If you’re trying to build your credit score, it can be tempting to check your report on a regular basis to see if there have been any changes. If there’s been very little movement, you might be wondering if something is wrong.
Instead of worrying that your efforts aren’t making much difference, read on to find out how often your credit score is updated and what to do to speed up the process.
Some people assume their credit report will be updated daily, weekly or monthly. In reality, it’s not quite as structured as this. It’s also a little more complicated.
First of all, you don’t just have one universal credit report or score. There are three main credit reference agencies in the UK (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) and each one will have a different report for you. They also have different methods for scoring people. This means you’ll have three different credit scores.
Your credit reports are typically updated whenever lenders provide the credit reference agencies with new information about your financial behaviour.
If you have lots of different debts, this may mean that your report is updated more frequently than if you haven’t borrowed much at all. This is because new credit card information may appear on your report one day and your mortgage payment might show up the next.
Your credit score differs from your credit report, even though the two are linked.
While your credit report might be updated regularly depending on how often credit reference agencies receive new information, your score can take a little longer to change.
Unfortunately, there are no set time frames for credit score updates. Sometimes, you’ve just got to be patient.
If your credit score has fallen, try not to panic. Fluctuations can happen from time to time and often, your score will recover with the help of good money management and regular repayments. Here are a few reasons your credit score might have dropped:
Your payment history is one of the biggest factors that determines your credit score. Missing just one payment can have a significant impact on your ability to borrow money in future.
If you missed a payment by mistake, set up automatic direct debits if possible. That way, you can get on with everything else you need to do, safe in the knowledge that your payments are taken care of whether you remember or not.
If you have large balances on your credit cards, this can also affect your score.
As a general rule, try to keep your credit utilisation rate around 30% or lower. This means that if you have a £10,000 credit limit, you don’t have a balance of more than £3,000 each month.
Unfortunately, 30% isn’t a number that’s set in stone and different lenders look for different things. But many credit experts recommend this figure as a guide for anyone who’s unsure.
A balance transfer card could help you reduce your credit utilisation rate by moving some of your money to another credit card.
Before doing this, it’s worth considering how the balance transfer could impact your score.
When you carry out a balance transfer, a hard inquiry is likely to be applied to your credit file. This could temporarily decrease your credit score, though it probably won’t cause long term damage.
Not only can missed payments harm your score, if your home is repossessed, you’re declared bankrupt or your account is passed over to a collections agency, your score could also be damaged.
Some derogatory marks stay on your credit report for up to 7 years and bankruptcy records can stick around for a decade.
If you’re eager to improve your credit score, whether you’re hoping to get a personal loan, credit card or mortgage, here are a few ways to speed up the process.
Making regular payments to any debts you already have is a great way to update your score and improve the overall health of your credit report.
By staying on top of your debt, you can prove to lenders that you’re a responsible borrower who can be trusted to pay them back. Missing even one or two payments can make a difference to the health of your credit score. Setting up regular direct debits can save you having to think about it.
Credit reference agencies get things wrong sometimes. If you notice a mistake on your credit report, don’t be afraid to get in touch to let them know.
Something as simple as an incorrect address can have an impact on your score. If you have any active accounts that list you as living at a different address, try to get these corrected.
An account can be considered active even if you no longer use it.
Whenever you apply for a line of credit, this adds a footprint on your file which stays there for a year. If you apply for lots of credit in a short space of time, lenders might reject you because they assume you’re desperate for credit and might not be able to pay them back.
It can be a good idea to spread out any applications. If possible, only apply for lines of credit that you really need and are confident will be approved.
If you’re planning on applying for a mortgage in the next few months, for example, it can be a good idea to avoid any credit card or personal loan applications in the run up.
After getting rejected for a credit card, some people apply for a different one straight away.
While this may seem like a logical thing to do, especially if you need the money, it can cause a spiral of rejections and delay your ability to borrow for even longer.
If you have a poor credit history or you keep getting rejected, credit rebuild and repair services can help you get your credit record back on the straight and narrow.
These can come in useful for people who have a hard time accessing credit in the first place. The interest rate on these cards might be quite high, but if you repay the card in full each month you won’t get charged interest.
Creditspring is another option. We can help you build financial resilience with a process that’s simple and straightforward.
You’ll get up to two no-interest loans per year (REP APR 43.1%). Rather than paying interest, you’ll pay a membership fee of between £5 to £10 a month.
Over time, the regular repayments will help to build your credit by showing you’re a trustworthy borrower with a track record for managing repayments effectively.