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Improving or Building Your Credit Score/Rating

Improving or Building Your Credit Score/Rating

You want to show lenders you are responsible and capable of managing your finances.

  • Register on the electoral roll. If lenders cannot find your name at an address, you’ll face difficulty getting any credit.

 

  • Undergo credit check reports and check for any mistakes on your file. Incorrect details may negatively impact your score. Ensure all details are correct and report incorrect information promptly.
  • Check your credit score monthly and before any major application for credit such as a mortgage for a house.

 

  • Reduce/pay off existing debt. Start off with debts which have the highest interest rates. High levels of debt should be avoided before applying for new credit. Lenders are not keen to lend to you if you already have a high level of existing debt.
  • Similarly, get rid of any unused credit and/or store cards. Having access to too many lines of credit even if they are not used, can deter lenders from lending out more credit to you.

 

  • Pay all utility bills and credit repayments on time. Do not be late. Setting up direct debits/reminders is an easy way to ensure repayment deadlines are not missed as payments due are taken out of your bank account automatically.
  • Keep long-standing bank accounts with good credit histories open to help increase your credit score/rating.

 

  • Treat your credit card like a debit card (spend less than you earn) and always pay off credit card bills in full to avoid incurring any interest payments. Paying your credit card in full will help build a credit history or improve/restore past credit issues.
  • Do not withdraw cash using credit cards as you are charged interest for this. Furthermore, lenders will view this as poor money management skills. Why take out cash you do not have?

 

  • Stability matters. Avoid moving homes too frequently. Use the same personal details consistently amongst every application you make. For instance, the same contact number, bank details, current address and employer helps too.
  • With this point in mind, homeowners or those living with parents at their home address are more favoured in contrast to renters. Similarly, employed rather than self-employed individuals have better chances of being accepted for credit applications. The point is to plan ahead and work backwards in accordance to your personal circumstances. For example, staying employed as an employee until your mortgage application is approved and granted before undertaking self-employment.

 

  • If you’re financially linked to someone (partner/flatmate) with a poor credit history, keep your finances separate. Remember lenders are trying to predict your future money management and spending habits.

 

  • Use free eligibility credit calculators or quotation searches (soft checks) as opposed to actual credit applications/credit searches (hard checks). Credit application remains on your credit file, if you apply to too many in a short space of time, it may hinder your future applications as this suggests that you’re desperate for credit. Meanwhile, free eligibility calculators (soft checks) cannot be viewed by lenders when they access your credit file, so it would be wise to undergo soft checks first before actually applying for credit (hard checks). With this approach, you will maximise your chances of being accepted for low-interest credit cards and loans; whilst also minimising the number of credit applications all together.

 

Sources of information:

  1. http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/loans/credit-rating-credit-score
  2. https://www.clearscore.com/blog/clearscore-noddle-creditexpert-whats-the-difference
  3. https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/how-to-improve-your-credit-rating

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