If you’re looking for simple and effective ways to improve your credit score, you’ve come to the right place. A good credit score is important to have, but it’s even more important to understand how to improve it.

Discover ways to build and protect your credit score with our top 10 tips.

CREDIT REPAYMENT

When you pay your bills on time and in full, it suggests good financial management and can help you establish and maintain a good credit score. However, if you fail to pay your bills on time, you run the risk of damaging your credit score suggesting you struggle to manage your finances.

A late payment cannot be reported and affect your credit score until it is at least 30 days overdue. An overlooked bill won’t hurt your credit as long as you pay before 30 days.

CREDIT UTILISATION

Your credit utilisation rate is the ratio between how much credit you are using in comparison to how much credit you have available. If a lender sees that you’re only using a small amount of your credit, they will be more likely to offer you additional credit.

However, if you use most of your available credit, lenders may think that you are already heavily relying on it and might be reluctant to lend you more.

MISTAKES ON CREDIT REPORTS

If your credit score is lower than expected, the first thing you should do is check for errors on your credit reports. Mistakes on reports can harm your credit. If you find such a mistake, fixing it will actually improve your score.

The Government gives you access to your credit reports from three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. You can review your credit report via Annual Credit Report. Credit reports which had been limited to once a year, are now available weekly until 20th April 2022, to help consumers manage their finances.

REGISTER TO VOTE

If you’re not on the electoral roll, you may find it difficult to be granted credit. The electoral roll verifies your identity and is used to confirm that you live at the address given in your application.

You can register for the electoral roll at GOV.UK.

If you are not registered to vote in the UK, use your utility bills, driving licence etc. to confirm identity. Send this as proof of residency to Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.

SOFT SEARCH CREDIT CHECK

A ‘soft search’ is a credit search that doesn’t affect your credit score or future credit applications you apply for. Only you can see if a soft search has been carried out on your account, lenders won’t.

Companies will perform a soft search to determine how successful your credit application will be without carrying out a full credit history check.

STAY WITHIN YOUR CREDIT LIMIT

If you regularly reach or go over your credit limit, it may signal to lenders you have problems with your credit and struggle to manage your finances. It can lead to debts, impact your credit score negatively and could have an effect on future applications.

The higher your credit utilisation, the closer you are to reaching your credit card limit. The lower your credit utilisation, the further your balances are from your credit limit resulting in fewer potential issues and a better credit score.

AVOID MULTIPLE APPLICATIONS

You should be aware of the number of applications you submit when applying for credit cards. If you reapply for credit too quickly after being rejected, it could negatively impact your credit score as it will indicate to lenders you are desperate for financial stability.

Therefore, it’s advised to spread out credit applications over time and don’t apply too often.

PAY MORE THAN THE MINIMUM

When you make only the minimum payment on your credit card bill, it can take longer to pay off your balance completely. If you would like to pay off your balance quickly, consider paying more than the minimum subject payment.

Paying your balances sooner will improve your overall credit rating, which can help you gain access to lower interest rates and higher credit limits.

CUT FINANCIAL TIES

If you share finances with someone, they’ll be recorded on your credit report as your ‘financial associate’.

‘Financial associate’ means having combined finances such as joint insurance or rental payments. In this case, lenders can view both customers’ credit history and if their credit score is poor, it can essentially affect your ability to gain credit.

Therefore, if your associate has a poor credit history, keep your finances separate, and you should maintain a good credit score.

You can see who your financial associate is by checking the ‘financial associations’ section of your Experian Credit Report.

BACKGROUND CHECK PAST ADDRESSES

If you have bank accounts or mobile phone contracts that you haven’t used for a long time, check the address associated with them is still correct. If you are at a different address than your account is registered to and the account is still open, this will cause problems with background checks when it comes to applying for your credit card.

Checking the details on your credit report and supporting records whether past or present is important to ensure your score is as accurate as possible.

WHY SHOULD YOU CARE?

Achieving a positive credit history is so important, but if you take the right action and use the right methods; you will be on track to maintaining a healthy credit score.

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