Use your credit score to plan your financial future

Your credit score is not set in stone - you can change it

Your credit score is not set in stone – you can change it

Everyone has a credit report, and by definition a credit score too. And when you apply for new credit, most lenders want to make sure you’re able to pay it back before they commit to giving you credit.

Planning your financial future is something that can benefit us all – whether it’s making a budget for the week ahead, working out how much we’ve got left over after monthly bills are paid, or making a strategy as to how to save up enough money for a mortgage deposit.

What is a credit score?
Your credit score is the number that lenders calculate, taking the information on your application form, along with the information in your credit report from a credit reference agency like Experian, to work out whether or not you’ll be a responsible borrower and likely to repay what you owe them. They give relevant items a value, using their own unique formula, which gives you a credit score.

How fixed is this Credit Score?
Your credit score is not set in stone. Firstly, different lenders can score differently, using their own formulae depending on their own factors and what they consider to be important – there really is no ‘magic number’. Secondly, your own credit rating changes along with your own financial behaviour – so you can take steps to improve it yourself.

The Experian Credit Score is a guide to help you understand your credit report, and how past credit management can impact on future credit applications and for you to monitor your progress as you get your finances in order before you apply.

What else can and can’t affect it?
Your credit score could be affected by the credit-worthiness of anyone you share a credit account (eg: a mortgage, a bank account) with, regardless of if you are related. This is called a financial association. However, unless there’s a financial association, your credit score won’t be affected by your family’s credit history, or that of anyone who shares your address.
Checking your own credit report won’t affect your credit score.

Keep an eye on it
Staying within your credit limits and paying your credit bills on time – every time – is important, as missed or late payments can matter. They can make you look unreliable, stay on your credit report for at least six years, and this can have a big impact on your credit score. If you are applying for credit, it’s best not to make applications too close together, as it could look to lenders as though you’re under the kind of financial stress that might make repayments tough.

Improve it
You can make sure your credit report is 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. Even small details like the way your name and address is recorded could have a significant impact. Also, check that you’re listed on the electoral roll.

11 thoughts on “Use your credit score to plan your financial future

  1. Ann Tarrant

    My daughter has encountered a real problem with her credit report. She has only just turned eighteen and needs a student bank account as she is going to university next month. She has had a cash card account for a few years but obviously has never applied for or received any credit. When she tried to open a student account with Santander her application was rejected ‘because of something on her credit report.’ She was told to look at her credit report and get it rectified but to get a credit report you need to enter bank account details. What can she do?

    Reply
    1. Steven Rathmill

      Hi

      Thanks for getting in touch. I’m sorry to hear your daughter has had some problems getting a student account.

      It can be tricky when you’re applying for credit accounts for the first time, but there are a few things that you can do to support your application. As your daughter is going to have little credit history, if any at all, it’s important to ensure that she is registered on the Electoral Roll. Although this doesn’t provide any evidence that she will pay her bills on time, some lenders rely on it to verify a new customer’s identity, age and address. Without being able to do this, some lenders can decline an application without going any further.

      You might find that some lenders still decline applications if there is no financial history to go on as each lender has their own criteria so you can never be sure.

      Alongside ensuring she is on the Electoral Roll, I would certainly recommend that your daughter takes a look at her report. I understand you’ve come across difficulties with this. Please let her know that she can apply for a copy of her credit report by visiting http://www.experian.co.uk/stat. If she orders online she can use someone else’s card, as long as she has the card holder’s permission.

      Alternatively, she can write to us using the ‘statutory credit report application form’ which you can find on the site above, under the ‘Order by post’ tab about half way down the page. With this option you would need to include the £2 fee in the form of a cheque or postal order payable to Experian Ltd. Please make sure she includes her full name, date of birth, present address and any other addresses she has lived at during the last six years.

      Once your daughter has access to her report, we will be more than happy to review its content and provide any suitable recommendations to aid her application.

      I hope this information helps. Please let me know if you have any further questions.

