How to improve your credit score
Okay, so we hope that you’ve checked at least one of your credit files, if you haven’t checked your credit score yet, check out this article here.
You’ve checked your credit score, but the next question is ‘what is a good credit score?’.
It’s a good question, first of all, because each credit referencing agency (CRA) has a different way of scoring you, your score will be different with each agency.
Each CRA states what a good credit score is on their websites:
- A good score with Experian starts at 700, with 800 and above considered excellent.
- A good score with Equifax it is 660 and above.
- As for Transunion, a good score is 3+ on its 1-5 rating.
If you have a good credit score, like the ones listed above, then you can save yourself money on interest rates on borrowing such as credit cards, loans, credit agreements and mortgages.
If you have a what is seen as a ‘bad’ credit rating, you are likely to be offered higher interest rates, or fail to qualify for credit at all.
The good news is, that if you decide to apply for a loan with a credit union, there are caps in place on interest, so that if you do have a poor score, you are more likely to get a fairer rate than if you apply with payday lenders.
So now you know your score, the question is how do you improve it?
Here are some simple steps that you can do that will improve your score.
1 – Register on the electoral roll
One of the easiest ways of improving your score is registering yourself on the electoral roll. It’s free to register and is highly recommended as it will immediately improve your score.
2 – Show that you can make your payments
If you can show the Credit Referencing Agencies and potential lenders that you can manage your existing debt repayments, this will improve your score. Make sure you make your monthly repayments, and this will help improve your score. The great thing about this is that even small things such as mobile phone contracts are on credit so keep up the payments on those and this will improve your score if you have no loans or credit cards.
If payments are missed, this gives your score a hit, and will appear on your credit file, which will affect your future chances of being accepted for credit.
3 – Check your credit report annually
Review your credit file at least once a year to check all the information held about you is correct. You can then request that any errors are amended by contacting the credit referencing agency.
4 – Close down old credit card accounts
You might owe nothing on a credit card, but the lender will look at all your available credit before it decides on your application, so it pays not to have too much credit as your disposal. If you are planning to close an account, don’t do so just before applying for credit as it can affect your credit score in the short term.
5 – Cut financial links with previous partners
If you have any joint finance agreements such as loans or mortgages, they could influence a lender’s decision, especially if have poor credit history. Contact all three CRAs to add a ‘notice of disassociation’ to your file if you have cut ties with an ex-partner/spouse.
6 – Consider a credit builder card
Prove you can manage your debts sensibly and improve your score. Interest rates on credit cards for low credit scores are usually high, so only consider this option if you can keep your borrowing under control.