Why your stubborn credit score isn't going up

Making sure your credit report is in good shape is important if you want to get a mortgage, credit card, loan or any other type of credit.

If you're checking regularly in advance of an upcoming mortgage application or loan request, for example, you might be on your best behaviour and hoping to see your score climb. After all, the best rates are often reserved for those with the best scores.

In some cases, however, your score might have stubbornly remained the same.

Here are some things that could help you understand why your credit score isn't budging.

If you're a creature of habit

Just because you're playing by the rules, doesn't mean your score will improve. If you have the same credit cards and routinely pay them off each month, then your score will simply stay the same because nothing has changed.

Time is a great healer

This old saying is also true of your credit score. Paying all your bills on time for one month is not enough to boost your score. You need to have a longer track record of behaving like a responsible borrower – that is, borrowing money and repaying it on time. Be patient!

Updates aren't real-time

You may need to wait for updates to be made to your credit report. It can take 4-6 weeks for new account information to show up on your file as credit reference agencies rely on information being provided by lenders. If they are behind with their updates, there will be a delay.

Did you know? It's not just the score that counts

Lenders will look at your credit score when dealing with an application for credit. But their lending decision won't be made on the score alone. They will scrutinise the whole report to get an overall picture of the kind of borrower they are considering.

This is a good reason for making sure you have actioned a "financial disassociation" from any ex-partners you may have held a mortgage or any other kind of credit with.