Having a low credit score can make it more difficult for you to get credit, whether it’s a mortgage or a payday loan. It can be both embarrassing and upsetting when it happens. It can also be frustrating, especially if you can’t afford to repay a significant amount more than you currently are.
However, there are ways to improve your credit score. These aren’t hacks, and they aren’t necessarily quick fixes. But if you can follow some of these tips, you might be able to start improving your credit history.
1. Read Your Credit Report
You can access your credit report for free, using companies like Experian or ClearScore. While you might need to sign up for a full account in order to access more complete information, you may be able to access a free trial.
Your full report will list positive and negative factors in your credit history. These are the points that will help you to start fixing your score.
The first thing is to look for mistakes. Is anything showing that you don’t actually use? Are there old addresses showing as current addresses? This could mean that either a creditor has been trying to get in touch with you, thinking you’re ignoring their messages. It could even be a case of mistaken identity – someone else with a similar name. This is rare, but it can happen.
2. Repay on Time Where Possible
Repeated late payments can be really bad for your credit score. It might feel like everything should be back to normal once you repay, but late payments get marked on your file. They’re not as bad as missed payments, but they’re not good either.
Your credit score is a guide for lenders as to how good you are at repaying. If you’re regularly late, other lenders need to know that before they make a decision about lending to you.
If you’re not good at doing this, even when you have the cash available, set up standing orders or direct debits. Most lenders will prefer you to do this anyway – some might offer CPA (continuous payment authority) as well, which is similar. It basically allows lenders to take payments at a scheduled time, but to try again later if their payment isn’t successful.
Even just three months of timely repayments should start to make a difference to your credit score. And it’s satisfying when it happens.
3. Contact Your Creditors
This can feel embarrassing to do, but almost all lenders will prefer to know what your situation is than to just have missed or late repayments. If you can’t afford your current repayments, your lender will almost certainly be willing to set up a payment plan, either temporarily or longer-term.
Before you do this, take a look at your income and outgoings, and figure out how much you can regularly repay them. This will be information they’ll need as well, so they can be sure they’re setting up a repayment plan you can afford.
If you’re uncomfortable dealing with your lender over the phone, check their website to see if they offer a livechat service. If they do, they may be able to arrange a payment plan over that livechat. It’s a slightly longer process, but it may be one that you feel more comfortable doing.
4. Look at Older Debts
Your credit report isn’t just about your current finances. It may be that some older issues are still lurking around in the background, causing you problems.
If you have an old debt that you’ve never repaid, it doesn’t go away from your credit report. After all, it’s important for lenders to know that this has happened.
If you have this, contact the outstanding lender. If it’s been a significant amount of time, or there were circumstances beyond your control at the time, it’s worth asking if they can do anything. Some may write off the debt as a goodwill gesture, or some may agree to a reduced amount in return for the debt being ‘settled’.
This won’t be as good as not having the outstanding debt in the first place, but it’s a much better situation than having an old bad debt affecting your credit score.
5. What If You Have No Credit?
If you have avoided any kind of debt, then you may not have much on your credit report to help your credit score. Your credit score is a rating of how good you are at repaying debt. While your current financial situation is a part of it, you might not have proved that you can repay debt. It’s somewhat ironic that good financial management might not help your credit score like you might expect, especially if you’re exploring a mortgage or something like that.
While some people throw around the suggestion of taking out payday loans or similar, it’s worth being careful. Take a look at what credit options are available to you – it might be that you can find something that suits you and shows that you can repay. Avoid anything that you might find difficult to repay, as that could just reduce your credit score.
We hope that’s helpful. While none of these are hacks or quick tips to improve your credit score, they are approaches that could help you. It’s all based around understanding how your credit score and credit report work, and what could be holding your score down.
This is written by Lending Stream, who offer 6 month short-term loans as an alternative to payday loans.
Disclaimer: ‘’We do not offer professional advice, just few tips on how to save money”