How can I improve my credit record?

Discover the steps you can take to improve your credit history before you apply for your next loan or credit card.

When you apply for a line of credit, the issuer reviews your credit report and score to determine your risk as an applicant. The higher your score, the more likely you are to be approved. If you've been denied a line of credit or want to improve your credit score before you apply, there are a few things you can do to get your financial history in shape.

You can use this guide to order a free copy of your credit report and score, pick up tips for improve your credit history and understand the information that's listed on your credit report.

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How to improve your credit history

Starting with ordering a copy of your credit report, here are some of the ways you can fix your credit score.

Order your credit report and check the details

You can request a free copy of your credit report and score through Finder to get started. The report is provided by Experian and you'll receive an updated score each month, as well as notifications if anything changes on your file.

You can review the listings on your report and identify any information that could be dragging your score down. If you identify any incorrect information on your report, such as invalid defaults or enquiries, you can contact the credit bureau that supplied your report to have it removed. You can also enlist the help of a credit repair agency, but that will come at a cost.

If all of the listings on your credit report are legitimate, you can still get a better understanding of your credit history and the steps you can take to improve your score. You can see our guide to what's included on your credit report for more information on what to look out for.

Make repayments on time

Since the introduction of comprehensive credit reporting, your repayment history is also documented on your credit report. If you miss a repayment, this leaves a negative mark on your credit report. If the overdue amount is $150 or more and unpaid for 6 weeks, it will be considered a default. These can remain on your report for five years.

If the credit issuer tries to contact you and you don't respond, this could then turn into a serious credit infringement which will stay on your report for seven years. This is why it's important to contact your credit provider if you move or if your contact details change. Read this guide to learn more about the difference between defaults and credit infringements.

If you're struggling to pay your bills, this is likely to have a flow on effect and could cause you to fall into serious debt. If you are having trouble paying your accounts on time, you could consider setting up an automatic payment or contact your bank to discuss your options.

Avoid making too many credit enquiries

Shopping around and comparing your options can help you get a competitive deal, but you shouldn't apply for multiple lines of credit in a short period of time. Credit applications are considered hard enquiries and can hurt your credit score.

Only apply for one credit card or loan at a time and make sure you meet the eligibility requirements before you apply. If your application is rejected, order a copy of your credit score and spend some time paying off any existing debts and improving your finances before you try again.

Consider lowering your credit limits and consolidating debts

If you have too much credit, this could lower your credit score. If you review your credit report and realise you're not using all of your credit limit on your credit card, consider contacting the bank to reduce your limit. This could help improve you score and increase your chances of approval when applying for other lines of credit.

If you have multiple loans or credit cards, you could also consider consolidating them with a balance transfer or a loan. That way you're only managing a single account and likely at a lower interest rate, which could help you save and pay off your accounts faster.


All of these money habits can help strengthen your credit score and get your finances back on track. However, the specific strategies you'll need to use will depend on your financial situation and goals. So make sure that you compare your options and do your research when you're repairing your credit score.

Find out how long information remains on your credit report

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73 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    FayeJanuary 9, 2019

    Hi, I have 50% equity in my home so 50% more to pay off. I haven’t used my 3 credit cards for a couple of years now just paying them off, almost there. I own my car. My credit rating is in the very good category. I am needing a new car, something larger than the small one I have. Apparently, I can’t get a loan? Why would this be my take-home wage is 40,000 I have 6,500 coming in p/a and my expenses are little.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaJanuary 13, 2019Staff

      Hi Faye,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder. I hope all is well with you. :)

      Have you applied for a car loan and get rejected? If yes, perhaps, you just need to try again and apply from another lender. Based on the information you gave, you should be able to make monthly repayments. Of course, it is worth noting that each lender has their own way of determining your eligibility.

      What I can suggest is for you to get pre-approval first. Compare your car loan options, calculate your monthly repayments, and submit your application. Make sure you review their eligibility requirements first so you can save time and energy.

      Moreover, it would be helpful as well to read our guide entitled, “How to get a car loan?

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

  2. Default Gravatar
    SandeepOctober 18, 2018

    Hi I couldn’t check my credit score

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JohnOctober 19, 2018Staff

      Hi Sandeep,

      Thank you for your question.

      You may need to revisit the identification card number that you used to get your free credit score on finder. You may also need to check the spelling of your email as this may also be one of then reasons that you are unable to continue with the process. Please see a couple of reminders we advise our users below:

      – check spam / folders. Sometimes you might have an automated rule set up to sort emails and ours might have gone through one, or it might end up in spam / junk
      – wait up to 15 minutes, refresh and try checking again.
      – check if you have any spam traps set up like Bit Bounce or if you’re using a company email, your organisation may have limits on file size emails or keywords (for example, some companies will not allow incoming emails to be larger than 1KB or have keywords relating to credit)
      – try a different email address. Maybe your ISP / domain doesn’t like finder emails for whatever reason, maybe there was a typo, maybe any number of things might be interfering with your email getting delivered. Try another one and see if that works.

