Your credit score is your license to spend. When it comes to big and important purchases, a poor credit score can often result in you being rejected. Nowadays, everyone from rental property landlords to phone contractors will credit check you before allowing you to use their service. This can be frustrating if you’ve got a low credit score as you may find that you have no financial freedom.
Fortunately, you can repair a low credit score. Here are just a few ways to boost your credit rating a get your financial freedom back.
Make sure that you have a credit history
If you’re young and have never borrowed money before or had to pay a direct debit, you may be getting rejected during credit checks simply due to the fact that you have no credit history. Because of this, lenders may have no idea how good you are with money. Generally speaking, you’ll only get rejected for not having a credit history when taking out a big loan. By taking out a small loan first and proving that you can pay this debt back, you will gain the trust of lenders and can start to take out bigger loans.
Reduce your debts
Having too many debts will not do any favours for your credit score. Try to pay some of these debts off whichever way you can. Make cutbacks to your spending such as driving less and budgeting your food shop, and throw this excess money at your debts. If you’re drowning in deep debt, there are companies out there that can help you get out of debt by negotiating with creditors. Debt settlements should be pursued before considering the extreme step of declaring yourself bankrupt (going bankrupt could ruin you financially forever).
Start making bill payments on time
Every time you fail to make a bill payment, your credit score goes down. Make sure that you’ve always got enough money in your account when the bills go out. Mark these days in your calendar so that they don’t catch you by surprise. You may be able to contact your bill providers and organise all your bills to go out on the same day each month to make them easier to manage. Alternatively, you may be able to switch to a pay-as-you-go method – every time your electricity or gas or phone credit runs out, you’ll have to top it up, but you’ll never use more than you can physically spend.
Return overdue library books
Most people don’t realise that late library books can sometimes have a negative effect on one’s credit score. Libraries may get in contact with your bank to notify them of the debt, which can subsequently damage your credit rating. It’s unlikely that overdue library books are the sole reason for a poor credit score, but it could still be worth returning these books to make a small improvement to your score.
Use credit-builder loans
Your bank may be able to offer a credit-builder loan. This is a loan designed purely to repair your credit score – if you make each monthly payment, your bank will put in a kind word to creditors when doing a credit check. This could allow you to spend your money freely again. Of course, if you fail to make these credit-builder loan payments on time, this won’t be the case.
Request good-will deletions
You can contact creditors asking them to delete any bad history that could affect your credit score. This might involve sending a personal letter written in an apologetic tone. The letter should attempt to prove your loyalty and show that you’re reliable despite any missed payments. If you’ve been a difficult customer and have caused the creditor a lot of stress, you may find it hard to convince them to delete your bad credit history. However, some creditors may take sympathy, especially if you missed payments due to difficult circumstances such as having to pay for medical treatment or fund someone’s funeral.
Get on the electoral register
Some credit checks will compare your personal financial details to your electoral register details in order to check for fraud. If you’re not on the electoral register, creditors may not be able to carry out an effective credit check and so many reject you. By signing up to the electoral register, you could fix this problem. Just because you’re on the electoral register doesn’t mean that you have to vote.
Make sure that your personal details match on public records
Each account you open and card you take out will have required you to give your name and address. If these don’t match up when doing a credit check, it could flag up signs of fraud. Make sure that there isn’t an account linked up to your maiden name or a previous address. Also check your electoral details. By making sure that it’s all up to date, you could improve your credit score.
Think twice before borrowing more money
Every time you get rejected by a lender, this damages your credit score. You should aim to repair your score before taking out any more loans. Some lenders will hand out loans regardless of how low your credit score is, but these generally have huge amounts of interest attached – you could end up paying back more than double what you borrowed. The extra debts of taking out a new loan could also damage your credit score if you’re already paying off multiple loans.
All in all, you should refrain from borrowing any money until you’ve repaired your score. If you’re in desperate need of borrowing, consider borrowing from a family member or friend – this way you won’t have to go through a credit check and your bank won’t know about the debt. Credit builder loans and debt consolidation loans may be an exception too as these are designed to help with debt and improve your credit rating.