Even with the financial strains of the COVID-19 pandemic, now is as good as any time to get your finances in order. But having a bad credit score can affect your ability to do a lot of key things in life – so how can you improve your credit score?
Why is my credit score important?
Bolstering your credit score is important because it indicates how a typical lender would see you – it is a record of how responsibly you have managed your finances.
Your score is a three digit number between 0 and 999, and is calculated by your financial history.
It’s super important to have a good credit score for things like mortgages, loans and credit cards.
Space out credit applications
Pete Mugleston, MD and Money Expert at onlinemoneyadvisor.co.uk told Express.co.uk: “Making several applications for credit in a short space of time can put a serious dent in your score, making lenders think that you’re desperate for credit and therefore a risk.
“This therefore lessens the chance of getting accepted for credit and, in turn, lowers your credit score.
“The best method is to apply for one product at a time using online eligibility tools to see which deal you’re more likely to be accepted for.
“If you then need to make another application, try and wait a few months.”
Get rid of unused credit cards
Even though you might think you could need them in the future, holding on to credit cards could actually negatively impact your credit score if you are not going to use them.
The Mortgage Advice Bureau advises: “Holding on to credit cards you no longer use not only poses a fraud threat but can also be misleading as to how much available credit you have, so make sure you cancel any accounts you don’t use and cut up the card before throwing it away.”
Make sure you don’t have too many accounts, warned
Tom Martin, Money Expert at savings app Chip.
He said: “If you’ve got loads of old credit cards, or store credit accounts you’ve forgotten about, ditch them.
“Having lots of unused credit both makes you look like you’re a potential fraudster, and can scare off new lenders (who’ll ask ‘why do they need more credit? They’ve got loads already!’).”
Tax warning: Parents & grandparents told they could risk HMRC bill [REPORT]
Billionaire Warren Buffett’s personal investment tip [INSIGHT]
10 money management books to help you take control of your finances [EXPLAINER]
Make sure you don’t have too many accounts
Paul Stringer, Director of the Norton Finance Group, advised that having too many bank accounts, in particular credit accounts, can have an adverse effect on your score.
“Whilst opening new credit accounts can have a positive impact on your credit score, too many can be seen as a negative by lenders, especially if they are payday loans.
“Keeping up to date with payments on new accounts will prove to lenders that you are creditworthy.”
Fix mistakes in your report
Justin Basini, CEO and co-founder of ClearScore, advises: “Your credit score is based on the information held in your credit report.
“If this information isn’t accurate (e.g. an account appearing as ‘open’ when it is ‘closed’) then your credit score won’t be either.
“This could mean your score is lower than it should be.
“By checking your credit report regularly, you can spot (and fix) any mistakes, which can help boost your credit score.”