      Hope this helps! You may contact us via the chatbox if you need further assistance.

      Cheers,
      Reggie

  3. Default Gravatar
    KikiOctober 1, 2018

    I have seen offers of loans after doing a credit check, does it necessarily mean they will approve a loan if I apply or the offers just come up regardless of the score you get?

    • Default Gravatar
      JoelOctober 3, 2018

      Hi Kiki,

      Thanks for leaving a question on finder.

      The lenders that came up after doing a credit check are the lenders that are specific to your credit score. Unfortunately, we can not guarantee approval of your application. However, you can check out the eligibility criteria of the lender you are interested in borrowing from to determine your chances of approval.

      Please send me a message if you need anything else and good luck. :)

      Cheers,
      Joel

  4. Default Gravatar
    MarioAugust 27, 2018

    If my bad credit’s due to a medical condition, can it be considered in the report? My default in payments only started when I had a stroke April 2016 and lost my job up to present. My previous records have shown my diligent efforts to repay all my loans and credit cards on time.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JhezAugust 28, 2018Staff

      Hi Mario,

      Thank you for your comment.

      I am sorry to hear about your medical condition. I hope you recover very soon. Usually, the information that’s reflected on your credit report is the information reported by the lenders and financial institutions you were with before you were diagnosed with a stroke. Since these are reported from your lenders, you may need to contact your lenders and see if they can consider you.

      You can find out more ways to improve your credit score here and repair your credit score here.

      Should you wish to have real-time answers to your questions, try our chat box on the lower right corner of our page.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

  5. Default Gravatar
    JohnMarch 29, 2018

    How do you get a stronger credit score

    • Default Gravatar
      JoelMarch 29, 2018

      Hi John,

      Thanks for leaving a question on finder.

      We have outlined pointers on how to improve your credit score in the article above. You can also check out this page for more info on how to improve your credit score.

      Cheers,
      Joel

  6. Default Gravatar
    RodolfoMarch 12, 2018

    Hi,
    I have never had any issues in applying for any credit cards, home loans or personal loans. I have always paid my loans and cards on time but today after applying for an AMEX credit card (which I had done in the past) my application was declined. I was not given any specific of the reason why but I decided to do a normal credit check and to my shock i realised that my credit score was Average. I have always seen myself as someone on top of my game and never had any defaults or late payments and I cannot really understand why my score was only 582.
    I have not yet ordered a detailed report but could you help me understand why that could be?

    Regards

    R

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MayMarch 22, 2018Staff

      Hi Rodolfo,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      I’m sorry to hear about your declined application. In reality, credit rating is just an indication whether you’ll get the credit that you want, but when it comes to your approval, banks will give weight more on your overall financial situation. Could be that you may not have met all the eligibility criteria of the card. Though please also note that credit card companies do not usually approve applicants with low score/bad credit. I would suggest that you have to wait for a few months before you apply for another credit card again.

      With regards to your score, it would be best to get a copy of your credit report so you can check what causes your low credit rating. Just to give you a bit of a background, aside from defaults, if you’ve also several enquiries due to more than one credit applications in just a short period of time, that could also impact your score. You may like to read this article about good and bad credit rating for more information.

      Best,
      May

  7. Default Gravatar
    NavpreetDecember 22, 2017

    Hey i am paying all the instalments on time. But still my credit point is very low. Can you please check what’s happening wrong . Thanks

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      RenchDecember 22, 2017Staff

      Hi Navpreet,

      Thanks for your inquiry.

      There are many reasons why your credit score might have changed. You can get more information on this page.

      If you would like to get a detailed credit report, you may request it with Equifax directly or you may click here.

      Best regards,
      Rench

  8. Default Gravatar
    KatelynNovember 15, 2017

    How how do I improve my credit score in order to be approved for a credit card loan sooner rather than later?

    • Default Gravatar
      MariaNovember 15, 2017

      Hi Katelyn,

      You’re on the right page for your concern as it contains tips on how your can improve your credit score.

      Your credit score is updated monthly with repayment information from credit providers, but your credit file is also updated whenever you apply for credit, open or close an account, change your credit limit or go guarantor on a loan.

      You may also want to check this page on 5 Ways To Improve Your Credit Rating.

      I hope this helps.

      Best,
      Maria

  9. Default Gravatar
    MeliameNovember 1, 2017

    Credit check please thanks.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JhezNovember 1, 2017Staff

      Hi Meliame,

      Thank you for your comment.

      You may access your credit score through finder for free. Please follow our step-by-step guide to getting your free credit score here. Have your driver’s license ready as this is one of the important requirements to access your score.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

  10. Default Gravatar
    HeatherOctober 19, 2017

    Hi I am just enquiring about my credit score and would like to know the best way on how to pay off my debts thank you. Heather

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JudithOctober 20, 2017Staff

      Hi Heather,

      Thanks for contacting finder, a comparison website and general information service.

      Kindly go to this page to get your free credit score.

      You may read this helpful guide on managing your debts.

      You may also read about debt solutions.

      I hope this helps.

      Best regards,
      Judith

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