Most of us spend more in the immediate approach to and during the festive period than we normally would, so it’s probably a good idea to budget in advance and put some money aside – so that come mid-December, you don’t have to dig too much into money you either don’t have, or money you’re going to need in January.
Here are five things that might be worth thinking about:
Christmas is a prime time for buying things that are either unwanted, don’t work properly or don’t fit. But… buying on credit can give you protection. If you buy goods or services on your credit card, you have extra protection if things go wrong, compared with paying by cash or even debit card, under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. Continue reading →
Your credit score is often seen as the key that could unlock access to better credit deals, mortgage approvals & more. But who decides your credit score? And what are the factors that most affect it?
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 a credit score for you. 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 is no ‘one’ universal credit score. Different lenders can score differently, using their own formulae based on their own factors – there really is no ‘magic number’.
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. Usually, a higher score means you’re seen as lower risk – meaning you’re more likely to get credit, and at better rates.
Your Experian Credit Score is not set in stone – it’s a living, breathing thing and it changes along with your own financial behaviour. Getting your credit score up could open up the potential chance to get better loans – and at better rates.
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.
Review 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.
You can also send in general credit or ID Fraud questions to James Jones, our Head of Consumer Affairs, who regularly answers queries on his popular Ask James column – a selection of which we regularly feature in this blog.