You may think “I’ve never borrowed or owed money… surely I should have a perfect credit file!?”
Unfortunately, having no credit history is just as bad as having a poor credit history in a lender’s eyes. This is because they have no evidence on how well you manage money – so they automatically assume the worst. A thin file can mean lenders will be more reluctant to approve you for credit, or you’ll have limited product choice.
If you want to borrow money or take out a credit card – and get the best deals – you’ll need to build your credit score. Here’s three things you can do to increase it:
1) Join the electoral roll
Possibly the easiest thing you could do to improve your credit rating – and it’ll take you two minutes.
I bet you’re thinking “Why does the electoral roll have any effect on my credit score?” Well, it’s because it’s the one of the most reliable ways of verifying your identity. For lenders, this reduces the possibility of fraud, making you a less risky borrower.
If you’re unsure if you’re registered, contact your local officer. You can find their contact details at Your Vote Matters.
2) Get a credit builder card
This is a good starting point for anyone trying to build their credit rating. These cards give you access to a small amount of credit – usually up to £1,500.
If you prove you can manage the money responsibly, you’ll establish a credit score and begin to grow it. We suggest making small payments on your card regularly and paying it off in full every month. At the very least, you should pay the minimum amount.
But remember, only take out a credit card if you’re confident you can borrow and spend sensibly as not doing so will harm your credit rating.
3) Sign up to CreditLadder
If you rent a property, you could be missing a trick. Usually paying your rent on time doesn’t increase your credit score – but that was before CreditLadder!
CreditLadder is free for you and your landlord – and here’s how it works. Instead of paying your landlord rent, you’ll pay CreditLadder. They’ll tell the credit reference agencies you’ve made your payment (therefore increasing your credit score) and then send it onto your landlord. How good is that!?