Increasing your credit score isn’t going to happen overnight; however, there are things you can do to help improve your rating each month.
The credit reporting agency Experian points out that it’s tricky to foresee how a single action will impact your credit rating. The good news is that several strategies pay off quicker than others.
Obtain copies of your credit reports for free
Sign-up for a free account with each of the UK credit agencies, they all offer a trial period between 7 and 30 days. Ensure that you thoroughly check every detail on your report and challenge any errors you find.
Check the electoral role
Ensure that you are registered on the electoral roll, ideally you should be registered at your current address for at least 3 years. If you are not currently registered you can do so by visiting the About My Vote website, enter your postcode to find your local council, complete the form and return it to your local electoral registration office.
Pay your bills before they are due
Pay your bills before they’re due every month. Building a record of continuous, on-time payments is one way to raise your credit score. Even if you can only make the minimum payment due, you don’t want late payments listed on your credit report. Just one late payment can drop your FICO credit score by 60 to 110 points.
If you have difficulty keeping up to date with your bills, contact your creditors and ask whether they can reduce your monthly payments or modify the due dates to suit you both. Automating payments is another way to help ensure your bills get paid on time.
Check your information
Credit agencies don’t take the time to authenticate the information they collect from creditors, so it’s up to you to stay on top of your credit history. Mistakes or inaccurate information on your credit report can negatively impact your credit score.
Notice of corrections
Challenge any errors you discover on your credit report. Having negative items removed can quickly raise your score. Contact the credit agency in writing, providing details and documents supporting why you believe certain information to be incorrect. They have 30 days to investigate and correct any mistakes. If you can successfully challenge an error on your credit file a ‘notice of correction’ will be added, this information will be visible to companies who perform a search on your file.
Time any new purchases
Wait a full billing cycle after paying off a credit card bill before you charge any new purchases. That way you can time when the credit-card company reports your balance to the credit agencies. By waiting, your account will show a low balance, which keeps your debt-to-income ratio lower.
Cancel unused credit
Cancel any dormant credit accounts such as store cards or credit cards. Even though you may have a zero balance on these accounts, the amount of credit available will count against your overall credit limit.