Looking for ways to improve your credit worthiness can increase your chances of success, below are some do’s and don’ts which could help:
Do – check your credit file: you can check your credit file at all of the three main credit agencies – Equifax, Call Credit & Experian. You have the right to access your report for a small charge of £2. It’s a good idea to check your report with all three agencies, because one might be giving different information to lenders. If you spot any mistakes, contact the relevant agency as soon as possible and ask for them to be corrected.
Do – Get yourself on the electoral role: this is the one of the easiest ways for lenders to identify you, if you’re not on the electoral role, you could find it difficult to get credit. You can register online at any time through the Register to Vote website.
Do – close old credit card accounts: if you have credit cards which you no longer use, contact the providers and close them. If an account is still open, lenders may think you already have access to more credit than you need.
Do – build a positive credit history: to help you get credit in the future, you can start to build a good credit history now. Showing that you can repay your credit on time and stay within your credit limit will help show lenders that you are financially responsible. If you have never borrowed money before and have no credit history, you will have limited access to loans and credit cards. Try approaching your own bank in the first instance and ensure that you make repayments on time and in full.
Don’t – make multiple applications for credit: making an application for credit leaves a ‘footprint’ on your credit file that other lenders will be able to see. If you’re refused credit, don’t be tempted to make multiple applications at once as this may be seen as a sign you are in financial difficulty. This could make lenders reluctant to lend to you, instead, work to improve your credit rating before you apply again.
Don’t – let other people’s score affect yours: if you have previously held joint financial products with someone you no longer have a relationship with, write to the credit reference agencies and ask for a notice of disassociation. This will prevent their credit history affecting yours in the future. However, you can’t do this if the account is still open, so it will need to be closed or transferred into one name first.
Don’t – be late on any credit repayment: doing this even once or twice may affect your ability to get credit for a number of years. If it is a simple case of not being organised and forgetting the payment due dates, the easiest way to tackle this is to pay everything by direct debit to ensure you are never late.
If you are in financial difficulties contact your lender and ask for help to discuss your options as soon as possible, do not wait until you have started to miss your repayments.
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If you owe money on more than one credit card or loan then a debt consolidation loan could come in handy. You can access our debt calculator to add up how much you owe and see if a personal loan could reduce your monthly outgoings.
Article published on 25 January 2018