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Why is my credit score low?

Written byKoyo Loans
Last Updated29th November 2022
Contents
  • Introduction 
  • Why is my credit score low? 
  • Why did my credit score go down when nothing changed? 
  • Why is my credit score different on different sites UK? 
  • Do I have a credit score? 
  • Are credit scores important? 
  • Do married couples share credit scores? 
  • Why do you need to know your credit score? 
  • Is checking your credit score bad? 
  • Conclusion 

In 30 seconds… 

Checking your credit score periodically is a good thing, but it’s crucial to understand exactly what it is and what it means. Provided as a three-digit number, your score will vary from one bureau to another, as Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian all have different scoring systems. Your credit score is also important as it will affect your ability to apply for loans and other forms of credit. Lots of factors can cause your credit score to dip, be it missed or late payments, changes to your credit utilisation rate, or due to errors on your report.

Introduction 

Understanding your credit score is important if you’re planning to apply for any form of credit. If you don’t know what your credit score is, you won’t be able to work out your eligibility for credit. Below, we answer some important questions relating to your creditworthiness and explain why knowing your credit score is so crucial. 

Why is my credit score low? 

There are multiple factors that negatively affect your credit score, so it could be low for a number of reasons. This is why it’s so important to regularly check your credit score so you can take the necessary steps to increase it before applying for credit. 

Your credit score could be low because of missed or late payments, changes to your credit utilisation rate, recent credit applications, closing old accounts, or perhaps even because of errors on your report. Although inaccuracies in your credit report are not widespread, they can have a detrimental impact on your score, so it’s beneficial to rectify them wherever possible. 

The key thing to remember is that even if you have a low credit score, you can take certain steps to improve it. Checking your file is up to date, making all repayments on time, and lowering the balances on your credit cards can all help to improve your credit score. So, don’t panic if you have a low credit score, and put a plan in place to improve it. 

Why did my credit score go down when nothing changed? 

Your credit score doesn’t drop for no reason at all. Something relating to your credit will have influenced your given score, so it’s important to look through your report to see what exactly has affected your current score. 

Granted, some people’s credit score drops due to a mistake, but this isn’t particularly common. But if you’ve reviewed your credit report and have noticed an anomaly, it’s vital to take it up with the credit bureau as soon as you identify it. Errors in your report will affect your chances of applying for credit in the future, so it’s important that your file is accurate. 

You should also consider recent credit applications that you have made, as these influence your credit score. When you apply for credit from a lender, they perform a hard inquiry on your credit report, which causes your score to dip in the short term. For most people, this is only a temporary dip, and your score will recover if you make your payments on time and keep your credit utilisation rate low. 

Why is my credit score different on different sites UK? 

Your credit score will appear differently with each of the UK’s credit bureaus. This is because they have different ways of scoring credit. While this might seem a little confusing, it’s really important to be aware of the differences between each agency. 

Below are the ways in which each of the UK’s major credit bureaus currently scores your credit history: 

Experian 

  • Very poor: 0-560 
  • Poor: 561-720 
  • Fair: 721-880 
  • Good: 881-960 
  • Excellent: 961-999 

Equifax 

  • Very poor: 0-299 
  • Poor: 300-579 
  • Fair: 580-639 
  • Good: 670-739 
  • Very good: 740-799 
  • Excellent: 800-850 

TransUnion 

  • Very poor: 0-550 
  • Poor: 551-565 
  • Fair: 566-603 
  • Good: 604-627 
  • Excellent: 628-710 

As you can see, it’s vital that you consider the different scoring strategies of each bureau to get a representation of your current credit score, as what is deemed ‘good’ by one is not true of another. 

Do I have a credit score? 

The majority of UK adults have a credit score. If you have opened at least one account with a creditor and it has been active for at least six months, you will have a credit score. 

You can check your credit score at one of the UK’s three major credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. As mentioned above, your score will differ from site to site, so it’s a good idea to request your score from each bureau individually. Anything related to credit – be it spending on a credit card or applying for a personal loan – is documented on your credit file and thus contributes to your overall credit score. 

