You may ask yourself, 'why should I bother?' when it comes to fixing your credit score, but given that having a poor rating could stand in the way of you getting a mortgage, credit card or even an overdraft, it doesn't take a genius to work out why it's so important.
Thankfully, fixing your credit score isn't too difficult and providing you're patient, organised and well-disciplined, you could see your rating creep towards the greener end of the spectrum in a matter of months. All it takes is a few simple steps.
Check it out
Firstly, it's important to know what your credit score actually is before you decide to take action. Websites such as Experian are great for doing this as they allow users to take advantage of a free 30 day trial. What this means is you can access your credit report, for free, in exchange for a few details such as an email address.
The site may ask for your credit card details, but as long as you remember to cancel your account as soon as you've found out the information you need, you won't be charged a penny.
Not everyone likes borrowing money, but the only thing worse than being short of cash is being turned down credit. If you find this happening to you, there are a few things you can do in order to rectify the situation.
Firstly, stop applying for credit. It may sound a little backwards, especially if you're in desperate need of some emergency cash, but regularly applying for credit can have a negative impact on your overall credit score. Every time you apply for credit, it's recorded on your credit rating and lenders will be reluctant to accept your application if it's littered with rejected applications.
Getting your name on the electoral register may help to speed things along too. This is because being registered allows lenders to check your name and address – which in turn helps them to defend against issues such as fraud.
If, on the off chance that there's a mistake on your credit report, you can contact the credit reference agency and challenge any outstanding issues that may be affecting your ability to borrow.
Long term fixes
Having a credit card or overdraft application turned down is one thing, but being rejected for something much bigger, like a mortgage or car loan, can impact on your longer term life goals in a really negative way. To guard against this happening to you, here are just a few things you might want to consider.
Paying your bills on time is a sure-fire way to keep your credit score looking as healthy as possible. Late payments can lead to all sorts of issues, including court summons and CCJs – just two things that will really hamper your chances of securing a decent mortgage or long term loan.
Another great way to maintain a healthy credit score is to start slow and build your score steadily, rather than going all in with a huge loan that takes years to pay back. Using a credit card sparingly – to pay for regular bills or a bi-monthly treat, for example – over a long period of time will slowly see your credit score move from 'average', to 'good', which is just where you need it if you're applying for a significant amount later down the line.
Getting into money trouble can often stand in the way of you getting on with your life. Luckily, our blog offers plenty of advice on issues such as debt and money management, as well as a bunch of awesome money-saving tips to boot – which should help to keep you out of any trouble in the future!