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How to improve your credit score

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Applying for a mortgage, credit card or loan? Taking out a new mobile phone or energy contract or even paying car insurance monthly? Opening a new bank account? Then you’ll want to make sure your credit score is in tip top condition! Why? Because a credit rating helps the lender decide if you are their idea of a trustworthy customer.

‘People should think of their credit report as their financial CV. You wouldn’t apply for a job and let an employer look at your CV without first checking to make sure it’s up to date and paints the best picture of your suitability for the role – so don’t apply for credit before giving similar attention to your credit report,’ says James Jones of Experian.

How does it work?

Whether you’re applying for a store card, a mortgage or a buy now pay later scheme, the lenders use different methods to calculate your credit score. The higher the score the more likely you are to get credit with the lender and, equally important, you’ll also get the best possible rates on financial products.
If your credit score isn’t great, you may still get the money but on less favourable terms, eg it could cost you more in the long run.

Keeping an eye on your credit score should be a basic for good money management.

If you get rejected for credit by one lender, it doesn’t mean they all will reject you. Different lenders look for different things and will score you differently. Credit blacklists are a myth, but if you’ve had a poor credit history or problems it will be harder for you to get credit.

how to boost you credit rating

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Get to know your credit report

All lenders use financial data provided by at least one of the UK’s three main credit reference agencies – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion (previously Callcredit).

It’s free to check your files by law and it’s important to do this regularly to make sure there are no inaccuracies. Try and check at least two of the three agencies as they won’t hold identical information about you.

TIP
Some lenders will do a ‘soft search’ or ‘quotation search’ on your credit file to tell you if you qualify and what the rate will be. This isn’t added to the data kept about you for all lenders to see. Ask the lender or use Moneysavingexpert’s own free eligibility calculator.

What to check…

Not together still?

      You may not realise it, but if you open a joint bank account or take out a mortgage with your partner or flatmate, you become ‘financially linked’ to them. If they have a bad credit rating, it could impact yours too so keep your finances separate.

      If you split up, divorce or move out, close all joint financial products, and let all three credit reference agencies know. Otherwise, your ex’s financial dealings could still have an impact on your credit score!

      Close old accounts

      We’ve all got them cluttering up purses and bags, old store cards or credit cards we’ve stopped using, or just haven’t noticed there are redundant direct debits ticking along in the background. You may have forgotten about them but all of these things, if they are still active will be taken into account by lenders when they decide whether to lend to you. So close all accounts you don’t use or need any more.

      Moved house?

      Remember to update your address with any credit cards, mobile phone providers, etc when you move.

          Join the electoral roll

          This is the easiest step you can take to improve your chances of being accepted for credit, get on the electoral roll. Prospective lenders and credit reference agencies use this to check you are who you say you are and live where you say you live. If you move, always make sure your credit record shows correct address details and use that same address when making credit applications. Join the electoral roll via gov.uk.

          boost credit score

          jayk7Getty Images

          How to boost your credit rating:

          1.Pay like clockwork

          Avoid missing repayments or making them late (for anything from mortgage to utility bills) – otherwise they will stay on your credit record for up to six years. If, when you check your report, you find something on their that wasn’t your fault and can prove this, talk to your credit provider about getting the error removed.

          2. Pay off your debts

          Pay off more than the minimum repayment – this shows prospective lenders you are managing your debt well and taking it seriously. Don’t max out your card’s spending limit either – using more than 90% of a credit card’s limit can reduce your credit score.

          3. Get a credit card

          If you don’t have a credit card, it’s worth getting gone and here’s why. If you’re asking a lender for money and have no track record, it makes it harder for them to assess you. You can get card that’s designed to help you rebuild good credit. The rates on these cards are really high but as long as you repay the card in full each month you won’t be charged interest. This will build a good credit history and shows a responsible attitude to debt.

          4. Don’t apply for credit too often

          Every time a credit search is made by a lender, it leaves a ‘footprint’ on your file for a year. So, before you apply to borrow any money, do your research, check best buy credit card tables online. Too many credit searches in a short space of time looks a bit desperate and could make your application less attractive. If possible, find out if you are likely to be accepted before you buy by using an eligibility-checking service.

          ‘It will help your credit score if you let some of your credit accounts mature. For example, holding the same credit card for five years can add 20 points to your Experian Credit Score,’ says James Jones.

          Tip: If you are renting, check out schemes such as Rental Exchange and Credit Ladder to help you boost your credit score.

          Never pay for a credit repair company, if you need help with debt, go to a free debt agency such as National Debtline or Stepchange.org.

          If you’d like more great money reads, SIGN UP HERE for our fortnightly Financially Fabulous newsletter!

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      Credit Repair Companies

      National Classifieds | National Classifieds

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      Reader Advisory: The National Trade Association we belong to has purchased the below classifieds. Determining the value of their service or product is advised by this publication. In order to avoid misunderstandings, some advertisers do not offer employment but rather supply the readers with manuals, directories and other materials designed to help their clients establish mail order selling and other businesses at home. Under NO circumstance should you send any money in advance or give the client your checking, license ID, or credit card numbers. Also beware of ads that claim to guarantee loans regardless of credit and note that if a credit repair company does business only over the phone it is illegal to request any money before delivering its service. All funds are based in US dollars. Toll free numbers may or may not reach Canada.

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      Credit Repair Companies

      Tips to avoid being defrauded by credit repair companies – Latest News, Breaking News, Top News Headlines

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      In relation to the economic crises that have occurred in recent years, it is possible that your credit debts are increasing day by day, due to the use of credit cards, delays in paying mortgages, job losses, business closings , reduction of salaries among others. Reason why you could make the decision to go to a credit repair company thinking that they could support you with your credits. But before you could choose to request the advice of this type of companies, here are some tips to avoid being defrauded, according to what has been published by the National Commission for the Protection and Defense of Users of Financial Services (Condusef).

