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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 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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55 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    HeatherOctober 19, 2017

    Hi im just enquiring about my credit score and would like to know the best way on how to pay off my debts thankyoy. 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,
      Judith

  2. Default Gravatar
    LucyAugust 30, 2017

    Hi,
    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.

      Cheers,
      Arnold

  3. 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.

      Cheers,
      Arnold

  4. 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.

      Cheers,
      Harold

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

  7. 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.

      Cheers,
      May

    • Staff
      JonathanJuly 4, 2017Staff

      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.

      Cheers,
      Jonathan

  8. Default Gravatar
    MuhammadJune 29, 2017

    Hi
    I went on default accidently and when i came to know that i am in default,the amount was fully paid to the creditor…
    Now do i have to wait for 5 years or my credit history will become good automatically..

    • Staff
      MayJune 29, 2017Staff

      Hi Muhammad,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      Defaults will generally remain on your file for five years. If a default is listed on your file, the amount can’t be changed to reflect recent payments or missed payments. But the listing can be updated to show accruing interest and fees. If you pay the full defaulted amount, your credit history will not become automatically good, instead, your credit provider needs to inform the credit reporting body who will update the listing to “paid”.

      For more information about a default on your credit file, please check this page.

      Cheers,
      May

    • Default Gravatar
      MuhammadJune 29, 2017

      So i have to speak with my creditors…

    • Staff
      JonathanJune 29, 2017Staff

      Hi Mumhammad!

      We know talking to creditors can be a bit uncomfortable. :(

      You may consider consulting a credit repair agencies who may help you. Just to set your expectations they may charge some fees depending on the amount of work and there is no guarantee that they can take off the default.

      You can check our full guide here.

      Hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Jonathan

    • Default Gravatar
      MuhammadJune 29, 2017

      Total amount was 1200$

    • Default Gravatar
      LeeJuly 24, 2017

      I used a credit repair company to fix my credit rating, they did a great job and removed 2 default listings and it costed me $3,000 for their service. So with all my defaults cleared I assumed by rating would be better. I was wrong, there was also a court judgment on my file that will not be removed until October of this year. It had been there since 2010. Wasted all that money for nothing.

    • Staff
      HaroldJuly 26, 2017Staff

      Hi Lee,

      Thank you for your inquiry.

      While we do not represent any company that we feature on our pages, we can offer you a general information. You may also want to consider a guide on how to improve your credit rating.

      I hope this information has helped.

      Cheers,
      Harold

  9. Default Gravatar
    LyleJune 28, 2017

    I have done a credit score on your site. Also, I have done this on another site and my score is way better than what your score has given me.

    • Staff
      JonathanJune 28, 2017Staff

      Hi Lyle!

      We’re glad that you sent your inquiry! :)

      Take note that we use Veda/Equifax Scoring on our website. If you did a credit check with other bureaus such as Dunn & Bradstreet or Experian, scores will be different, as they have a different scoring method.

      Now if you took the same inquiry with Equifax, you may verify this with Equifax for further review.

      Hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Jonathan

  10. Default Gravatar
    SharonMay 23, 2017

    How can I find out what’s causing my credit rating to be low as I just finished paying my car I don’t have any credit cards I am renting some goods through radio rentals could that have a affect on my credit rating

    • Staff
      AnndyMay 24, 2017Staff

      Hi Sharon,

      Thanks for your question.

      To check what’s causing your credit score to be low, you may request a free detailed credit report directly from Equifax by clicking the ‘Go to Equifax’s website’ on this page.

      Cheers,
      Anndy

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