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Does checking your credit score lower it?

Written byKoyo Loans
Last Updated26th October 2022
Contents
  • In 30 seconds…
  • Introduction
  • Does checking your credit score lower it? 
  • Do late payments affect a credit score?
  • Does switching banks affect a credit score? 
  • Does tax credit overpayment affect a credit score? 
  • Does voting affect your credit score? 
  • Conclusion

In 30 seconds…

Multiple factors influence your credit score. For instance, making late payments will cause your credit score to lower, while the simple step of registering to vote will boost your credit score. You can check your credit score for free, and it won’t impact your score, as it’s regarded as a soft inquiry. Switching banks might also affect your credit score, but tax credit overpayment won’t, as HMRC does not report to credit agencies. Still, a broad range of factors can affect your credit score, so it’s important to be aware of them.

Introduction

You’re probably aware that a range of aspects can affect your credit score. From late payments to multiple credit applications in a short space of time, it’s important to be aware of what could affect your ability to access a personal loan or other forms of credit. Below, we answer some frequently asked questions about various things that affect your credit score, which will help you as you plan to borrow money.

 

Does checking your credit score lower it? 

When you check your own credit score, it is considered a soft inquiry. Therefore, it does not negatively affect your credit score. On the other hand, hard inquiries performed by lenders can impact your credit score. 

A soft inquiry occurs when you check your credit score yourself or when a lender runs a check to prequalify you for an offer. These checks don’t impact your credit score because they’re not part of an official application for credit. So, if you want to check your credit score before submitting a personal loan application, feel free to do so, and it won’t affect your overall score. 

You can check your credit score as often as you like, and it’s always a good idea to check it before applying for any form of credit. A quick check can ensure there aren’t any problems with your score that could impact your chances of approval. As a general rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to check your credit score at least once a year, so you can monitor your progress. 

Do late payments affect a credit score?

Late payments are likely to hurt your credit score. According to Experian, if you’re more than thirty days late with a payment, it will appear on your credit file and is likely to worsen your credit score as a result. 

The reason for the thirty-day window is that creditors use codes to share information with the agencies. There’s no code to signify a payment that is between one and 29 days late, which is why a payment won’t be deemed as late until it is at least thirty days past its due date. So, if you have missed a payment, you have up to thirty days to put it right. 

But the further you fall behind on your payments, the worse your credit score will become, so it’s really important to make your repayments on time. Another thing to note is that missed payments stay on your credit file for seven years, so missing a payment can significantly impact your ability to access credit long into the future. 

Does switching banks affect a credit score? 

In most instances, switching banks shouldn’t affect your credit score. This is because a normal bank account is not a form of credit, so switching to another bank or building society shouldn’t have a negative impact on your credit score. 

However, certain aspects of the switch might influence your credit score. For instance, if you apply for an overdraft with your new bank, they will perform a check on your credit file, which will cause a short-term dip in your credit score. This isn’t likely to have a long-term impact on your credit file, but it’s worth bearing in mind. 

If you’re interested in switching banks, you can use the Current Account Switch Service to get started. Switching bank accounts can earn and save you money, and you can benefit from a range of perks by choosing a new bank. You will also be able to apply for a range of financial services with your new bank, which is another reason for switching. 

Does tax credit overpayment affect a credit score? 

A tax credit overpayment occurs when the HMRC pays a person back more working tax credit than they are due in a financial year. In essence, when you are paid too much in credits by HMRC, you owe the government money. 

However, the debts that you owe to HMRC as a result of tax credit overpayment will not impact your credit score. When you owe money to HMRC, they might reduce your tax credits for a period while you pay the money back, or you may even be asked to pay the full amount in one go. Whatever your situation, it’s best to inform HMRC of the overpayment as soon as you notice it. 

If you’re struggling to pay HMRC back for whatever reason, you can apply for their Time to Pay Arrangement, which allows you to spread the cost of the debt over a longer period of time. The period offered is typically between six and twelve months. To be approved for a longer Time to Pay Arrangement, you will need to offer HMRC evidence that you’re struggling to pay the money back.

Does voting affect your credit score? 

Registering to vote is one of the easiest ways to improve your credit score. When you register on the electoral roll, the details are recorded on your credit file, which enables lenders to verify your name and address. 

It’s really easy to register to vote, and it takes a matter of minutes. Simply head over to the government’s website and submit your information. Not only will this enable you to vote in the upcoming elections, but it will also boost your credit score when the agencies take note of the changes. 

If you have recently moved house or arrived in the UK from abroad, registering to vote should be one of the first things you do if you’re hoping to build a credit file. Even if you have no intention of voting, you should still register on the electoral roll as it won’t affect you in any negative way. 

Conclusion

The key thing to remember is that there are so many things that can influence your credit score. Therefore, it’s important to be responsible with your personal finances and to research various actions before carrying them out. Your credit file stays current for seven years, which is a long time when you consider your credit needs in that period, so try and maintain good habits to keep a positive credit score. 

Koyo Loans is the trading name of BETR Technology Ltd. Company No. 11483187. Registered Office: Huckletree Soho, Ingestre Court, Ingestre Place, London, W1f 0JL

Key Takeaways

Contrary to popular belief, checking your credit score does not lower it. However, one of the biggest threats to your credit score is missing payments, and your score can take more than a year to recover from one missed payment. Missed payments also stay on your file for seven years, highlighting why it’s so important to be organised as far as your monthly repayments are concerned. 

If you decide to switch banks, make sure you apply for an arranged overdraft should you wish to use one, as unarranged overdrafts aren’t good for your score. Also, although the money that you owe to HMRC doesn’t appear on your credit file, you should still pay it back on time, as owing the government money is never a good thing.

A super simple way of boosting your credit score is registering on the electoral roll, which you can do for free online. This informs the credit bureaus of your current address and is an effective way of improving your credit score with very little effort. So, remember that various factors affect your credit score, and it’s really important to be aware of them so you can work on your creditworthiness. 

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