From getting a mortgage to applying for a credit card, your credit report will dictate whether or not you’re eligible to borrow from lenders. We look at five things you may not realise about your credit report.
However, knowing what influences your report can boost your credit score and increase your chances of successfully applying for credit.
- Credit card usage
Providers need to see evidence that you’re good at managing debt, and having a record of your repayment history through a credit card can work in your favour. Make sure you use your credit card in the right way by paying off more than the minimum balance at the end of each month, and don’t miss any payments. Lenders often want to see under 30 per cent usage on your credit card. If you’re using more than this, it could potentially affect your credit rating, but stay under this barrier and you could boost your score.
- Get unfair defaults removed
Any missed payments or defaults will stay on your record for six years. This could affect your score and ability to get credit. Check your report to identify any mistakes made by lenders – it’s possible that they could mistakenly put a black mark against your name. If this is the case, contact the lender and get the default on your file removed. First complain to the lender and if that fails, write to the credit reference agency to ask it to add a short Notice of Correction to your credit file. If you still can’t get it changed then you should complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service – a longer process but worthwhile in the long run.
- Be consistent
Lenders use fraud scoring to check your identity isn’t been exploited to apply for credit. When you’re applying for credit, make sure you consistently give the same mobile numbers and address details to the lenders. If there are any changes make sure your details are correct on your credit report. You can download your report from agencies such as Experian and Equifax.
- Credit enquiries affect your credit score
Every time you apply for credit, a mark is made on your credit report. Too many hard enquiries can work against you as lenders worry you are an unsafe bet. Some comparison websites let you do a soft search that tells you which cards you are most likely to be approved for before applying. Sometimes it is best to leave between six months and two years in between rejections with a single provider.
- Make sure you’re on the electoral roll
Being on the electoral register lets providers know you have a permanent address and will boost your application chances. Make sure you register your details at https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.
Going through these checks can help increase your chances of credit success
These little checks and changes can help boost your chances of credit success when buying a home or applying for a loan.
If you need more help, read our Norton Finance guide to improving your credit rating.