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How to improve your credit score

Whether you're looking to get a mortgage, loan or credit card, a good credit score could increase your chances of being accepted, as well as getting a lower interest rate.

Here are some tips to make sure you’re moving in the right direction.

Register to vote

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 need to confirm these details to validate who you are before offering credit. So, if you're not registered, it could cause a delay, or result in your application being turned down.

Prove your creditworthiness

If you haven’t borrowed money before, it’s difficult for a bank to judge how likely you are to meet your repayments. This impacts your credit score. 

Taking a small amount of credit can help you borrow larger amounts in the future – as long as you manage it well. An arranged overdraft, or credit building credit card with a low limit, may be easier to get accepted for than a credit card or personal loan.

Pay on time and stay within your limits

Lenders want to know they can rely on you to make regular repayments. A missed payment is likely to negatively impact 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.

And spending near, or over, your credit limit every month is going to give the impression you're struggling to manage your finances. So, try to keep within your limits.

Avoid multiple applications

Too many applications could indicate to lenders you're struggling for money. If you just want to compare rates, ask your lender to do a 'quotation search' instead of a 'credit application search'. This means it won’t show up on your credit profile.

Explore more: Hard vs soft credit checks: what's the difference?

Check there are no mistakes

Check your credit report to make sure there are no mistakes and any amounts showing as owed on your accounts are correct. 

You can get a copy of your credit report from companies such as: 

  • TransUnion

  • Experian

  • Equifax