Having a bad credit record or no credit history at all can make it difficult to be approved for credit. That’s why it’s important to fix your credit record so you can build your credit - especially if you are planning on making larger purchases in the near future - or even apply for a mortgage.
There are basically two ways to repair your credit - fix the negative things, or add positive things. Sometimes you need a mixture of both and this is why you should first start by finding out what your credit score is, or what negatively affects your credit score.
There is no fixed number as it depends on the requirements of each lender. For example, if you want to apply for a mortgage, you’ll need a better credit score than applying for a credit card.
If you don’t have a good credit history, you might need to start with something like a personal loan, or even a credit building credit card to help you rebuild your credit history. These cards are designed to help you rebuild your credit but keep in mind that interest rates on these cards can be much higher.
Credit information stays on your report for at least six years in the UK. When negotiating a payment settlement with a lender, or if there is incorrect information on your report, you could get it removed or changed sooner. Otherwise, it will be removed from your credit profile after six years.
This depends on how you handle your credit. Improving your credit score can take time, as it takes at least a few weeks for updated information to appear on your credit report.
It can take a few months before new accounts help build your credit score, and late payments can stay on your profile for up to six years. However, their impact will likely start to reduce as time passes.
Disagreements and disputes can take up to six months to resolve, but sometimes you can work out an agreement with a lender sooner. There are a few things you can do to make sure you improve your credit profile as much as possible:
Make sure you are on the electoral register. Lenders check your name, address and contact details against the voter roll.
Make sure you can comfortably pay your bills before you apply for credit.
Always pay your bills on time
Keep your credit utilisation low. This will show lenders that you can manage your credit and that you are not dependent on loans to make ends meet.
The faster you add good factors to your credit profile and remove bad ones, the faster you can recover from a bad credit record. Keep in mind that if you declare bankruptcy, it might take even longer to be approved for even a small loan or credit card.
There are a few things you can do to help your credit score even more. This includes things like adding evidence of your rent payments. This helps you build a credit history without having to go into a credit agreement with a lender.
Landlords used to not provide information about rent information to credit reporting agencies, but private landlords, along with larger property management companies can now add information to show that tenants are keeping up with their monthly rent.
The nine largest banks in the UK are required by law to let you share information about your account transactions and income and expenses with other organisations, including lenders. This is referred to as Open Banking data. Sharing this information can help lenders to make informed decisions about your affordability and may even result in better interest rates from credit providers.
Subject to your consent, Experian uses Open Banking data to update information such as loans, credit cards, mobile phone contracts, and mortgages on your account. It can even include household bills like water, energy, and broadband. The Experian Boost initiative also allows you to consent to share information on your Council Tax payments, and even streaming services payments like Netflix.
Similarly, Equifax Financial Health Index lets you add information about your insurance payments, tax payments, savings, and investments. Other credit reference agencies are also joining the open banking data market, such as Credit Kudos.
If you fail to make a payment or get court-ordered, it will remain on your credit profile for six years. It will likely have a negative effect on your credit score and it will only be deleted after six years unless you negotiate a settlement, in which case the information can be removed sooner.
To repair your credit you need to start by getting copies of your credit reports from Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. Review your personal information and credit history to make sure all the information is accurate and up to date. Also, have a look at your credit utilisation rate - the lower the rate, the better. Maintain healthy financial habits, like paying bills on time, keeping credit applications to a minimum, and ensuring that your personal information is up to date at all times.