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A credit score, calculated from your history of using credit, is one of the ways lenders work out how much risk there is in lending to you.
It can affect how much you’ll repay on credit and loans.
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This is a number, calculated by adding up or subtracting scores for different items in your credit record, including:
Credit scores are rarely used on their own and many lenders prefer to look at the full credit files of their customers, as they include much more detail than a simple score.
Because each creditor has its own way of using credit scores (and they sometimes give preference to one credit agency above others), there’s no consensus on the exact numbers that are ‘good scores’.
These good scores will be in the upper range. The latest information shared by the credit reference agencies suggests:
There’s no need to worry about checking your own credit score. It’s only the checks made by creditors that are recorded as the ‘hard credit checks’ that can raise red flags. When you check your own credit file, this isn’t seen by anyone except the credit reference agency.
A larger number of checks by lenders on your credit score by in a short amount of time can be a red flag. This implies you’re applying for a lot of credit and, therefore, it may be risky to lend to you.
It can be a good idea to check your credit history on a regular basis, so you can:
The simple answer is: by paying your bills on time and by using credit sensibly - always keeping to payment arrangements.
This means you need to carefully budget for the interest on repayments as well as the amount you’ve borrowed and keep track of the dates payments are due.
You can build up a credit history by:
It’s also a good idea to register on the electoral roll, which creditors use to check you're living at the address you gave them.
It can take some time to improve, as details of new bank accounts or credit accounts can take as long as three months to be added to your credit file.
But by keeping your personal details up-to-date and continuing to pay your credit on time, you should see your score gradually improving.
Find out more about what’s recorded in your credit file.
Use our free and confidential online debt advice tool to get personalised recommendations.
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We recommend you use our budget form to gather your details before calling. A debt advice call takes around 40 minutes to complete.
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