Where do I Start? Understanding your credit rating can be confusing even for us mortgage advisers. Most likely you have downloaded ClearScore or Credit Karma onto your smart phone. You have been given a score sometimes out of a 1000 and you are thinking what does that mean? In my experience not much. I have had high scores been turned down for mortgages and low scores pass. So how do we make sense of your credit score?
There are three main credit reference agencies in the UK they are Experian, Equifax, Transunion and technically there is one more Crediva. Companies such as ClearScore and Credit Karma get your data from one of these agencies to create your credit score. To get a true picture of your credit score you need to see what your credit file looks like across all these credit reference agencies. There are two reasons for this. The first is that your data can be different across the credit reference agencies so where you can score well on one there may be a problem with another. Secondly different mortgage lenders use different credit reference agencies and some use more than one.
To check your credit score we would recommend CheckMyFile www.checkmyfile.com/?ref=threeriversfinancial&cbap=1 the reason being they are the UK’s only Credit Report with data from Equifax, Experian, TransUnion and Crediva and they are rated excellent on Trust Pilot. You get 30 days free then they charge £14.99 per month but you cancel at any time online.
Now once you can effectively look at your credit score as whole, we can start to look at what impacts your credit score and how you can improve it.
Mortgage companies are needing to decide on whether to lend you money and the problem they have is that until you apply (unless you bank with them) they don’t know you exist. The first thing they want to know is are you who you say you are. They do this by electronically identify you. This is done through your credit report. So, are you registered on the electoral role where you live? Does your driving licence have the correct address on? Do your bank statements have the correct address on? Do existing credit commitments you have match your current address? If not, then this will lower your score.
How Can Being on The Electoral Role Improve Your Credit Score?
It is important to make sure you are on the electoral role and your bank statements, driving licence and any credit commitments you have taken out match your current address. If you have recently moved home, make sure you get these changed as soon as possible as it can take up to three months for it to reflect on your credit report. If these don’t match your current address it an make it hard for the mortgage lenders to identify you therefore lowering your score.
What Are The Consequences Of Paying Your Bills On Time And How Can It Affect Your Credit Score?
The next big thing is do you have any adverse credit. Adverse credit is missed/late payments, defaults, County Court Judgements (CCJ), individual voluntary arrangement (IVA) and bankruptcy. Any of the following will have an impact on you getting a mortgage. You may still be able to get a mortgage but may have to put down a higher deposit, be subject to higher interest rates and pay higher fees. If you have any of the following its important to get a copy of your credit report and give it to your mortgage adviser so they can advise on what mortgages if any would be available.
Make sure you pay your bills on time. Setting up direct debits for your bills means they will come out on a set date, and you don’t have to remember when to pay
How to Strategically Use Credit to Improve Your Credit Score?
Another area we come across especially for young customers and first-time buyers is a thin credit file. This is where you are applying for a mortgage, but you have never had credit before. So, there isn’t much data on your credit file. You don’t have any adverse data but there isn’t enough data for the mortgage providers to decide whether you are a safe bet at paying off your credit commitments. In this instance you may still be able to get a mortgage but might be required to put down a larger deposit.
We need to be careful with this advice as we don’t advocate over indebting yourself are taking out credit unnecessarily. However, taking out a small credit card and using it regularly will help build your credit if done right or some interest free buy now pay later agreements. (DO NOT USE PAY DAY LOANS THESE NEGAVITYLY AFFECT YOUR ABILITY TO GET A MORTGEG) I would say that if you are paying anything on a credit card make sure you pay it off in full each month as this will stop you getting charged interest and only spend money you have i.e. don’t blow £1000’s on credit card and put yourself into debt. Maybe put your monthly shopping, fuel and online purchases but make sure you pay off your credit card in full. So only spend money you have. The same goes for buy now pay later agreements. Only take out what you can comfortably afford.
In summary I haven’t even scratched the surface when it comes to credit and if you are needing any help, please don’t hesitate to contact Three Rivers Financial through our website www.threeriversfinancial.co.uk, email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 07956 126686 and one of advisers can explain in more detail.