      Tips to avoid being defrauded by credit repair companies

      Although you could be anxious to pay your debts, you should be careful, because just as there are credit repairers that are known, there are others that only engage in fraud.

      1.- Stay alert

      There are no credit repairers that request cash or that you transfer it by deposit to a personal bank account. If you are presented with this type of situation, it is likely that they will try to carry out a fraud, so it is convenient that you could look for other options.

      Tips to avoid being defrauded by credit repair companies. Photo: My Pocket.

      2.- Do not sign any type of document without having read

      If you have in mind to sign a contract with the credit repair company, first read this document in detail and verify what the conditions and deadlines are, and check what penalties are applied in case of delay or abandonment of the program. If you are not 100% convinced, do not sign it.

      3.- Repair companies do not clean your credit history

      In the event that the credit repair company you go to tells you that it could clean up your credit history, it is probably not true, so your credit history will be negative and in the future it could be difficult for you to obtain a new credit. It is also important to mention that no repair company could erase you from the credit bureau, even if they ask for money, since no person or institution can carry out this procedure.

      4.- Look for valid options to negotiate your credit

      There are other organizations that you could go to to negotiate or settle your debts, such as your financial institution, where you could agree on a fixed payment plan or, failing that, restructure the credit and also you could not be presented with fraudulent situations, which could lead to affect your personal finances.

      It should be mentioned that credit repairers are companies that perform the function of intermediaries between the debtor and the financial institution to which it could be owed and their purpose is to offer the person who has the debt, a kind of negotiation with the banking institution through options for credit settlement. It also tries to reduce the amount through discounts and modify the credit history in the credit bureau.

      According to information published by the Condusef, there is currently no legal framework that regulates the operations of credit repair companies, which means that these companies operate independently and independently, for this reason some people may go with repair companies who are not accredited, existing the probability that they are victims of fraud, and in the event that this happens, the Condusef does not have the faculties to offer them support.

      More content about loans and personal finances, in our Credits section.



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      Credit Repair Companies

      7 Ways to Identify a Credit Repair Scam

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      Unfortunately, there are people out there always trying to take advantage of anyone that they can. Whether it is a spam call, phishing email, or even a guy on the street trying to take your money, these scammers are everywhere. Credit repair scams are predicated on taking advantage of already desperate people. People who need their credit fixed in order to get a car or home loan will often look for anyone that can help. While there are a lot of legitimate places that can help, there are also hacks that will take your hard-earned money and not do a thing to help you out. We want to help you avoid these scams, so here are 7 ways to identify and avoid a credit repair scam.

      1. Look at the documents you are given

      If you are entering into a contract with a credit repair company and they do not give you a document called “Consumer Credit File Rights Under State and Federal Law,” then they are breaking the law. They may not be scamming you, but they are knowingly withholding the information that you have the legal right to carry out any actions on your own to repair your credit that they are also going to do. That is a red flag.

      2. Read through the contract

      Check to see if there is anything in the contract that stands out as unusual and feel free to ask them, search the internet, etc. about it. In addition, make sure how much you are paying and what actions they will perform on your behalf are spelled out in great detail in the contract. You want to be sure to have a legally binding document that ensures that you are actually getting what you pay for. In addition, make sure the contract is very specific and includes your name and the name of the company you are working with. Finally, ask to see if there is a clause that allows you at least 3 days to decide to cancel.

      3. Request an unsigned copy beforehand

      You should not have to sign the contract to review it first, so before you even decide to sign it, make sure that you have a copy that you can read through and keep. Then check for the information we have listed in the point above.

      4. Look out for the fees

      Credit repair agencies are not allowed to charge you any upfront fees by law. Some companies do because they are not aware of this law, but it is still a red flag that you should pay attention to. This combined with not getting a contract may be a very strong sign that you are about to get scammed. Usually, scammers will try to take your money and run with as little proof as possible, which is why upfront fees can be a sign that there is something amiss.

      5. The company promises too much

      We all want credit repair strategies to work, but there are just some things that credit repair agencies just cannot fix due to their nature. One of these is legitimate debt where the lender has plenty of evidence that the debt is valid. If a company promises to get you out of legitimate debts, they are either scamming you are doing something shady and illegal to get you results. Either way, if a company promises that you will see any type of results or score change, then it is a good idea to avoid them because you can be almost certain that they are breaking the law one way or another.

      6. They ask you to create a new identity

      As mentioned in the last point, some companies try to do illegal things in order to get you the result that you want. One of these is trying to claim identity theft and to get you to register for a new SSN or EIN. While these companies may not be scams, the results they get will be predicated on major felonies and should definitely be avoided like the plague. Do not give these companies your business and make sure to report them.

      7. They ask you to waive your rights

      If you are given a document to waive any of your rights, that is a major red flag. Credit repair does not require you to waive any of your rights. Luckily most of them, such as your rights under the CORA, cannot actually be waived, regardless of anything you sign. Usually, companies that engage in these practices will try to take your money and then pressure you and tell you that you have no recourse in getting your money back and they will never deliver any services.

      Can you trust any credit repair companies?

      Absolutely! While there are people in this world always trying to take advantage of you, there are also legitimate businesses that care about you as a person and as a customer. These companies will be transparent about their services, fees, and your rights throughout the entire process and will not try to pressure you with any aggressive sales tactics. The best agencies for credit repair will not engage in any of the red flags covered in this article, so if you do not see anything on this list in an agency that you are contracting, you can likely rest easy.

      If you are interested in finding legitimate credit repair services, we recommend the Best Credit Repair Companies.

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