Are you registered to vote in the UK? Yesterday Prime Minister Theresa May announced a General Election to take place on 8 June. To be eligible to vote, it’s likely you’ll need to register by midnight Monday 22 May. And did you know that being on the Electoral Roll could also help improve your credit score?
Here are five things you should know about registering to vote:
1. How registering to vote could help improve your credit score. It’s important that your credit report includes your Electoral Roll details, as lenders use this information to help confirm your name, address and where you’ve lived before. This info usually has to be up to date before they are willing to offer a mortgage, a loan or any other form of financial account. Continue reading →
Looking for a new car? Whether you’ve gone for a brand new model or a second-hand purchase, you may need to pay for it in stages with a loan or hire purchase.
With these types of finance, a good credit rating can be the difference between getting a good interest rate or not, or sometimes getting any deal at all.
How much did you spend on your first car?
Many of us will have handed over a few hundred pounds at most just to get our young hands on a car of our own, even if it had seen better days. Well, things have changed these days, witha generation gap when it comes to car-buying habits. One in five 18-24 year olds, rather than buying a used and fairly old car, now chooses to lease their car. This is more than double any other age group, with just 5% of 41-45 year olds, and 6% of 46-50 year olds choosing this type of credit.* Continue reading →
Car finance is one of the most common examples of how we pay for ‘large ticket’ items, and a good credit rating can be the difference between getting a good interest rate or not, or sometimes getting any deal at all.
What are your car finance options?
If you decide to borrow credit to buy a car, the marketplace is vast, with plenty of rate and payment options. It’s worth comparing different loans and methods of finance so you get the one that’s best suited to your needs.
Share a credit account? Then you share credit report information too. Sharing finances can mean you’re more linked than you think, as lenders will often look at both of your credit reports when assessing your credit.
If and when you apply for credit together, lenders will be able to see your partner’s financial information too and may use this when they make a decision about you when you next apply for credit. So we’ve put some tips to help you get up to speed with shared finances and credit.
Five top things you need to know about love and money
Financial association means thatyour credit reportcan become linked to someone else’s through joint financial activity. This could be applying for a mortgage, opening a joint credit account, or in some cases even being on the same broadband or utility contract.
Your credit report will only contain your financial information, but will show the name of anyone you share a financial connection with. If you share a credit application, each of you would see the other’s name in the section of your Experian Credit Report entitled ‘Financial Associations’.
A new world of university life is shortly set to open up for thousands of teenagers.
Most new students realise they’ll leave university with a loan they’ll spend years having to pay back once they’ve made it into the world of work.
But new research shows that new graduates will face average debt levels over a third of the average outstanding mortgage.
By the time they start paying back their loans – maintenance and tuition fees – their debts will be well in excess of £41,000, according to The Money Charity, which is 35% of the average outstanding mortgage (£117,162).
The summer months are often when love can bloom as people enjoy the sun and fun. People pair up with each other for all sorts of reasons, but is it true that one of the biggest is the way they manage their finances?
Well, could it be that most women prefer a man who’s responsible with money to a George Clooney lookalike with a degree?
A nationwide Experian survey of couples in relationships in 2014* asked if financial responsibility would make someone more attractive. 29% in total said it would, while 35% of women said this would make a male ‘much more attractive’.
However, 3 in 4 of women (75%) said they rated financial prudence more attractive than appearance, education or background, and on a par with intelligence (74%).*
I had a debt relief order about two years ago and I don’t understand why it is still saying that my credit rating is bad?
It’s great that you’ve taken steps to regain control of your finances using a debt relief order (DRO). Assuming this is now fully discharged your debts should have been cleared or at least written off, which is a positive step forward for you. Unfortunately, your credit rating is likely to take a little longer to recover as your credit report looks back over the past six years of your borrowing history. But there may be things you can do to improve your credit rating right now.
Start by checking your credit report to make sure the DRO has been updated as ‘discharged’. If it hasn’t then please tell us. You should find that the accounts that were included in your DRO are shown separately on your report, which is quite usual. These accounts are likely to be shown as defaults, as you broke the terms of your agreements. Like the DRO, defaults stay on your report for six years, from the original date of default. Importantly, any defaults should also be marked as satisfied or partially settled so if any aren’t you should contact the relevant lender. If you need help, ask us to raise a query with them on your behalf. Your credit rating is likely to improve in the short term once the DRO and any individual defaults are marked as cleared, and in the medium term as they get older. Some lenders will rate your most recent credit history more highly than events that took place several years ago. However, some lenders may also have a policy whereby they refuse applicants that have a default on their credit report regardless of how old it is and whether it has been paid or not.
Additionally, if the reason for you defaulting was the result of something out of your control – such as losing your job or a serious illness – you might benefit from explaining this on your credit report. Simply send us a statement of up to 200 words describing any relevant circumstances and we’ll add this to your report. Known as a notice of correction, lenders will see this when they check your report in the future and should factor it in to their decision. Please note we can’t add a statement that is frivolous, factually incorrect or defamatory (January 2016)
You can find archived Ask James questions arranged under subject headings such as ‘applying for credit’, ‘credit and debt’ and ‘fraud’ at the main Ask James page.
A soft credit check, or soft credit search, is an inquiry that occurs when a person or company checks your credit report as a background check. Instead, it looks at key pieces of information to check an individual’s credit worthiness, so that lenders can assess whether the individual will be successful in applying before carrying out the full examination of a credit report.
When a lender searches your credit report, they’re looking to see how you manage your credit now, and how you’ve managed it in the past. This search is then recorded on your credit report for future lenders to see. This is useful to lenders because if you’ve made a lot of applications for credit recently, it could suggest to them that you have an urgent need for credit which you may struggle to pay back. 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.