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. Continue reading
Being able to vote could potentially help you get credit
With the general election just months away, the leading names are jostling for position as they covet our votes.
But many of us won’t even be able to vote in it, unless we get on the electoral roll – and not doing so could also affect your credit rating.
Today (5th February) is National Voter Registration Day, a day that marks the anniversary of the Great Reform Act in 1832 which first introduced voter registration. The aim for this day is to get 250,000 more young people on to the electoral register, as young people are very much under-represented at present.
Buying your first home with a partner, and getting a mortgage together, can mean there’s a lot you’ll need to agree on – from furnishings to finances and more.
Compromise will inevitably have to be reached regarding the area you choose, the layout, the size, how long you intend to be there and several other factors. Do you need to be near a good school? Is it important to be close to a train station? Buying together is likely to mean an element of give and take in many departments like this.
Making sure that you’re financially able is important too – would buying a property stretch your budget to breaking point? Not only is there a mortgage to think about, but also one-off costs like solicitor’s fees, as well as regular bills & maintenance costs.
Your credit rating can be an important factor here. In general, the higher your credit score, the better your chances are of getting your mortgage, lower interest rates, and better deals.
If you’re applying to have a joint mortgage, bear in mind that credit reports only become linked if two people have actually applied for credit together (eg: a joint bank account, a mortgage with two names on it) or they tell Experian or a lender that they are financially connected.
By checking your Experian Credit Report you can see if and how you are financially linked, it can also help you understand if you need a little work to tidy up your credit history before a joint mortgage application is made.
For more helpful information on mortgages, visit www.experian.co.uk/mortgages, with useful hints, tips and features.
Here’s Anthony Hill from broadbandchoices.co.uk with some tips on buying mobile phones for children:
If your children run up a huge phone bill, your credit rating could be affected
At what age should you buy your child a mobile phone? It’s probably not a question your parents had to consider. However, a recent study by broadbandchoices.co.uk, where you can now compare mobile phones as well as TV and internet deals, found 90% of kids aged 8-14 have one and, on average, are just 10 when they get their first handset.
Starting on 1st September, we’re launching a brand new radio show “The Money Hour” in association with LBC. Co-hosted by Clive Bull and Sarah Willingham, it’ll be from 9 to 10pm on Monday nights. Experian’s resident money expert and Head of Consumer Affairs, James Jones, and experts from other organisations will join the presenters discussing issues such as mortgages and car loans, giving help and advice on credit matters and answering listeners’ questions. I spoke to James about the upcoming launch of the show, and here’s what he said.
What’s in the show? We’ll be discussing key issues such as qualifying for a mortgage, getting the best deals & avoiding credit refusal, and we’ll share our top tips for building a great credit rating!
What are the biggest myths surrounding credit ratings and credit scores? There are so many myths which are really frustrating for us and sometimes damaging to the public. For example, many people believe checking their own credit report will damage their credit rating. Of course this is totally false and if there’s any impact it’s likely to be positive as you may identity information or behaviour you can change to improve your credit rating in the future. Another example is ‘blacklisted addresses’, which simply don’t exist. But some people believe they do and make bad decisions about their finances as a result.
What should someone do if they get refused credit? We should all see credit refusal – and we all get turned down from time to time! – as an opportunity. Push the lender for an overall reason – and only they can tell you this as only they know! – and order your credit report from the credit reference agency the lender consulted and check through the information carefully.
The top three reasons why checking your credit report can only be a good thing?
1) For a start, checking your own report from time to time compliments the work the credit reference agencies do to try to make sure you’re the information is accurate and up to date. And if you do spot something that needs changing you can alert the agency which will then launch an investigation on your behalf.
2) By checking your report you may identify things you could do to improve your credit rating, for example by registering on the electoral roll.
3) Many victims of identity fraud discover the crime when they check their credit report, and in most cases the early you spot fraud the easier and quicker it is to sort out.
——————— The Money Hour – every Monday from 9-10pm on LBC. A podcast link will be available here on the Experian Experts blog each Tuesday following the show.
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.
Let your credit report do the work
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.
It can be galling when you make an unsuccessful credit application, though it’s worth remembering that being refused for credit is not, in itself, hazardous for your credit rating. While your credit report will show that you applied for a credit card (a credit-application footprint will appear on your report for one year), it will not show the outcome of that application.
So long, old pound coins..
So the Budget is here at last, and what does have in store? We’ve seen announcements on taxes, childcare, fuel prices, and even the arrival of a brand new £1 coin. And Mr Osborne has suggested that “If you’re a maker, a doer or a saver: this Budget is for you.”
Most of us will be affected in some way by the changes that have been announced, but how can we do our own Budget to help us understand, protect and take steps to improve our own finances?
In 1898 Sir Ebenezer Howard published his book “Garden Cities Of Tomorrow”, which set out his (at the time outlandish) ideas that new cities should be planned, self-contained communities surrounded by what would soon become known as green belts.
And almost 100 years after the last garden city was established, plans set to be revealed in Wednesday’s budget have included the launch of a brand new one in Ebbsfleet, in Kent.