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How to improve your credit score

Getting your credit score in order:

Not having the credit score necessary for the card of your choice might be due to a number of factors including not having sufficient credit history, and its not always due to mismanaged lending in the past. Regardless of the need to increase your score, there are some straightforward best practices that could steadily increase your profile enough to get the card you want.

Of course, some of these measures will take time while others should see a quick increase in your score. In any event, you should be informed of the ins and outs of credit scores before you start planning on how to make successful applications.

Check your credit file

The first thing to do is get an overview of your credit profile with the three main credit scoring agencies: Equifax, Call Credit and Experian. You can even get an instant improvement in your score if you establish some details in your file as incorrect, in which case the company will make the necessary adjustments if you provide sufficient evidence.

There is a fee for each of these checks on your file. But the good news is that you are entitled by law to access the information and furthermore if you only need to check once then you can always avail of a free trial of the checking service and cancel before fees start to kick in. Other agencies such as ClearScore have free services although the detail of these scores are not as high and there is a large aspect of affiliate sales involved (where the site will promote a certain credit solution to you based on their partnerships with banks).

Think of what you might need a card for in the near future

Before you start planning ways to improve your score, think about what you need to improve it for. If you weren’t planning on making an application for a card with high requirements in the near future and don’t need something like a 0% purchase card for a big expenditure soon, then you could always just opt for a credit builder card.

While their interest rates and credit limits are not as good as other cards, they have many advantages. If you only need a small amount of credit, know you can clear the balance each month, and want to build your credit score then a credit builder card could do all three in the short-term – taking the pressure off the need to rebuild your score quickly.

If a credit builder card won’t do the job, perhaps look into getting a loan or overdraft from your bank. And if this is not a possibility and you really need to improve your score for what you’re after, then you should try to get an idea of the gap between where your score is now and what you need it to be. If you make some wise moves you could see a noticeable increase in your credit score in 30-60 days.

Other things you can do to improve your score:

  • Get on the electoral roll.
  • Cancel any other unused sources of credit like old cards – having too much credit available can make you seem like a credit risk since if you borrow too much at one time you may not be able to pay it back.
  • Get named as an authorised user of someone else’s card who has a good rating.
  • Think about using a prepaid credit card with a “loan” of the fees on the card paid by the company 12 months in advance. You are essentially borrowing the fees to pay them back later, and if you do this you are making the prepaid card function as a credit builder card, but with much lower application requirements.
  • This final tip may seem obvious but is worth mentioning – keep on top of your payments and try not to incur new fees on any cards you already have. This will slowly but surely increase your credit score over time.