Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Beginners Guide To Applying For Credit & Improving Your Credit Score Tips

For those that may want to get a better idea of how to get a high credit rating score then I have provided some steps which I have learnt through research that can help improve your credit score. Please note, this is merely advice and tips that I have picked up. It is very hard to pinpoint how to improve a credit score individually if you are doing most things right in the first place.

The first thing that I have learnt from reading up on finance is that it is good to apply for credit if you are likely to be approved for the credit that you are applying for. Examples of this would be to choose a credit card for example with a very low spend available if this is your first credit card. You will be more likely to be approved if you ask for very little. The reason for this is that companies do not know if you are a risk yet when you borrow money so they will want to see that you can pay back in full and on time or at least be making the minimum payments. Remember that if you show that you can pay back the money that you borrow then you are likely to also be eligible for an increase in credit. If you are choosing a first credit card, make sure you research 'credit building' credit cards. These usually have a high rate of interest but if you are committed to paying these type of credit card off and are disciplined enough, once you build up a good payment history, you should start to get offered products and services with lower interest rates.

So if you have got yourself a credit card, whether it be your first card or an existing one or even if you have been using credit cards a long time, there are some rules to stick within to keep your credit score in check. In no particular order try your best to do the following things:-

1) Never spend more than you can afford - this is important as if you spend more than you earn you can get quickly drawn into debts building up and you will regret it if you start being unable to pay back the money as your credit score will suffer and could cause you problems being approved for credit, products or services in the future.

2) If you can, make the payment for the FULL balance on your account each month. This will look good over time as you will have lower interest rates offered to you, better deals on products and services and a good credit score could help you in many ways in the future such as being approved for a mortgage or a loan. If you cannot make the FULL balance payment on your credit card the second best thing to do is pay an amount ABOVE the minimum payment as this will be better than just making the minimum payment or defaulting on payment which are frowned upon - you could risk lenders not wanting to lend to you in future if you cannot meet payments.

3) It is generally a good rule to try and actually spend between 10-30% of your credit limit on your card. Spending too little is not favourable as the lenders want you to be using the card. If you do not use the card at all, this can lower your credit score as there is no trace of you spending the borrowed money and re-paying it, which is what they want to see. Close any credit accounts that you are not using if you have no intention of using the money available, having an amount of money not being utilised is actually potentially more harmful than not having a credit card at all, the sooner you close the account the better off you are. Also spending too much on a credit card is looked at as a bad thing. If it appears that you are spending near to the credit limit on your credit card, even if you pay this back, it looks like you are relying on this money and you may be seen as a risk.

4) Remember that you can ask for a credit increase or a credit decrease to keep within the 10-30% spend rule. If you do ask for a credit increase, ask for something small at first, you will be less likely to be declined. It is recommended to ask for a credit increase after at least 6 months of making full re-payments on time. If you do want a credit decrease you may need to explain to the company why this is the case as they will want a reason for changing this for you.

5) Do not apply for lots of different financial products around the same time. When you have a new financial product such as a loan or a credit card, having these open for a long period of time whilst demonstrating that you can pay the money back is the perfect way to increase your chances of being approved for other products. If you apply for too many products within a short space of time this looks like you are desperate for money and financially unstable and you risk being rejected.

6) If you have been rejected for credit do not apply for credit again in quick succession of being rejected. You may need to build your credit score up further before you can get approved. Some companies have different criteria for approving lending credit but it is important to remember to apply for products that you are likely to be accepted for. Applying for a 0% interest credit card or loan would be a big gamble if you have not borrowed money before. There are some websites that can make recommendations for you with this based on your income, your level of previous borrowing and your history of payments.

7) Put yourself on the Electoral Roll. Even if you have no intention of voting, being on the Electoral Roll gives your potential lender an insight into that you are living at an address permanently at that point in time. Make sure all of your financial products are registered to the same address too. If you have all of your financial products signed up to one address you look less of a threat than someone that is constantly moving around or registering products to multiple address (which to be fair looks suspicious!)

8) Look at your credit report online. Check for any inaccuracies and disputes that you have. If an address is incorrect or a company has indicated that you have made a late payment when this was not the case, then you need to sort out these anomalies or your future credit score could be in jeopardy.

I hope that you have learnt something from these tips. I shall probably update this page as I am bound to think of more things to add at some point. The higher your credit score, the more benefits you could have in the future (better interest rates on mortgages, cheaper car insurance prices, etc.) Get cracking today to build your credit picture for tomorrow.

I found out something great this week. Some websites that give you a free credit report, you can actually get cashback by signing up for this. You would need to go via a cashback website first such as Quidco and you could choose a company such as Equifax to show you your credit score and credit report. Please note though, some of these credit report websites lure you in by offering you a 'free trial' but a lot of them ask for your card details so they can take out money once your free trial is over. You will need to remember to cancel before the free trial ends or otherwise you may get charged. I have just earned £6 cashback for going via Quidco and signing up to Equifax.