23 Jun 2014
All of a sudden, TV adverts have appeared alerting us to the fact that we need to keep an eye on our credit scores, with a view to improving them.
I was interested to hear how paying a monthly fee to (someone or other), could possibly help our credit worthiness.
A credit score is basically a lender’s way of rating us and trying to determine the likelihood of us paying our mortgage each month. All Mortgage lenders, Finance Houses, Loan Companies and Credit Card Companies share information about our credit histories on the credit register.
Typically, when we apply for a loan, the lender will award a number of points to the mortgage application, look at our credit history on the credit register and come up with a final rating of A, B, C or fail. Those rated “A” will be asked less questions than those with B or C and anyone with bad credit will more than likely fail.
Paying a company a monthly fee will give us access to this information, but it won’t change it! Rest assured, if you pay your credit cards late, miss mortgage payments, default on mobile phone contracts or ignore credit reminders, your score will go down. It will also fall dramatically if you use “Pay Day Loans!”
It is possible, but rare that companies put things on the credit register in error. It’s usually more that the customer has forgotten to pay their credit card whist on holiday, or walked away from a dispute with their phone provider before it’s resolved. These are 2 examples which will result in adverse data on
the credit register.
Under the Date Protection Act, everyone is entitled to view their entry on the credit register and has the right to challenge the information held. This can be done on-line at: www.creditexpert.co.uk
This is the best advice I can give to anyone who wants to get a mortgage, in order to get the highest score:
How to Improve Your Credit Score
1. Make sure you keep yourself registered on the Electoral Roll
2. Do not allow credit companies to keep checking you
3. Set up a direct debit mandate for the minimum payments on all your credit commitments as this will ensure you never miss a payment. You can always pay more off when the bill comes in. Missing a payment for a bill as trivial as your mobile phone contract could have a detrimental effect on your credit file, and will remain on your report for three years.
4. If you are in the habit of transferring balances to take advantage of 0% interest rate deals on credit card, make sure you cancel the old cards.
5. Dispute incorrect information
6. If you are unable to meet your credit commitments, contact company immediately and try to work out a payment plan – ask them if they will put this information on the register
7. Make sure you have some credit, even if you don’t use it much. A credit card which is repaid each month shows a track record of your being a good payer
8. Finally, borrow from your mum, your dad, your boss, your mate - anyone but a Payday Loan Company!