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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.

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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 our 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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10 Responses to How can I improve my credit record?

  1. Default Gravatar
    William | November 30, 2016

    I have got a bad credit report.After getting my debit card..I found out I was paying a lot of intrest.On my card as well as my loan.Watching TV I found out you can get a credit card on lower interest then what I am paying.The same as my loan.Thats how.But if people check my loan as well as my debit card.I have never missed a payment.Its Derect Debit.Its a 7 years loan.I just put my loan on hold because of Christmas.Because finding out that I was nearly two thousand dollars in front.I ask them will that effect my credit with you people.They said no.I did not understand the bank has been taking the same amount out for 3 years.But I ended up that amount in front.so I put it on hold for 2 months that’s only 4 payments.After that I will still be in front. 308.00 per fortnight they take out.With my debit card it got low never missed a payment.But in the last 4 months I asked the bank to put it on hold for me.And I have been paying double my payments each pay.Thank you.

    • Staff
      May | November 30, 2016

      Hi William,

      Thanks for your question.

      There are actually factors that may contribute to your credit score. If you’ve got a low or bad credit rating, possible reasons could be you’ve had several credit accounts and applications, skipped payments, defaults or even court writs and summons. You may like to read this article for a more broad explanation on what causes a bad credit, which you may find useful. Meantime, the above article cites tips on improving your credit file.

      Hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      May

  2. Default Gravatar
    Annie | September 28, 2016

    I have paid my default in full. I was expecting that it will update my file . The default should have been deleted since 1 August but every time I am checking in veda it still there? What will I do?

    Do I have a chance of getting loan from the bank ?

    Please advise
    thanks
    Annie

    • Staff
      Elizabeth | September 28, 2016

      Hi Annie,

      Your credit file is updated monthly by Veda. However, it’s up to the credit provider that listed your default to update your file. If you don’t see your file change soon you can get in contact with Veda or the lender that listed it to have them update the information.

      While there are bad credit loans available, you may want to wait until your file is updated to take advantage of better rates and fees for standard loans.

      I hope this helps,

      Elizabeth

    • Default Gravatar
      Annie | September 29, 2016

      Thanks Elizabeth for your quick reply. If the file had been updated do I have chance of being approved by the banks even if have not been active for the last few years . No credit or activity in my credit report?

    • Staff
      Elizabeth | September 29, 2016

      Hi Annie,

      This really depends on the banks. Having limited credit activity doesn’t necessarily make you a risk but it makes them less able to judge how good a borrower you are. However, if you have no bad credit listings on your file the banks will look at your income, employment situation and similar factors to evaluate you as a borrower.

      If you have questions about your eligibility you can ask the bank you want to apply with to find out your chances of approval.

      Hope this helps,

      Elizabeth

  3. Default Gravatar
    ash | September 26, 2016

    hi there
    if im in the 2nd bottom catergory, whats the point of paying back my debts as i am weekly?

    • Staff
      Elizabeth | September 26, 2016

      Hi,

      Failing to make repayments on any loan or credit product will further reduce your score, and you will also get a default listed on your credit file which remains there for five years.

      On the other hand, repaying a loan early or making additional repayments can improve your credit score. Your repayments can be listed on your credit file and when you repay a loan your credit score can improve.

      I hope this has helped,

      Elizabeth

  4. Default Gravatar
    Kim | September 20, 2016

    Where do I order my Credit File from

    • Staff
      Elizabeth | September 20, 2016

      Hi Kim,

      You can order your free credit file by following the link to Veda on this page. Once on Veda’s site click “products and services” and then select “report in 10 days”.

      Hope this helps,

      Elizabeth

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