In partnership with the Financial Services National College (FSNC).
Did you know 47% of people in the UK have never checked in with their “data self” and of those who have just 26% know their credit rating?
A somewhat startling number, a healthy (and not so healthy) credit score effects more than you may think: mortgages, credit cards, loans, mobile phones, car and home insurance, for example.
You may wonder why? Well, a credit score predicts a person’s future spending behaviour to enable lenders to determine what level of risk (if any) the applicant seeking credit may be. Think of it like this: if you were to lend someone money, but you didn’t know much about them, you’d want as much information as possible to ensure they are trustworthy and reliable. This principle is the same when it comes to lenders checking your credit score.
How can you improve your credit score?
Start by fixing some of the key (and easiest) areas you may be lacking strength in:
Failing to register on the electoral roll
It’s much harder to get accepted for credit if you’re not on the electoral role, so sign up immediately.
Ignoring inaccuracies on your credit reports
It is important to regularly check your credit score for inaccuracies as this will more than likely drag your rating down. This includes personal details such as your address. Unfortunately, errors will not disappear overnight; therefore, it’s important to report any mistakes immediately to your credit agency of choice.
Continuing with old financial relationships
Living with or being married to someone who has a bad credit rating won’t affect yours, however, if you have a joint financial product, it will.
A current account, for instance, creates a financial relationship between you and the account holder which will be considered when you are personally assessed for credit. If you have ever jointly held a financial product with someone you no longer have an association with, make sure you ask Experian, Equifax and TransUnion to remove them from your credit report.
Missing a payment or making one late
Remember: a credit check is to establish your spending behaviour; therefore, a missed or late repayment can be detrimental. In addition, information such as this can stay on your credit for up to six years.
What is considered a bad credit score?
Determining the strength of your credit score depends on which agency you sign-up to as each has its own rating card.
Below, you can find a breakdown of the top three credit agencies in the UK:
Experian (0 – 999): a score below 720 is considered poor, 721 – 880 is fair, 881 – 960 is good and 961 – 999 is excellent
Equifax (0 – 700): a score below 379 is considered poor, 380 – 419 is fair, 420 – 465 is good and 466 – 700 is excellent
TransUnion (0 – 710): a score under 565 is poor, 566 – 603 is fair, 604 – 627 is good and 628 to 710 is excellent
*scoring system accurate as of 25 July 2019.
It’s never too late to improve your credit score. Read our article “10 tips to help improve your credit score” and “I don’t have a perfect credit history – now what?” for further information on how to get your rating fit and healthy.
If you would like to discuss your mortgage options, please contact us or visit your local branch to arrange an appointment. We offer face-to-face, telephone and video advice mortgage appointments for those who cannot make it to a branch.
YOUR MORTGAGE IS SECURED ON YOUR HOME. THINK CAREFULLY BEFORE SECURING OTHER DEBTS AGAINST YOUR HOME. YOUR HOME MAY BE REPOSSESSED IF YOU DO NOT KEEP UP REPAYMENTS ON YOUR MORTGAGE.
*all figures and data correct as of July 2019