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Published on : August 13, 2018 16:45

Credit Scores

How to Build and Protect Your Credit Score

When looking to take out a mortgage or other large financial commitment, having a good credit history is imperative.

A credit report includes details of your credit history including any credit you’ve applied for (like loans, credit cards, and overdrafts), credit you’ve been given and how you’ve managed the repayments. Also included are your address details (current and previous), public records such as county court judgments and financial associates (someone who is financially linked to you eg. a joint mortgage or bank account).

Having a poor credit rating will hinder your chances of attaining a mortgage, meaning there are long-term financial implications for missing even the smallest payment.

There are a number of quick and easy things you can do in order to improve and maintain your credit score:

Get On the Electoral Register

Lenders use the Electoral Register for verification purposes in order to prevent Identity Fraud. You can register by clicking here.

Stability is Golden

Lenders are favourable to applicants with a stable lifestyle, as they feel they are better able to predict whether they will be paid back. Having a long-term address, employer and bank account will all count in your favour, as does being able to provide a landline telephone number.

Lenders Love Homeowners

Similar to the last point, lenders are preferential to homeowners rather than renters, as owning a property indicates stability.

Space Out Applications

Having numerous credit checks conducted in a short space of time can have a negative effect. Each search leaves a “footprint” on your credit file and could scare a lender if they think you could be desperate or stretching yourself financially. If a lender rejects your application following a credit check, do not keep applying with other companies for similar products as the black marks will build up.Space out applying for financial commitments like car insurance, mobile phone contracts, loans and mortgages too.

When comparing mortgages, using an Independent Financial Advisor rather than going from lender to lender can be hugely advantageous to your credit score.

Stay Away From Payday Loans

Credit referencing agencies have begun highlighting payday loans in clients’ credit files, with many lenders counting them against an application or even declining it automatically – even if the loan is paid back on time.

Never Miss a Payment

Always ensure there is funding in place to pay an upcoming debit. If you know you will be unable to make a payment, get in touch with your lender to see if alternative arrangements can be made. It is still likely to affect your credit rating but will have a much smaller impact than a CCJ.

Build a Credit History

Lenders look for predictability so they can weigh up whether they believe a client can and will pay them back. If you do not have a credit history, then they are not able to do this and may be more wary about granting an application.

Having financial commitments such as a credit card, mobile phone contract or rental agreement and abiding by them will help build a good credit history.

Be Careful When Linking Finances

Linking your finances with another person can affect your credit score if theirs is poor.

Opening joint bank accounts or entering into a joint mortgage can mean that you are co-scored by some lenders, and your lending power compromised by the other party’s credit issues. Try and keep your finances as separate as possible.

Set Up Direct Debits

To reduce the chances of forgetting to pay bills and taxes on time, most companies now offer the option to pay by direct debit, which will automatically take the money from your account. Many companies will also allow you to choose the date of your debt, so opting for a few days after payday will ensure there is sufficient money left to pay.

Deal With Existing Issues

If you have unpaid credits or CCJs on your credit file, ensure that these are paid as soon as possible. Once paid, they will be marked as settled which may improve your chances on getting an application accepted.

You can check your credit report using a reputable company like Experian or Equifax. If there is something inaccurate in the report, you can appeal to have it removed or, less desirably, add a “Notice of Correction” to the point in question which explains the circumstances under which the default was created.

Cancel Unused Accounts

Lenders are adverse to applicants with large amounts of credit available to them, so be sure to cancel any unused credit cards or bank accounts.

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