Last night (16 March), Experian’s James Jones and Jill O’Connor appeared on LBC’s Money Hour show answering listeners’ queries about credit scores and credit ratings.
It’s a living thing
Your credit score is not set in stone – it’s a living, breathing thing. Your own credit rating changes along with your own financial behaviour.
When you make an application for a loan, credit card, mortgage or other type of credit (such as a new utility contract or mobile-phone account), lenders look at your credit report to work out your credit score. Why do they do this? So they can judge for themselves if they think you’ll be a responsible borrower and likely to repay what you owe them.
There’s no magic number
Different lenders can score differently, using their own formulae based on their own factors – there really is no ‘magic number’. Usually, a higher score means you’re seen as lower risk – meaning you’re more likely to get credit, and at better rates.
The Experian Credit Score is a guide to help you understand your credit report, and how the way you’ve managed the credit you’ve had in the past might affect applications you’re making now, and can give you an indication of what kind of loan you might get. Getting your credit score up could open up the potential chance to get better loans – and at better rates.
5 tips for improving your credit score
- Do try to stay within your credit limits and do try to pay your credit bills on time. Missed or late payments stay on your credit report for at least six years, and this can have a big impact on your score.
- Credit scoring can also look at the average age of your accounts, so try not to chop and change all of your accounts on a regular basis.
- Check your credit report regularly: make sure it’s up to date, and that the information on it is accurate. If you do find anything that needs correcting, contact the relevant lender and ask for an amendment – Experian can also raise a dispute on your behalf. Even small details like the way your name and address is recorded could have a significant impact.
- Don’t resort to a scattergun approach to credit applications, as each application is recorded on your credit report and if lenders see lots in a short period, they could think that you’re desperate or suspect a fraud.
- Make sure you register to vote at your current address, as lenders use the electoral register to help confirm who you are and where you live.
Talk to us
If you have questions you’d like answered about your Experian Credit Report and Score, our Twitter and Facebook customer service teams are online Monday to Friday 9am to 8pm. Saturdays 9am to 5pm.
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