How do I improve my credit score?

We all need a boost from time to time. A pick up. A tonic. A fillip. The same goes for our credit score or rating. But, how is it done? Why do it? When to do it? Is it best to seek the help of an independent advisor, or can you improve your credit score yourself by making changes, by taking certain steps?

Thoroughness is the key

If you’re thinking of asking for credit any time soon, HOLD FIRE. Why? Because it may seriously pay off later if you wait until you’ve sorted out your current credit rating and improved your score. You see, all of us have something called a ‘credit file’ …

Running shoes

Just as important as living a healthy lifestyle, getting your file to look healthy is something you should prioritise. You need to do this however much you’ve set your heart on that must-have purchase you’ve convinced yourself you can’t live without (we’ve all done it).  Above all, when checking and picking through your credit rating, be pretty forensic in your approach. There may be errors on your file, inaccuracies that are stopping you from progressing, and you’re well within your rights to ask questions and insist that credit reference agencies give you access to your credit report, for the finest of tooth-combing.

Reduce existing debt first

Once you’ve committed to not asking anyone anywhere for more credit, get to work on paying off any existing debts. There are numerous resources online, and indeed offline, offering excellent advice when it comes to formulating a realistic strategy that will help you to slowly chip away at your debts, until you’re finally debt free. Hurray!

Also, bear in mind the BIGGER picture….

Reasons to get your credit score shipshape

So many people with bad credit focus on reducing their debt and improving their score so that they can purchase a house, car, boat (or perhaps even a houseboat, or a boathouse?!) or make another major purchase, paying off the cost over time. But having a good credit rating can also make it easier, and quicker, to get certain types of insurance policies, a mobile phone contract, a new bank account, everyday appliances… So, the better your credit rating looks, the more finance options will be open to you.

Move fast when it comes to CCJs

County Court Judgements (CCJs) stay on file for six years. So, if you’re unfortunate and get landed with a CCJ (related to an unpaid bill) do your utmost to pay it ASAP – meeting the full costs of all the cash owed within 30 days of the court order issuing date. The judgement can then be lifted, but if you’re so much as a day late, you’re looking at a ‘six year stretch’. Better to pull out all the stops so that you can get your hands on a Certificate of Satisfaction, meaning you can apply for credit without a CCJ hanging over you.

Get registered

Get your name on the Electoral Register in your region. You’ve already done so? Great. Believe or not, thousands of people across the UK aren’t registered to vote. If you’re one of them, you’re not helping your chances of getting credit. Lenders always feel nervous about applicants who aren’t listed. So, why risk being rejected, when registering is quick and easy process, and can be done in a jiffy online?

Cut! Cut! Cut!

If you haven’t already done so, cut up and cancel any unused credit cards. They might be in your wallet or purse, in a desk draw, down the back of the sofa, or perhaps being used as a shim or thin wedge-like device to keep a window somewhere from irritatingly rattling? Doesn’t matter. Wherever those (potentially damaging to your credit rating) unused credit cards are, cancel them and cut them in half.

Only you can repair your credit rating

Finally, and speaking strictly off the record here, if a ‘credit rating repair company’ or a ‘credit rating repair consultant’ gets in touch offering to repair your credit score and to leave it all to them when it comes to dealing with credit reference agencies, block that caller! delete that email! Whatever you do, just remember that only you can repair your own credit rating. You. Just you.