report checked?
The government is working with credit reference agency TransUnion to check credit reports in order to verify the identity of applicants. This system helps to prevent people from requesting more home test kits than necessary. The aim is to ensure there’s enough kits to go around.
Note: A credit report check isn’t necessary if you request a test in person from a mobile test site.
Can your credit score affect your eligibility for a COVID test?
Your credit score is not considered when you apply for a home test kit. The government states it “is not a credit check and does not affect your credit score”. So, if you have bad credit, this shouldn’t impact your eligibility. They are only checking credit reports to confirm the identity of applicants. However, it seems some people have been refused at-home COVID tests as a result of the checks.
Will I be refused a home test kit?
Having a ‘thin’ history, or no credit history at all could affect your chances of getting a home test kit - even if you’re on the electoral roll. This is because the government cannot confirm your identity if the agencies don’t have any information on you..
In the UK, it’s estimated that there are around 5.8 million people who have little or no financial information. These are likely to be the hardest hit. Other people who may be affected include those who rely on others to handle the bills, and people who have moved to the UK recently. Which? Claim that you do need to appear on the credit reference agency’s system.
What should I do if I can’t get a home test kit online?
You can access testing at drive-through or walk-through test sites seven days a week. You’ll need to register online, then you’ll receive a confirmation email, which you must take to the test site.
Remember, if you have symptoms, you and anyone you live with (or anyone in your support bubble) must self-isolate until you get your result. You must also self-isolate if you can’t get a test.
If you have any problems with the online service, you can call 119 between 7am and 11pm. Or call 0300 303 2713 if you’re in Scotland. Bear in mind, if no tests are available online, do not call helplines. No extra tests are available through the helplines.
For medical advice call 111, or 999 in an emergency.
Do I have to pay for an NHS COVID test?
According to the government, you can get a free NHS test if one (or more) of the following applies:
- You have a high temperature
- You have a new, continuous cough
- You’ve lost your sense of smell or taste or it’s changed
- A local council have asked you to get a test
- You’re taking part in a government pilot project
- You’ve been asked to get a test to confirm a positive result
However, you will have to pay if:
- You’ve come to the UK from a high-risk country
- You’re planning to leave the country
- Your employer or school has asked you to get a test, but you don’t have any symptoms
Disclaimer: This article is correct at the time of writing but is subject to change. Please check the government website for the latest updates.
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