Your credit rating is calculated by a credit reference agency. The agency will carry out a credit rating check by compiling information based on a variety of sources, such as the electoral role, financial data and court records. This information is sold onto lenders who will use it to decide whether to lend money or what deals to make available to the customer.
While some people are given bad credit ratings due to defaults on payments or other dubious financial activity, other people cannot obtain a good credit rating despite a consistently reliable financial history. Reasons for this can include not having borrowed money before, giving a lack of evidence to show reliability, not being on the electoral role and having moved house often.
If you have been given a bad credit rating and want to improve it, you can check your own credit report and ask for any mistakes to be amended. If there are no mistakes but you are still registering a bad credit rating, you can start off with these three steps and you’ll soon be on the road to a more favourable credit rating check.
1) Register to vote
If you are not on the electoral role, credit reference agencies may not be able to find you. Without being able to measure your credit rating, financial institutions will be reluctant to lend and you may have trouble getting the mortgage, loan or bank account you’re after. If you register to vote, you will then be on the electoral role. This means that the agencies can conduct a credit rating check on you.
2) Cancel unused credit cards
While it is good to have a credit card as long as you pay off the outstanding balance in full each month, having too many credit cards at once can be bad for your credit rating. Cut up and throw out any credit cards you don’t use as closing these accounts, along with any unused bank accounts, can have a positive effect on your credit rating. Once you’ve done this, contact a credit rating agency and tell them you have closed the account to make sure it has been removed from your file.
3) Pay your bills on time
This rule applies, as you would expect, to credit card payments and loan payments, but also to any other bills. It is good to have utility bills in your name as this shows you have a fixed address, which is good news for your credit rating. However, once these are in place, it is essential to pay all bills on time. Phone, gas and electricity bills, for example, are forms of credit so not paying these on time will show up when it comes to a credit rating check.
It can be helpful to use direct debits to ensure the payments arrive in time, this can also save money on the bills themselves. If you choose this option, always make sure there is money available in your account to pay the direct debits on the designated dates.
Other important measures to take include having a landline, as this shows you’re secure and at a fixed address, and making sure you fill in your details correctly on any application form which is related to getting a credit rating related loan, mortgage or account.
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