How to improve Credit Score
This is Part two of the series Cash Talk, a blog series all about answering your financial questions. Today’s question is: I didn’t know what I was doing when I first got my credit card. I spent far too much. I got rid of all of my debt but now my credit score is really low. How do I fix it?
Register to Vote
There are plenty of ways to repair your credit score. The first and easiest step to take is to register on the electoral roll. This may seem pointless but being registered to vote means that lenders can easily confirm your name and address.
Since you’ve already paid off all your debt you need to show that you can keep up with payments. To fix your credit score, it is imperative to pay all your bills on time, this includes rent, electricity, broadband etc. If you’ve been paying your rent on time you can use this to boost your credit score.
Cancel Unused Credit Cards
Close any unused credit card accounts, this will help as not using enough of your credit can also negatively impact your credit score. Closing unused accounts will mean that you will not be exposed to possible potential credit card fraud. If you want to use credit cards in the future I suggest keeping one open as it will be difficult to get a new credit card with a low credit card score.
Another thing that can lower your credit score is getting rejected for a credit card. If you don’t get approved for a credit card don’t try applying for one for a while as this can also negatively impact your credit score. Of course, if you use Cash Coach to manage your finances you won’t need credit cards at all ;).
Don’t move if you can help it, moving house too often can lower your credit score. Lenders prefer to lend to someone with an address they’ve stayed in for a long time.
Get rid of any joint accounts or accounts that are linked to you. Your credit score can be affected by the score of someone else, check if your accounts are connected to anyone e.g. a family member or an ex-partner.
- Avoid Fraud
Check for any fraud, any fraudulent activity in your name can also have a negative impact. These could include someone applying for credit in your name or trying to purchase things.
Following all these guidelines will slowly but surely repair your credit score. There is a way to dramatically accelerate this process but it’s a double-edged sword: you need to have your spending habits under perfect control or it will blow up in your face.
You can use a credit card to improve your credit score. This time you will need to use your card responsibly, which means DO NOT spend anything you can’t pay-off 100% by the end of the month.
It’s quite complicated to know how much credit you can afford. You need to be able to keep track of ALL your spending, income, bills… etc - this is time-consuming. You will also need to resist the temptation to use credit.
If this sounds like too much work, then I recommend you try out Cash Coach. It’s an AI that will help you set financial goals, and do all the tracking for you in a fun and gamified way.