To get credit, it’s helpful to have a good credit score.lenders will use this to see whether you can borrow responsibly. That’s why it’s so useful to know how to build your credit score. We’re going to help you with that here.
How to increase my credit score
Building a good credit score is essential for showing lenders that you’re a low-risk borrower. Let’s look at some potential steps you can take to build your credit score.
- Check your credit reports
Make sure your credit reports are up to date and don’t contain any mistakes. You can use the three main credit reference agencies – Equifax, Experian or TransUnion – to check your reports and have them corrected.
- Register on the electoral roll
This will prove where you live, and lenders consider that essential for building your score.
- Build your credit history
If you’re new to having credit, start using it regularly and responsibly. This will build your history over time and improve your score.
- Don’t move around too much
Lenders like stability, so it makes them nervous if you change your address too often. Moving too much will damage your score.
- Get a specialist credit card
Think about using a credit-builder credit card to start building your history and boosting your score. We’ll cover that in the next section.
- Don’t fall victim to fraud
Being the victim of fraudsters could really damage your credit score. Make sure you keep a close eye on all your accounts and check statements carefully. If you see activity that makes you suspicious, report it to your lender immediately.
- Don’t apply for credit or ‘hard checks’ too often
Credit applications involve so-called ‘hard checks’, where lenders check your credit history. These stay on your financial record, and if you make too many in a short space of time, lenders will assume you’re in financial difficulty.
- Think carefully
Carefully consider how to build credit and what products to apply for and perform ‘soft checks’ before you go ahead. This could include checking your own credit report or using online eligibility checkers for an instant decision on particular credit products.
How to build your credit with a credit card
So long as you choose the right product and use it carefully, you can easily improve your credit score with a credit card. In fact, a credit-builder credit card is designed specifically to help you build your credit. They can be useful if you’re trying to rebuild a bad credit score, or if you have no score at all. This could be because you’ve just turned 18 or moved to the UK only recently.
Even though credit-builder credit cards are a good way to improve your credit score, they do come with a couple of drawbacks. Typically, the interest you’ll pay – known as Annual Percentage Rate (APR) – is higher than a standard card. They also come with a lower credit limit, These limitations are designed to protect the lender, who will be nervous about getting repaid by a higher risk borrower.
Here are some tips on using a credit card:
- Staying within your credit limit shows you don’t rely too heavily on borrowing. This will make you look responsible to lenders and help improve your score
- Try to make your repayments on time and pay off the full balance each month if you can. If you pay late, you might be charged a fee and your credit limit could even be reduced.
- You can sign up for alerts by text and email to help you keep on top of your credit card statement dates.
- To take the pressure off remembering, arrange Direct Debits or Standing Orders to automatically pay your credit card bill on time.
- If you have a bad month and can’t pay your credit card in full, make sure you at least pay the minimum amount. It can really damage your future applications for credit if you miss a repayment completely.
How to get an excellent credit rating
If you really want to get your score as high as possible, the very best way to build credit is by taking a thorough approach. That means always managing all your finances very carefully, and remembering that for lenders, consistency is key. Two additional methods that can help with this are:
- Setting alert
Set automatic balance alerts to help you track and monitor all of your financial and credit activity.
- Repaying regularly
You can make multiple repayments each month to show that you’re really keeping on top of repaying what you’ve borrowed.
How long does it take to build an excellent credit score?
If you’re new to managing your own finances, you won’t be given a credit score until you’ve had an active account for 3-6 months. That means the sooner you start, the better! So, how long does it take to build a credit score? That depends partly on you.
Despite what some companies will tell you, there’s no quick fix – building your score takes a little time. Don’t worry though; once you find the right product and start using it correctly, building your score could happen sooner than you think.
Whatever your situation, there are some great credit products to help you build or rebuild your credit score. We’ve detailed lots of things you can do yourself in relation to how to build credit. And remember; reputable lenders will explain everything clearly and honestly, and they’ll be there to offer help if you need it.