What are the Best Ways to Build up my Credit Score ?
A credit score is a number or rating which represents how good or bad a credit risk a lender believes you are. Usually the higher your number, the better your chance of obtaining credit. The credit score will determine:
- Whether the lender is able to loan you a mortgage, loans or credit cards,
- How much money you will borrow, and,
- What interest rate you will be paying
Your credit score will largely be dependent on your financial history, which is a summary of:
- How well or poorly you have handled your loans, and
- How much money you have spent in the past and now
You may need to build one before you start saving money or having a mortgage. That is particularly important if you’ve come from another country to the UK
What is a Good Credit Score ?
A number of borrowers have their own credit rating criteria. And, if you have a decent record from one of the big credit rating services, it’s more likely that you should get a good credit score from your investor. A decent credit score, with:
- TransUnion means 4 out of 5
- Equifax requires more than 420 out of 700
- Experian scores more than 880 out of 999
Yet remember: your credit score doesn’t mean you’re going to be automatically given a loan or receive the lowest interest rates. That is because the decision by an investor is not based on performance alone.
What Information is in a Credit Report?
Every organisation has different information about you, so it’s worth looking at all three for a more detailed representation. Generally, the records will include:
- name, address, and date of birth
- any search features on the file, such as credit applications
- financial ties to certain individuals – for example, a shared loan or bank account
- how much money you owe to lenders
- late/missed payments or defaults
- Whether you have entered an IVA (Individual Voluntary Arrangement) or have been declared bankrupt
- any county court judgments (CCJs) against you not paid in full within a month of getting the notice.
- Whether you are on the electoral register.at your existing address
This won’t provide the following information:
- parking or commuting fines
- your wages
- student debt
- medical records
- criminal record
- council tax arrears
However, when applying for a loan or contract, you can be asked for this detail which can then be used to evaluate you alongside your credit score.
How is my Score Calculated ?
Usually, borrowers look at your credit records, the details on your verification form and any prior interactions they have had with you. The credit history will show how much interest you’ve received in the past, and how you’ve made the payments on time. For measuring your credit score, borrowers feed this knowledge into a sophisticated algorithm. The program usually works best for those with a proven credit background, but creating a decent credit score can be difficult particularly for young people who have no record of previous borrowing. It is because the borrowers cannot determine how they will act in the future.
How do I Check my Credit Score?
Across the UK, there are three main credit rating agencies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
You can submit full credit file information for free, or only get your ratings online, which is also free. The main distinction between the full credit file and online formats is that the versions of the credit sheet require you to get a physical copy delivered to your address, and the other version is only available electronically. Though each charge for using their services, free access is possible through their affiliate sites.
How do I get my Credit Score Improved ?
The company determines your credit score as you apply for a loan and decides whether to lend to you. Typically that is based on:
- Your loan application details
- Records on your credit report
- Information already kept on you, if you were a client previously
Each company may use a different way to measure your credit score, depending on what information they had access to and their lending requirements.
Credit Rating Agencies (CRAs) such as Experian also measure their own version of the credit score. By looking at your free Experian credit score you can get an idea of how businesses could view you.
A higher credit score means companies view you as a lesser risk, and you’re more likely to have loans accepted. That is because a good score means that you have a history of sensibly handling your accounts and making prompt repayments. The benefits of raising your score can include :
- Lower interest rates – Because banks assume you’re a lower risk, they will give you lower interest rates on loans and credit cards which will make borrowing easier.
- Higher credit limits – You will have a greater chance of getting larger sums if you increase your ranking. It could help you achieve targets quicker, such as purchasing a new car or making changes to your house.
- Exposure to further deals – If you’re applying for a loan, credit card or mortgage, a higher credit score means you’ll have greater odds of acceptance – and you can pick from a broader variety of credit options and suppliers.
It depends on a variety of factors and it will not happen immediately. It can take up to three months, at least, to see significant changes to your ranking.
What is a Bad Credit Score ?
A poor credit score means you may find it less easy to earn credit. That’s because it is a sign of poor financial conduct for borrowers and includes things like late fees, or entirely skipped repays. Each of the three Credit Rating Agencies (CRAS) has a separate ranking that they view as a bad credit score:
0 to 560 is considered very low and 561 to 720 low
Borrowers often have their own scoring scale too. To decide if you have bad credit, they add their own special algorithms to your credit file info. Many algorithm specifics are kept a secret. A poor credit score is not forever, however, as you can reverse it
How Long Does it Take for my Credit Score to Improve ?
