Spring is *finally* now in the air, which means for many of us thoughts are turning to summer holidays, days out – and numerous other ways to get spending.
You may have lower heating bills, but are they offset by a higher spend on summer merriment? The days are longer, and there’s a lot of temptation to make hay while the sun (literally) shines.
If you tend to rush headlong into the warmer months without much of a thought about how you’ll finance your fun, it’s a good idea to pour cold water on that hot head and start thinking ahead – and take control of your finances. And one way of doing that is to understand what’s on your credit report, so you can see for yourself the steps you can take to improve it.
Review your credit report
Understanding what is on your credit report help you put yourself in a stronger position when it comes to applying for the credit you want – for example: a mortgage or a loan – as lenders use it to help decide if you’ll be able to afford to make new repayments on time.
The data and information held on your credit report summarises your credit history, so it’s in your interests to ensure that it provides an accurate and up-to-date picture of your credit histories, and review it on a regular basis. Even simple discrepancies on your credit report, such as different ways of listing your name and address, can make a difference. And CreditExpert membership provides you with an array of exclusive tools and expert advice to help you monitor, understand and improve your overall credit situation.
Spring cleaning tips
Try to stay within your credit limits and try to pay your credit bills on time – every time – as missed or late payments can make you look unreliable, stay on your credit report for at least six years. However, you can add a “notice of correction” (up to 200 words) explaining if special circumstances caused payments to be missed in the past.
Registering to vote at your current address can help, as lenders use the electoral register to help confirm who you are and where you live. Showing that you’re settled in one place can also be a factor in making you look reliable to them.
It’s also a good idea to check that there are no suspicious entries in your credit report, or accounts that you don’t recognise, as that may indicate identity fraud. Your credit report lists your credit accounts and balances, so if you saw anything unfamiliar you’d be able to spot applications and spending that are nothing to do with you. Additionally, financial links to other people may appear on your credit report, for example an ex-partner you shared accounts with. If you find any links that are out of date, you can ask for them to be broken.