Is your credit report holding you back? Give it a spring clean and improve your financial health with these top tips.
Got a non-existent credit history gathering dust? Or a credit score that’s in a bit of a mess? These tips can help you turn things around and improve your credit.
1. Are you on the electoral roll?
You can start to tidy up your credit report by signing up to vote. Lenders will see this on your report and use the information to confirm your identity and address.
It doesn’t matter whether you vote or not – lenders just like to see your name on the electoral roll as it proves you’re not telling porkies on your application. Which is a big tick!
2. Trim down your debts
Racking up debt on a few credit cards? Having large amounts of debt could make your credit report look a little messy.
Any debt you carry – big or small – will appear on your credit report. But if you’re borrowing too much, potential lenders might worry you’re relying on the credit to get by. And that could mean they’ll decide against lending to you, as you might struggle to keep up with more debt on top of your existing repayments.
Trimming down your credit card debt or paying off a loan will show lenders you’re not depending on credit. A general rule of thumb is to stick to spending around 30% or less of your total available limit.
3. Wipe away old connections
If you’ve ever shared a financial product with someone else – like a joint loan or a shared mortgage – their name will flag up on your credit report. This means lenders looking at your report will be able to see their credit history, too.
Having someone else on your credit report isn’t necessarily a bad thing in itself. If the financial connection has a positive track record of making payments on time, it could even put you in a good light.
On the other hand, if your financial association has a poor credit history, it could make your credit report look a little unappealing to any potential lenders. They might worry you’ll have the same bad credit habits.
Luckily, you can remove any unflattering financial connections by asking your credit reference agency to remove them. You’ll need to close down the joint product before you can do this, though.
4. Is the information on your report spotless?
Have you checked your credit report lately? It’s really important to make sure it’s all up-to-date and correct.
An old address or income on there could be holding you back from getting accepted for credit. Or even worse, you might have a mistake on your report – like a company claiming you’ve missed a payment when you haven’t.
Make sure you update any old information and query any mistakes with your credit reference agency. Even if they don’t remove the mistake, you can add a ‘notice of correction’ explaining your side of the story onto your report.
5. Got a credit card gathering dust?
Got an old credit card that no longer sees the light of day? Or maybe a store card you’ve only ever used once or twice?
Whether you use them or not, these accounts will still be included in your overall credit limit. And having a big available limit might be putting lenders off from lending to you. Why? Even if you’re not currently using it, they might worry you’ll decide to spend all of it in one big spree – and then struggle to pay it back.
Shutting these accounts down will reduce your overall limit and could boost your eligibility for a new product.
So, to sum up, here’s our tick-list improve your credit report:
1. Sign up to vote
2. Reduce your debts
3. Remove financial associations
4. Fix mistakes on your credit report
5. Close down unused accounts
Checking off this list could improve your eligibility for credit this spring!
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