Credit history is usually built up gradually over time as you increase the amount of on-time payments that you make. The more a bill goes unpaid, the more likely the credit score will be affected. Keep your credit score closely tracked to help identify problems. Many negative markings on your file will remain for at least six years. All are erased from the account after that period including missing checks, defaults, bankruptcy, and CCJs.
How can I improve my Credit Score ?
The good news is there are many ways you can boost your ranking, whether you are just starting out or have a long credit history.
Check your credit files
Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion create your credit files using a variety of sources. It includes the election register, court records, past applications for credit, and banks, utilities, and other organisations’ details on how you paid your bills on time. You are then assigned a score based on their own custom algorithms, implying that all three of you are likely to have a different credit score.
Errors do occur and some people do find errors in their records that could prevent them from getting credit. Once you apply for any loan or financial product, make sure that the information that each company has in your file is correct. These three agencies are obligated to give you a legislative report free of charge as often as once a month. It will display your credit score assigned to an organisation and provide you with an idea of the condition in which your file is. When you want absolute, uninterrupted access to your file, you might have to pay a monthly fee to the agencies.
Sign up for the poll roll
It is important. When you’re not on the list, borrowers will find it far more difficult to prove your identity, which will hurt your credit chances. You can subscribe online at any time. (https:/www.gov.uk/register-to-vote)
Cancel old cards
It might be wise to close the accounts if you have old credit or store credit cards with available credit that you don’t need. Just as having no credit will hurt your ratings, too much can be harmful as well.
Limit your requests
Don’t apply for credit too often, particularly if you’re denied. The applications create a trace on your file – too much and lenders may be worried about it.
Avoid payday loans
These loans are also regarded by borrowers as a sign of financial distress and some refuse someone on their register with a payday loan, even though they paid it out in full.
Get a credit building card
If you have a bad credit history or no credit history, you may want to use a credit building card to boost your score. Such cards are given to applicants who may not normally qualify for a regular credit card. These come with a very high interest rate but you won’t be paying any interest as long as you pay off the balance in full each month. You can prove you are a responsible borrower by regularly spending only a small sum on one of these cards, and reliably repaying the debt on schedule.
Check the fraud database
If you are still being denied by lenders, please verify that you are not listed on the National Hunter database, which works to avoid fraud. This is owned by banks and building societies and is used to flag applications that may be fraudulent. You’ll find it nearly impossible to obtain credit if your information has been added to the database.
Creating your Credit Score from Scratch
When you don’t have a credit history, it may seem overwhelming to create a large credit score from scratch. But while it takes some time and patience, if you know how to go about it, it’s not too difficult.
Here’s how you can build a great credit score, even though you start right from scratch.
Step 1: Open a UK bank account
If you don’t already have one, opening a UK bank account improves your credit report in three ways: a long-held bank account will make you look more secure for borrowers because it demonstrates that you have a strong ongoing relationship with your bank, enabling borrowers to check your residency. If you live with your parents or have just come to the UK, it may be a struggle to get proof of address.
Step 2: Register to vote
Being on the electoral roll is useful for your credit score in two ways:
It helps borrowers to confirm your identity. This helps eliminate fraud and makes you appear less risky.
It shows that you have a permanent address, demonstrating security and indicating that you are more likely to pay off your debts.
Of course, you can only get on the electoral roll if you are eligible to vote in the UK.
Even if not, don’t worry. By sending the following things to Experian, Equifax, and CallCredit, you can get a similar benefit:
- a document to prove your identity
- a document to prove your address.
You may also ask them to add a note to your credit file confirming your identity has been confirmed.
Step 3: Start building a strong credit history
When you do not have a credit history it is difficult to get credit. Yet if you’ve never had loans, you cannot have a loan background. It is a little bit of a case of the chicken and the egg.
What can you do instead? Below are some ideas:
Consider seeking a small overdraft facility from your bank.
An overdraft helps you to borrow money from your bank account. Because it is a credit form it appears on your credit sheet. Many current accounts feature a simple automatic overdraft facility, so if yours has one, it is worth trying. If not, try to clarify your situation to your bank, and ask them what would be your chances of being accepted if you were to apply.
You don’t have to use the overdraft yourself. It’s typically best not to, in reality, because overdrafts prove to be costly because of the interest you pay. The idea is to add more detail to your credit report to create your credit history.
Place the electricity, internet, and other household bills under your name
Increasingly, businesses including electricity and cable providers are exchanging data with credit rating agencies. If you don’t have a credit history, you can start building your score by placing those bills in your name.
Check that your name is written correctly, and always write your address in the same style for better performance. Just something as simple as a misspelt street name could result in an inaccurate report.
Whenever possible, pay by direct debit
If you have bills in your name it is vital that you always pay them in full and on time. The easiest way to do this is by setting up direct debits. This means you do not miss a bill because the money immediately exits your account.
