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Pete Mugleston

Author: Pete Mugleston - Mortgage Advisor, MD

Updated: July 15, 2022

From getting yourself on the electoral register to avoiding too many credit applications, there are simple ways out there to boost your credit score.

So what are the benefits of improving your credit score?

1

You are more likely to be approved for credit, such as a mortgage, finance on a car or even phone contracts.

2

Offered a lower interest rate with a better credit score, which can make borrowing much cheaper.

3

Offered a higher limit on credit, meaning you can achieve goals faster for things such as home improvements.

Factors that will harm your score include:

  1. Going over your credit limit
  2. Applying for credit too often, in a short space of time
  3. History of missed or late payments
  4. Not being on the electoral register
  5. Bankruptcy, home repossession or CCJs
  6. Joint accounts with someone with a poor credit report
  7. Frequently withdrawing cash using your credit card
  8. Inaccurate information

We want you to have the best credit score possible, so that’s why we have provided the below guide on ways to improve your credit score or even keep it at a good level. 

Get on the electoral roll
Make sure you’re on the electoral register as lenders will use this to check your name, address and where you’ve lived before. Lenders will use this information to check your identity and ultimately makes you look more reliable.

Use a credit card little and often
A great way to grow your score is to use a credit card regularly and responsibly. Spending small amounts each months on a bill or two and paying that off will show lenders that you are trustworthy enough to be able to repay your loans. Also try not to go above 30% of your credit limit, some lenders like to see that you can manage your credit sensibly and not go too close to the limit.

Fix possible mistakes on your report
Check your credit report to make sure there are no mistakes and any amounts showing as owed on your accounts are correct. If this information isn’t accurate (e.g. an account appears as ‘open’ when it is ‘closed’), then your credit score won’t be either. By checking your credit report regularly this allows you to spot and fix any mistakes which can help improve your score.

Be aware of joint accounts
If you apply for a joint credit account with someone such as a bank account, joint loan or mortgage then your credit history will be linked to theirs. You will need to ask the other joint account holder to also check their credit report regularly so that one lower score isn’t bringing down the other.

Use an eligibility checker
These are a good tool to use to avoid getting rejected for credit before you apply. A ‘soft search’ will only be conducted meaning lenders can see some information about your credit history, but the check won’t affect your credit score. Only you can see if a soft search has been carried out on your account.

Get your name on some bills if it isn’t already
Any bills such as energy bills or a phone contract count as a form of credit. If these are paid on time it’s a great way to show lenders you can pay money owed reliably.

Pay on time and stay within your limits
Lenders want to know if you can make regular payments to pay off any money owed. A missed payment of any sort, no matter how little is likely to have a negative impact on your credit score. Your payment history in the last 12 months will be most important to lenders. If you’ve missed payments in the past, but have since become more reliable, your credit score might not be affected as much as you think.

Use handy tools before applying for credit
There are useful tools out there you can use to avoid getting rejected for credit before applying. One of these is a tool that can boost your credit score for you. This will be useful if you already know your credit score is low and need it boosting sooner rather than later.

Another tool is one that allows you to check your credit report before a mortgage provider does. This will give you a great indicator as to where you stand before looking to apply for your mortgage. If you find your credit report isn’t quite there yet, you then know you can boost it before applying for a mortgage.

 

How long does it take to improve your credit score?

Getting your score up can take some time, so if you are doing the right things keep on track and be patient. It can take several weeks for updated information to appear on your credit report, and a few months before any new accounts start to help build your credit score.

It won’t happen overnight, but managing your money more effectively can make a big difference to your credit score and overall financial health. This will help you if, or when, you’re ready to apply for a mortgage, remortgage or other general house related finances.

FCA disclaimer

*Based on our research, the content contained in this article is accurate as of the most recent time of writing. Lender criteria and policies change regularly so speak to one of the advisors we work with to confirm the most accurate up to date information. The information on the site is not tailored advice to each individual reader, and as such does not constitute financial advice. All advisors working with us are fully qualified to provide mortgage advice and work only for firms who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. They will offer any advice specific to you and your needs.

Some types of buy to let mortgages are not regulated by the FCA. Think carefully before securing other debts against your home. As a mortgage is secured against your home, it may be repossessed if you do not keep up with repayments on your mortgage. Equity released from your home will also be secured against it.

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