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How to improve a credit score?

Written byKoyo Loans
Last Updated26th October 2022
Contents
  • In 30 seconds…
  • Introduction
  • How to improve a credit score?
  • How to check a credit score?
  • How to improve a credit score immediately?
  • How does a credit score work?
  • How is a credit score calculated?
  • How long does it take to improve a credit score?
  • How often does your credit score update?
  • Conclusion

In 30 seconds…

Improving your credit score increases your chances of being approved for credit. Your first step is to request your score from one of the UK’s credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion. You should check that your details are correct and that there are no obvious errors. While there are some things you can do to improve your credit score quickly, it’s a long-term process and will take several months. Your credit score updates regularly as lenders submit new information to the bureaus, so it’s important to set a plan in motion as soon as you can.

Introduction

Checking your credit score and taking the necessary steps to improve it is a good way to improve your chances of being approved for credit. The vast majority of lenders will only approve your application if you meet their credit score requirement, so you need to know where you stand. Below, we introduce some ways that you can improve your credit score and explain how long it’s likely to take for you to see an improvement.

 

How to improve a credit score?

Your credit score is one of the most critical factors of your financial health, and taking steps to improve it is in your best interests. The good news is that you can take a number of steps to improve your credit score and increase your chances of being approved for credit. 

A good first step is to review your credit reports. You can request a report from each of the three major credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. When you receive the report, you can find out what is harming and helping your score. You should also check your personal details on the report and ensure any mistakes are rectified. Errors on a credit report can unfairly impact your score, so it’s important to identify and correct them wherever possible. 

Another tip is to get on top of your bill payments. Missed or late payments are detrimental to your credit report and will harm your chances of borrowing money. If you’re struggling to make your current repayments, debt consolidation could help you, as it can be an effective way of centralising all of your debts while reducing your payments at the same time. The sooner you get on top of your monthly repayments, the more chance you have of improving your credit score. 

How to check a credit score?

The best way to check your credit score is to contact one of the three major credit bureaus directly to request a report. For instance, you can check your credit score for free with Experian, the UK’s biggest credit reporting agency. 

Checking your credit score before applying for credit is a smart move, as it will give you a good idea of whether or not your application is likely to be approved. Submitting multiple applications to different lenders in a short space of time is bad for your credit score, as the lenders perform what is known as a ‘hard check,’ which is logged on your file. 

However, if you check your credit score before submitting an application, you can check if you meet the eligibility criteria set out by the lender before applying. Not only will this save you time and effort, but it will also protect your credit score from too many hard checks in a short space of time. So, if you’re about to apply for a personal loan or any other form of credit, consider checking your credit score ahead of time. 

How to improve a credit score immediately?

The truth of the matter is that it takes a little bit of time to improve your credit score, and it’s difficult to boost your score overnight. That being said, there are some simple steps you can take right away to make a positive impact on your score.

The easiest thing to do is to register on the electoral roll at your current address. This is an incredibly simple step, but it will set you off in the right direction. You should also ensure that you make your regular payments on time to show potential lenders that you’re a responsible and reliable borrower. It’s also helpful to lower your credit utilisation below 30%, as this will also be seen positively by lenders. 

Another potential option is to apply for an instant score boost with Experian, which could give your credit score an immediate boost. The process enables you to share information regarding your regular payments, including council tax, Netflix subscriptions, and various other everyday bills. If you show that you pay often and on time, you could be eligible for a boost. Not all lenders use the service, but it’s worth checking out all the same.

How does a credit score work?

Your credit score is given as a number that lenders use as a reflection of your creditworthiness. A low credit score indicates that you pose a financial risk to lenders, while a higher score suggests that you’re much more likely to make the stipulated payments on time. 

There are three major credit bureaus in the UK – TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax, and their job is to collate your financial information. They consider various aspects of your financial history, which all contribute to your overall score. The more responsible you have been with your finances in the past, the higher your credit score will be. 

While each credit agency considers the same criteria to create your credit score, they actually score credit differently from one another. For instance, Experian considers a good credit score to be between 881 and 960, while Equifax rates scores between 420 and 465 as good. TransUnion stipulates that scores between 604 and 627 are good, so it’s important to understand the differences between each of the agencies. 

How is a credit score calculated?

Each credit agency utilises a credit scoring model to arrive at your credit score. They take into account a broad range of factors relating to your financial history and consider how likely you are to repay any money that you borrow in the future. 

Specifically, lenders consider your payment history, how much you owe, the length of your credit history, the types of accounts you have and your recent credit activity when deciding upon your score. Your payment history typically makes up approximately one-third of your credit score calculation, highlighting why it’s so important to be consistent with your monthly repayments. 

Once calculated, your score is given as a three-digit number and will be classified on a scale ranging from very poor to excellent. Most lenders want to see at least a fair credit score before approving an application, but there are lenders that specialise in providing credit to people with poor scores. However, if you have a poor credit score, you will find that it’s more difficult to access credit, and the interest rates that you’re offered will be high.

How long does it take to improve a credit score?

Working on your credit score is a long-term process, and you can’t expect to see results overnight. When you set a plan in motion, it can take anywhere between a few months and a few years to see significant improvements in your credit score. 

That being said, there are a few things you can do that will yield quick improvements. For instance, registering on the electoral roll and applying for an instant credit boost can be beneficial ways of improving your credit score quickly. However, it can take more than a year for your credit score to recover from a missed or defaulted payment, highlighting just how important it is to keep your finances in check. 

If you’re able to show an improvement in your financial management over the course of one year, you will start seeing improvements in your credit score. So, lay out an action plan today and begin taking the necessary steps toward enhancing your credit file. After all, there’s no time like the present to start improving the way that you manage your finances. 

How often does your credit score update?

In the UK, credit reports are updated when lenders provide new information to the credit reporting agencies. This typically happens every 30-45 days, but some lenders may update agencies more frequently than this.

So, if you’ve recently made a significant repayment on your credit card, it might take more than a month for it to show up on your credit report. This is another reason why it’s difficult to improve your credit score quickly, and you’re unlikely to see significant changes in your score until at least one month has passed. 

If you want to, you can request details of your credit score every week, but it’s not really necessary. That being said, it is helpful to check your credit score periodically, so you can keep on track of the way that credit bureaus view you as a potential borrower.

Conclusion

If you haven’t done so already, it’s a good idea to get in touch with one of the UK’s credit bureaus to find out your current credit score. You can then take the necessary steps to improve your score before submitting an application, to provide you with the best possible chance of being approved. 

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Key Takeaways

Improving your credit score is a smart move, but it’s not something you can achieve overnight. While checking your details and registering to vote are quick and easy steps to take, paying your bills on time and making regular repayments is a process that requires time and effort on your part. Essentially, lenders want to gauge your creditworthiness over time, so the sooner you can start working on your score, the better. 

Checking your credit score with one of the UK’s bureaus is free and easy, making it the ideal first step. Once you have your credit score, you can ascertain how likely you are to be approved for a credit application. This will then motivate you to put a plan in place to improve your credit score over time. 

The key thing to remember is that it can take several months, if not years, for your credit score to recover from missed payments. If you’re struggling to stay on top of things, taking out a loan for debt consolidation or looking at other ways to improve your debt management is an important step to take.

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