You probably know by now that credit checks are one of the ways in which lenders assess risk. That is, how they can be sure that you can pay back any money you borrow from them. It’s how they decide whether or not to lend money to a given borrower. In recent years, lenders have been particularly strict about making sure that borrowers will not default on their payments.
Credit checks are tricky to get around, because they take so much information about you into account. However, there are things you can do right away to help improve your credit score and your chances of getting a mortgage.
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Get on the electoral register
Getting on the electoral register is a very quick and easy way to improve your credit score. It confirms your name and address, and therefore your identity. Credit scoring companies can then use the information from the electoral roll to gather financial information about you.
You do not have to be on the open register if you don’t want to. The credit scoring companies use the full electoral register, not the open register, so all you have to do is register to vote!
Switch from pay-as-you-go
A lot of people these days continue to use pay-as-you-go mobile services. This means they simply top up their phone with credit to make phone calls. While this might be cheaper short-term, it has long-term knock-on effects for your credit. A mobile phone contract lets you prove to lenders that you can keep up payments you’ve agreed to in advance. This is of course useful information for a mortgage lender to know!
If you are still using a pay-as-you-go SIM in your phone, you may wish to seriously consider switching to a contract deal. Some deals are SIM-only, letting you keep your phone and replace the SIM. In addition, thanks to PACs, it has never been easier to transfer your mobile number from one mobile phone provider to another. And contracts could save you money long-term, so it’s worth looking into.
Get a credit card (and don’t go over your credit limit)
Credit cards are, as the name would imply, a great way of showing that you can use credit responsibly. Credit cards let you borrow small sums from the card provider. You can then pay it back at a later date, with interest added. Paying off your credit card debts shows that you are able to take debt on. More importantly, it shows you can pay it off, which is encouraging to lenders.
However, it is also important to be careful to keep your credit utilisation low. Make sure that you avoid going over your credit limit. Going over shows you rely on borrowed money to live. That tells lenders that you are not actually able to pay much of what you borrow back. You want your lender to see you as a responsible borrower, not just a borrower. For similar reasons, you should make sure that you avoid using your credit card in cash machines if possible.
Bottom line: Make sure you’re only using your credit card to borrow amounts you know you can afford to pay back, and never borrow more than your limit.
Pay your bills as soon as possible
This might not be a problem for you if you use Direct Debit to pay your bills. However, if you manually pay your bills every month, it’s good to make sure that you pay them as soon as you can. This shows that you are able to budget your costs and keep up promises you make to companies. When the time comes for you to factor in mortgage payments, you’ll need to be making sure you can make your monthly repayments. It is obviously very encouraging to lenders if you can show that you are organised and have your affairs in order.
Remember, missing a mortgage payment can mean losing your house and long-lasting damage to your finances. You need to be able to stay on top of things!
Register with Credibble
Credibble (that’s us!) is a credit-repair service created with first-time buyers in mind. It’s powered by Equifax, one of the three major credit-checking companies in the UK. We can give you guidance so you can figure out where your problem areas are. We can give you a snapshot of what financial decisions you can make today to start improving your creditworthiness and get mortgage ready. Registering is quick and easy.
Credibble doesn’t just give you a credit score. We also give you real suggestions for what you can do to start improving your creditworthiness in the eyes of major lenders. What’s more, it can put you in touch with mortgage brokers so you can find the best deal for you.
Why wait? Sign up today and start your journey to improving your credit!
Further credit improvement ideas
Some other ways of improving your credit include being very careful when using services like Klarna, whose terms openly state they affect credit score when you take out a personal loan with them for impulse buys.
You may also want to ensure your credit is not tied to someone else. This is because their financial history may be more chequered than yours and may raise a few eyebrows with lenders!
In general, you’ll want to make your repayments on time, to show you are financially responsible.
We hope these tips and suggestions have helped you get a sense of what goes into a good credit score. Remember: The only person who can fix your credit is you. Making some small changes today can pay great dividends in future!
Best of luck!