Want to learn how to improve your credit score? Well, you’ve come to the right place. No matter if you’re trying to recover from past financial difficulties, bounce back from defaults on your credit report, or you just need to build it up from scratch, there are plenty of things you can do to boost your score. Here, we run through five of them. All jargon free and in plain English, of course.
1. Check for errors on your credit report
Spotted an error on your credit report? If the answer is yes, you’ll want to request a correction as soon as possible. Your credit score is based on your credit report. So, if there are errors, your score can be negatively affected. Look out for things like:
- Credit cards and accounts showing as active when they’ve been closed
- Incorrect address histories
- Financial links to a partner that you’re no longer with
- Signs of fraudulent activity
There are three main credit reference agencies that can provide you with your credit report: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. It’s possible that their reports may be different, so it can be worth checking each one at least once. Look out for any errors and, if you spot one, contact the credit referencing agency as soon as you can to get it updated.
Think you might be a victim of fraud? Notify your bank or credit provider straight away and report it to Action Fraud.
Yep, it’s as simple as that. Registering on the electoral roll will provide you with proof of address, making you appear far more credible to lenders. If you’re over the age of 16 (or 14 in Scotland), you can do this even if you live at home with your parents or if you’re student.
Want to get this ticked off the list? Register to vote online here.
If you are currently making any credit repayments, making sure you pay the minimum monthly repayment on time, every month can help improve your credit score. This is because it indicates to other lenders that you are in control of your finances, making you appear a reliable person to lend to.
Regularly using a credit card for small amounts is a good way of building a healthy credit profile. You’ll need to make at least the minimum monthly repayment to get those credit score gains, but you’ll want to make repayments in full to avoid paying any interest.
If you’re building your credit profile up from scratch or you’ve hit a few bumps in the road in the past, a credit builder card can be a good place to start. These cards are often available to those with thinner credit files, so can be a good option if you’re just starting out.
5. Keep your credit utilisation low
If you’ve already got a credit card, the key to a good credit score is to use it little and often, then pay it off in full every month. What’s really important though, is that you keep your credit utilisation to under 30% (meaning you only use 30% of your credit limit).
So, for example, if your credit limit was £3,000, to keep your credit utilisation low you’d need to avoid spending more than £900 on credit each month. Over time, sticking with this spending habit should help improve your credit score.
Making lots of credit applications in a short space of time can be a red flag for lenders. This is because it can suggest anything from fraudulent activity on your account to applying for more credit than you can afford. If you do get rejected for a loan or credit, don’t apply again immediately as it can reduce your score.
For more information about what impacts your credit score and how it can affect you, read the following guides, or take a look at 5 credit score myths you should know about.