Your credit score isn’t a stable number, it constantly changes depending on your spending, borrowing and credit usage.
When will my credit score change?
Firstly, you should be aware there are three main credit reference agencies (CRAs) in the UK that lenders report to:
Generally, creditors will submit an update of your account activity to one or more CRAs roughly every 30-45 days. This could take up to 2 months to be visible on your credit report.
The timescale can vary because creditors will report according to their own schedule and they won’t necessarily send data to all three agencies at the same time. Some may only report to one or two CRAs – not all three.
When the CRAs receive your credit information, they’ll use it to calculate a new credit score and update your credit file. This means it could go up or down, depending on your financial behaviour.
How much it changes will be down to your credit activity each month. So, for example, if your credit card balance has changed, or you've missed a payment, then this should be reflected in your score.
How can I check my credit score without affecting it?
You can check your credit score for free with the three main credit reference agencies in the UK. You can also get free access to your Equifax credit report (for life) through our member-only platform, CredAbility. This will give you an insight into what lenders can see when you apply for credit.
You can check your report as many times as you like without affecting your credit score. It only performs a soft search, so it won’t leave a footprint for lenders to see.
We suggest that you review your report at least once a year to make sure it’s up to date and accurate. You should also check it before making a credit application so you have time to fix any errors that could affect your chances of approval.
Why is my score not going up?
It can be frustrating waiting to see some improvements in your score – especially if you’re trying to buy a house or car. There can be a few a reasons as to why your score doesn’t seem to be changing:
- if you usually make your payments on time. Great, but this doesn’t mean your score will necessarily go up, as you're continuing to pay off your credit as normal
- if you’ve got a track record of missing payments, and then you start to pay on time, it’s unlikely your score will immediately change. You’ll need to consistently make on time payments to prove you can manage your credit
- creditors aren’t required to provide your information to the CRA’s by a certain time or at all
- remember that if you're doing all the right things but your score isn’t changing, then you should thoroughly check your credit file for mistakes, incorrect addresses or financial ties to someone with bad credit – these factors can all prevent your score increasing as well.
Can I boost my score in 30 days?
Yes, there are a few hacks that you can use to get your credit score boosted quickly. If you do this as well as keep up your payments and good credit behaviour, you should see your credit score begin to increase:
- Register to vote
- Join the Rental Initiative Exchange (if you rent)
- Update your credit file – make sure your addresses are correct and names spelled correctly
- Remove any old financial ties – such as an ex-partner with bad credit.
Read on for more tips on how to improve your credit score in 30 days.
Remember that the length of time it takes to improve your credit score depends not only on the lender’s reporting schedule, but also on your credit history.
For example, if you have a serious negative marker such as a default, this will stay on your credit report for six years from the date of registration. As time passes, the impact on your credit score should decrease – but your recovery time could be around 18 months.
Whereas it only takes around three months for your credit score to recover from a hard search on your report after applying for credit.
Read on for more information about recovery times.
Other things to remember...
If you’re working on getting that credit score number up to increase your creditworthiness, you’ll need to keep up with it constantly. Any mistakes such as missing payments will leave negative marks.
Try to prioritise paying off debts and making at least the minimum repayment on your credit cards each month. If you can pay the full amount off then even better – this will mean you won’t be charged any interest.
Make sure you don’t go over your credit limit and be sure to always pay your bills on time. Setting up direct debits will also help you get all your payments on time and show lenders that you can manage your debt responsibly.
While you’re working at it, try to avoid taking out any new lines of credit, and manage the ones you already have.
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