If you’ve never applied for credit, are under the age of eighteen, or are a new arrival in the UK, you won’t have a credit score. In order to get one, you will need to build a credit history, which takes several months. A credit score is vital in the UK, as you’re unlikely to be able to access credit without one. 

Are credit scores important? 

If you’re planning to borrow money, your credit score is important. It’s the main thing that lenders use to determine your creditworthiness, and in most instances, it will influence whether or not your application is successful. 

While it might not seem like a big deal at this stage of your life, you need to be mindful that any missed payments, defaults, and court judgements stay on your file for six years, so the financial decisions you make now will influence your ability to borrow money into the future. Therefore, you need to be mindful of how you manage your credit and be responsible with your financial decisions if you’re planning to access credit in the future. 

The good news is that you can take steps to build a credit file or improve your credit score, but it takes time and needs to be undertaken over a period of several months. So, the more responsible you are with your personal finances and everything related to credit, the better your credit score will be and the more likely you are to be able to borrow money when you need it. 

Do married couples share credit scores? 

Some married couples influence one another’s credit scores, but it depends on how they manage their finances. If you open a joint account with your spouse or take out a joint loan, for instance, both of your credit scores will be considered by the lender. 

But some couples maintain their financial independence after tying the knot and don’t combine their finances. In this case, your credit scores don’t influence one another’s ability to access credit, even though you’re married. This is because none of the UK’s credit bureaus includes marital status in their records, so the fact that you’re now married doesn’t make a difference if you retain your financial independence. 

You should also be aware that there’s no such thing as a joint or couples credit score. You will always maintain your own credit score, even if you combine your finances with your spouse. Just be mindful that a lender will take both of your scores into consideration when reviewing your application, so bear this in mind before deciding whether or not to apply jointly. 

Why do you need to know your credit score? 

The main reason why you need to know your credit score is that it influences your ability to borrow money. If you don’t know your credit score, there’s no way of knowing whether you’re eligible for credit before applying. 

Checking your credit score regularly enables you to do something about it if your score is poor before submitting an application. Not only will this save you time, but it will also save your score from taking a hit. Every time you submit a credit application, the lender will perform a hard inquiry on your credit file, which in turn has a negative impact on your score. 

What’s more, knowing your credit score provides you with a realistic picture of your financial circumstances. It might highlight your need to lower your utilisation rate or consolidate your debts by taking out a personal loan, for instance. It’s free to check your credit score with the UK’s credit bureaus, so it’s undoubtedly worth taking steps to find out. 

Is checking your credit score bad? 

Checking your credit score is ultimately a good thing. It provides you with an insight into your creditworthiness and illustrates how likely you are to be approved for any form of credit as and when you apply. 

What’s more, checking your credit score doesn’t appear on your credit file, so you don’t need to worry about your score taking a hit. It’s also free to check your credit score, so there’s absolutely no reason not to check it at regular intervals. Whether you check it once every six months or once a year, it’s good to understand how the bureaus regard your creditworthiness.

Another thing to remember is that the bureaus score your credit history in different ways, so it’s worthwhile checking your score with each of them. As we’ve already explained, a good score with Experian isn’t necessarily a good score with TransUnion, so understanding the differences ensures you get a good picture of how your creditworthiness is viewed by each of the bureaus. 

Conclusion 

The reality is that so many factors can influence your credit score, making it important to understand the composition of your score before accessing credit. You can check your score for free with each of the UK’s credit bureaus, so checking it a few times a year will ensure you have a good idea of your likelihood of being approved for credit.

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 

Your credit score is important as it will affect your ability to borrow money. You should check it periodically to identify and rectify any mistakes and to take the necessary action to improve it before applying for a loan. However, always bear in mind that you will have more than one credit score, as each of the three UK credit bureaus uses a different scoring system. 

Unless you have made a joint loan application, your credit score will not be affected by your spouse. Your marital status does not appear on your credit report, and even when you are married, you will retain your own credit score. You won’t be penalised for checking your credit score, and you can do so for free by contacting one of the credit bureaus. 

Ultimately, before applying for any form of credit, it makes sense to check your score. Not only will it illustrate your likelihood of being approved, but it will also help you identify any aspects of your credit history that you need to resolve before submitting an application. This will save you from making a number of futile credit applications.

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