Check your credit report
Before you start any activity to try to improve your credit score you need to know exactly what information credit agencies hold about you and if any information is incorrect. The three main agencies are Experian, Equifax and Callcredit, each of them offer a free online trial but make sure you understand how to cancel and set a reminder for the date when you need to give your notice otherwise you will have to pay the monthly fee which is around £15 per month.
You can also get your credit file by post from each of these agencies for around £2. It would be advisable to get your credit report from all three agencies as they often have mismatching data about customers and every mortgage lender may use a different one. Callcredit (Noddle) and ClearScore, who use Equifax data offer free access to your credit report for life.
Your credit score doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be approved for a mortgage or offered the lowest interest rates as this is not the only factor in a lenders decision but it is a very good way to increase your chances. A good credit score with Callcredit is scoring 4 out of 5, with Equifax 420 out of 700 and Experian 880 out of 999.
Action any Key issues on your credit report
To improve your credit score there are a number of things you can do, some of these are quick fixes, and others you need to do over some time.
1. Register on the electoral roll – if your name is not on there you will find it much harder to get credit and this is always one of the top things that is suggested by the three agencies. If you are registered but one of the agencies shows you are not you need to write to them with evidence and they must action this within 28 days of receiving your letter. You can register to vote online or by post.
2. Check for any mistakes, even the tiniest detail incorrectly spelt or missing can have a major effect so ensure all names and addressed plus other details are 100% accurate.
3. Check Linked accounts – if you are linked to another family member who has a poor credit score this will impact on you.
4. Lower your level of existing debt, this is crucial for a lender to see how you manage your debt. Credit cards should have a less than 10% of total balance so start paying these off if you are serious about getting a mortgage.
5. Close old accounts, if you have accounts that you no longer use, close them down as this too can affect your score.
6. Pay on Time, this is one of the most important ways to prove to a lender that you are a responsible borrower. Late or missed payments can stay on your report for up to six years so always try to stay within your credit limit and if you keep forgetting to pay your bills, automate the payments with direct debits or standing orders.
Use a Mortgage Broker to reduce Credit Searches
Another way to protect your credit score from having multiple harmful credit searches on your file is to use a broker, a broker will get the applications you need without you needing to do multiple applications, each of which would be recorded on your credit file. Read about more of the benefits of a mortgage broker, and get in touch with us for any more information or with any questions. We are always happy to help you.