      Many thanks
      Steven Rathmill
      Experian Social Media Customer Services

      Reply
  2. Tracey

    I wanted to pay for goods on Very.co.uk by debit card and it proceeded to complete the forms which I thought I was registering as a new customer for. It then came back with a window to tell me my credit account had been declined. I went back through the process again and once again a window took my no further but to tell me my credit had been declined. On the third attempt I spotted in very small wording at the bottom of a page which explained all the ways of paying via credit a link to pay by credit or debit card. I immediately contacted their online service who advised this would make a mark on my credit report. I am really upset over this as I have just paid them £316.00 to be told I had been refused credit which I never wanted in the first place. Help!!!!!!!!

    Reply
    1. Neil Stone

      Hi Tracey, Very.co.uk should only record a late payment if the payment once it is overdue, rather than for not being able to process the payment. If you haven’t already got your credit report I would advise that you get a report to check exactly what Very.co.uk have recorded, or if they have recorded anything at all. You can apply for a report here
      Once you have the report if you disagree with what has been recorded contact us and we can query with the company for you. Kind Regards Neil

      Reply
    1. James Jarvis

      Hi Tracy,
      thanks for getting in touch with us,

      In the article above it mentions ways to improve your credit score.

      You can make sure your credit report is 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. Even small details like the way your name and address is recorded could have a significant impact. Also, check that you’re listed on the electoral roll.

      You also might find the information found here useful – http://www.experian.co.uk/consumer/credit-education/improve-credit-rating.html it explains a number of tips at improving your credit score.

      Alternatively you can email me your details to uksocialsupport@experian.com and I can take a look at your credit score to see if there is ways to improve it.

      Many thanks
      James
      Experian Social Media Customer Services

      Reply
        1. CreditExpert Jarv

          Hi Richard,

          Account information on your credit report will have an affect on your Experian Credit Score, late/missed payments will have a negative impact whilst maintaining the account(s) without late/missed payments and as the account matures in age could have a positive impact to your credit score.

          You may find this video useful as it contains information regarding factors which can affect your credit score – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TaRFhnsKsQ

          Regards
          CreditExpert Jarv

          Reply
  3. Jessica

    Hi, I’m currently saving for a mortgage with my partner but the thing is he doesn’t have the best credit past and I think he is hiding a few extra things from me. He took out 2 contract phones at age 18(now 26) and didn’t pay them back. But he is now paying it back to Lowell financial. He also has had a few bounced direct debit payments in the recent past. The reason I think he’s hiding things is because he left his very account signed in on the laptop today and I saw his statement, his account is in arrears and he had had a fee for not making the minimum payment for the past few months.
    The thing is we went for a mortgage consultation and were offered a mortgage promise, before submitting the official application. I am wondering is it possible these things weren’t picked up at this meeting and would be once we actually apply? The lady said she did a credit report so I wasn’t sure. Thanks

    Reply
    1. CreditExpert Neil

      Hi Jessica,

      I can see that this is a difficult position to find yourself in. If you do make a full application for or open a joint account with your partner then this would create a financial link between you, and lenders would then be likely to check his information when you make an application for credit.
      If the accounts defaulted over six years ago then they would no longer be recorded on his report, but recent late payments would show. It sounds like the mortgage company have performed a “soft” credit search to offer the mortgage in principle, this would allow them to check certain criteria but would not be a full search and they would not see your full reports from this.
      This kind of search does not impact your credit report and cannot be seen by other lenders.
      They may then do a full search if you make the application, and use this to finalise their decision. The mortgage company should always gain your consent before conducting a credit search, and should be able to confirm if a full search is recorded.
      I certainly wish you all the best should you decide to go ahead with the application. You may also find our mortgage application guide useful.
      Kind Regards
      CreditExpert Neil

      Reply
  4. Holly Belcham

    Hi Team,

    Great work on the proactive responses to customer queries, want to get in touch with the most relevant person to discuss Experian’s strategy in regards to social media engagement. Would you be able to shed any light on who would be the best person to speak to?

    Many thanks,
    Holly

    Reply

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