How can I improve my credit record?

Discover how to put yourself in a better position before you next apply for a loan or credit card.

Your credit record can help you be approved for loans, access lower interest rates and generally put you in a more favourable financial position. So it's natural to look for ways to improve it. Here, you'll find out a few ways improve your credit file and credit score no matter what credit position you're in.


What's on my credit file?

You might be aware that your credit file holds a detailed record of your borrowing history – but what details of this history are included? This is a quick guide to what you'll find in your credit file:

  • Your personal information. This includes your name, date when birth, current address and driver's licence details.
  • Consumer credit information. If you have made any applications for credit in the past five years it will be included. This includes joint accounts. Your credit accounts will also be listed along with what type of account they are, the date they were opened and closed, the credit limit and the monthly repayment information.
  • Default information. If you have any overdue debts or serious credit infringements listed against your name it will be on your file. Defaults remain on your file for five years, while serious credit infringements remain for seven.
  • Public record information. Any credit-related information held on the public record such as bankruptcies or court judgements will be listed on your credit file.
  • Commercial credit information. If you've made credit enquiries for commercial purposes or you have overdue commercial credit accounts they will be listed on your credit report.

Find out how long information remains on your credit file

How to improve your credit file

  • Order your credit file and check the details

This sounds like an obvious tip, but it's not one that's always followed through. However, ordering a copy of your credit file is free once a year and can help you check for errors and better understand your credit position. A 2013 survey from the Office of the Information Commissioner found that 30% of credit reports have errors in them, and these errors could stop you from getting approved. Check all your personal information is accurate and that there are no duplicate listings or listings that don't belong to you. If you do find an error, contact the credit reporting bureau to have the listing removed, and if they're unable to remove it you can contact the credit provider responsible for the listing directly.

  • Make your credit card and loan repayments on time

After the introduction of comprehensive credit reporting in March 2014, your credit card and loan repayments are noted in your credit file. It's important to make your repayments on time and make at least the minimum repayment to keep your credit file in good standing. One late payment won't necessarily mean you have bad credit, but a pattern of late payments can lead to a lower credit score and make you look like a risk to lenders.

  • Space out your credit enquiries

Shopping around for credit is important when it comes to getting a good deal, but when you start applying with multiple lenders in a short space of time it will negatively impact your credit reputation. If you are looking for a new credit account, make sure you space out your applications (if you are required to apply at more than one place) and make sure compare your options beforehand to limit the chances of being rejected for the loan.

  • Track your credit score

Some credit reporting bureaus offer credit monitoring services that allow you to track your credit score and your credit file. You'll be sent notifications when something on your credit file changes or if your credit score moves up or down. If you want to monitor your credit position, these services might be good to consider.

  • Be a responsible borrower

If you move house, make sure to redirect all of your mail and notify your credit providers of the move. If there are any problems with your credit account you want to be easily contactable. If you think you may forget to make repayments, set up automatic repayments from your bank account or card. However, if you lose your card, replace it or it's stolen remember to pause the repayments and restart them with the new card's number.

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61 Responses

  1. 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

    • Staff
      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,

  2. 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?

    • Staff
      MariaNovember 15, 2017Staff

      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.


  3. Default Gravatar
    MeliameNovember 1, 2017

    Credit check please thanks.

    • Staff
      JhezelynNovember 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.


  4. 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

    • Staff
      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,

  5. Default Gravatar
    LucyAugust 30, 2017

    My credit score is bad because I have applied for credit cards online, I wasn’t aware this would be put on my credit score. Is there away to get a better credit score? I’ve never had a credit card or anything.

    • Staff
      ArnoldAugust 30, 2017Staff

      Hi Lucy,

      Thanks for your inquiry.

      Credit card application does affect your score but don’t worry here are Ways to improve your Credit score and rating.

      Please check it out.

      Hope this information helped.


  6. Default Gravatar
    DonnaAugust 30, 2017

    I have a default on my account that was put on their by Voda phone even though account was being paid and when finalised to prove that compared to say 400 owing only 50 was . Error in their communication has resulted in default that hinders any credit progress fie me. How do I get this removed.

    • Staff
      ArnoldAugust 30, 2017Staff

      Hi Donna,

      Thanks for your inquiry.

      If you come across any errors on your credit file, you can initiate an investigation by the credit reporting agency or agencies that have this mistake on file. Please check out our guide on how to remove black marks and defaults against your name.

      Hope this information helped.


  7. Default Gravatar
    RubyAugust 24, 2017

    How do I get rid of what’s on my credit score?

    • Staff
      HaroldAugust 24, 2017Staff

      Hi Ruby,

      Thank you for your inquiry.

      You may want to consider consulting a credit repair agencies who may help you on this matter. Please read our guide here for your additional reference.

      I hope this information has helped.


  8. Default Gravatar
    susitinaJuly 22, 2017

    I am a home owner with more than $150000 equity in my home and my mortgage payment is up to date. Unfortunately, my credit card payment is behind and it affects my credit score. The bank has refused to lend me more money to pay off my other debts. How can I use the equity in my home to pay the other debts and to improve my credit score.

  9. Default Gravatar
    MelimooJuly 17, 2017

    How long after bankruptcy can i apply for a loan/credit card to get my credit score up again?

    • Staff
      JhezelynJuly 18, 2017Staff

      Hi Melimoo,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Bankruptcies are normally discharged quickly, generally, around three months after they were filed.

      You can definitely apply for credit cards after going through bankruptcy, although it may be difficult to qualify for the kind of credit cards you want. After bankruptcy, you will almost certainly have to pay higher interest rates and other fees, if you qualify at all especially if your bankruptcy was recent.

      Rebuilding your credit history after bankruptcy can take time, but as long as you practice good spending and payment habits, it is possible.


  10. Default Gravatar
    WenddyJuly 4, 2017

    How do I make my credit score better?

    • Default Gravatar
      September 6, 2017

      Hi i have recently removed all my default with credit repair,and applied for a loan through society one to consolidate my loan but they refused to lend me the money my credit score is good is there any reason i go

    • Staff
      MaySeptember 8, 2017Staff

      Hi Vivian,

      Thank you for your inquiry and sorry to hear about your declined application. You may not have met the other requirements of the Society One. Please note though that the criteria differ from lender to lender, so best that you contact the lender first to discuss your options and approval before you submit your loan application. Meantime, we have an article here that talks about how to apply for a personal loan. Hope you can find helpful tips on that page.


    • Default Gravatar
      JonathanJuly 4, 2017

      Hi Wenddy!

      On the page where you’re at, is the list of tips we have for improving one’s credit score! :)

      Hope that helps.


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