You would of course still have to have enough in your account to cover what you owe. Otherwise, the payments are not going to go through. If this happens regularly, then your score may be impaired.
Find a credit-building tool that doesn’t require credit checking
There are products out there aimed at helping you develop your credit history that doesn’t require credit checking. Cashplus and iCount, for example, provide prepaid cards with an option to create credit. This credit builder option is practically a loan you are paying back in monthly instalments that builds your credit history. Such cards typically have a monthly fee though.
There’s also a program called Loqbox that lets you make monthly savings deposits (from £20) that count as loan repayments, building your credit history. You will get your money back at any time if you change your mind.
Always be sure to thoroughly consider whether those choices are right for you. With Loqbox you’ll need to pay at least £20 a month (but you get the money back), and they typically charge a monthly fee with prepaid cards with a credit-builder option.
Step 4: Apply for a credit builder card
It is time to apply for your first credit card – a credit builder card – after you have handled your finances responsibly and paid your bills on time for some time. After about six months, you should be ready for this move.
Credit Builder Cards are primarily designed for those with little to no credit history. They typically have very high interest rates (about 30% or more) and rarely have any advantages.
They are however an effective means of raising your credit score. And if you work carefully with them, the provider can increase the credit limit over time and lower your interest rate.
Credit cards impact your credit score, so be careful. Prior to applying, use an eligibility checker. The eligibility checker from ClearScore lets you assess your chances of being admitted without affecting your credit report and ratings.
Make daily, small shopping purchases. Never using more than 50% of your total credit limit is a good rule of thumb. It indicates that you can handle the balance safely through your credit card provider.
Please pay the balance of your statement in full, on time. You can only pay the ‘free charge’ portion of your balance without affecting your credit score. The remainder will draw interest. Builder Credit Cards have high interest rates and, if you’re not careful, then your debt will spiral out of control quickly.
Step 5: Apply for a better credit card
You have handled your bank account professionally, paid all of your bills on time each month and used a credit builder card to build up your credit score. Now, it’s time to get to reap some of the rewards from your hard work.
You will have a greater chance of qualifying for a better credit card once you have built up your credit score to a certain amount. Aside from a lower interest rate and a higher credit cap, a new credit card may also give you the following:
- an interest-free introductory period
Of course, you will need to proceed with caution, because otherwise, you could do more harm than good. Specifically, you should:
- test your eligibility before applying using the ClearScore eligibility checker.
- Avoid making several applications in a short time, because this could have a negative impact on the credit score you’ve been working so hard to create.
- Seek not to stretch your credit limit by more than 50% and still pay what you owe on time.
Track your Credit Report and Score Periodically
It takes time to create a great credit score. The more you use credit responsibly and pay on time, the higher your score. It is so direct.
Your credit report will be reviewed periodically, too. You can, therefore, remain on top of your score and address any problems before they can have a detrimental impact.
Depending on the cumulative credit history, having so many credit cards with either heavy balances or vast sums of credit available will negatively affect risk ratings
If you have cosigned a loan, have a joint credit account, or have approved the use of another person’s credit, and they appear on your credit report, it can impact a score. It is critical that joint account holders or approved users recognise that the other joint account holder or key account holder is influenced by their credit conduct. A bank card that is kept exclusively on behalf of your partner, your child or any other member of the family cannot influence your credit score. However, any debt accumulated after marriage in community-property systems is deemed to be a collective liability, regardless of whether the loan is shared or on behalf of a particular partner.
Totally. You take full liability for the loan by cosigning if the other party does not pay as expected. A cosigned account will appear on your credit history as well as on that of the other party. Both credit and payment card reports showing in your credit report may have an effect on credit scores.
Paying on time is usually the most important single factor in a strong credit score. Getting late on any payment, for any amount of time is a potential sign of eventual loan default and is almost always regarded negatively by borrowers. Any late fees will remain up to seven years on your credit sheet.
Banks, credit card agencies, vehicle dealers, department shops and other borrowers determine how you get the loan. Many businesses that offer credit or loans use credit ratings to easily outline the financial history of a borrower, avoiding the need to manually check the credit record of a customer and making a smarter, faster judgment. Although other different criteria are used to assess whether or not you are earning the credit you have applied for such as revenue from a borrower or the value of the loan, a credit score is a leading measure of one’s general creditworthiness. Credit rating companies will not make recommendations about lending.
Not always. Many mortgage lenders may look at reports from all three credit reporting agencies and measured credit scores using details from each, but other borrowers may use reports and scores from two or only one of the credit reporting agencies.