The Scottish Mail on Sunday

Five ways to boost your credit score

- By Jo Thorn­hill

HALF of all bor­row­ers ap­ply­ing for a mort­gage, new credit card or loan have never checked their credit file or credit score. This is de­spite the fact that any is­sues in their credit his­tory or mis­takes recorded against their name could mean they are turned down for a loan.

Check­ing that a credit file is ac­cu­rate – and boost­ing a per­sonal credit score – are vi­tal keys to smooth­ing the path to bor­row­ing. The Mail on Sun­day ex­plains how to im­prove a credit score and cor­rect er­rors held on a file to help en­sure fu­ture bor­row­ing is ap­proved.

REG­IS­TER on the elec­toral roll. This is the best way for lenders to ac­cu­rately iden­tify you and rule out fraud­u­lent loan ap­pli­ca­tions made in your name. It also boosts cred­it­wor­thi­ness in the eyes of fi­nan­cial com­pa­nies. It takes just five min­utes to do at­is­ter-to-vote.

USE credit sen­si­bly. Three main credit ref­er­ence agen­cies – Ex­pe­rian, Call­credit and Equifax – record data on loan and util­ity pay­ments made, or missed, by cus­tomers.

Their files are open to would-be lenders such as banks and credit card com­pa­nies be­fore they make a de­ci­sion to lend. Some also pro­vide a credit score, usu­ally be­tween zero and 999.

Con­sumers with­out a credit card or a loan of­ten have a low credit score. This is be­cause lenders need to see ev­i­dence of good debt man­age­ment. Take out a credit card and make re­pay­ments on time to help build a good pic­ture of your credit wor­thi­ness.

KEEP your home phone. In the age of mo­bile phones many house­holds have dis­posed of their land­lines, but a home phone of­ten sig­nals fi­nan­cial sta­bil­ity, par­tic­u­larly if you have lived at the same ad­dress for a num­ber of years.

CLOSE old credit or bank ac­counts. If you have credit cards which you no longer use con­tact the provider and close them. If an ac­count is still open – even if there is no bal­ance on the card – lenders may think you al­ready have ac­cess to more credit than you need as there will be a credit limit on the un­used cards. RE­SIST ap­ply­ing for ex­tra credit. If your credit score is low or you have had pay­ment prob­lems in the past do not ap­ply for fur­ther cards or loans. A re­jec­tion for credit will show up like a red flag on your credit file and can af­fect your abil­ity to bor­row in the fu­ture.

Con­cen­trate on clear­ing ex­ist­ing bal­ances and mak­ing re­pay­ments on time to re­store a score be­fore mak­ing new credit ap­pli­ca­tions.

 ??  ?? MONEY MEA­SURE: Bor­row­ers ne­glect to check their rat­ing
MONEY MEA­SURE: Bor­row­ers ne­glect to check their rat­ing

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