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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.

What's on my credit report?

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 rating

  • 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 and can help you check for errors and better understand your credit position. You can get your free credit report from finder here.

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, your credit card and loan repayments are noted in your credit report. 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 and changes on your report

When you order your free credit report through finder (provided by Experian) you will also receive your free credit score. We will send you an updated score every month and will notify you any time something on your credit report changes.

  • 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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67 Responses

  1. 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.

    • finder Customer Care
      JhezelynAugust 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

  2. Default Gravatar
    March 29, 2018

    How do you get a stronger credit score

    • finder Customer Care
      JoelMarch 29, 2018Staff

      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

  3. 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

    • finder 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

  4. 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

    • finder 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

  5. 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

  6. Default Gravatar
    MeliameNovember 1, 2017

    Credit check please thanks.

    • finder Customer Care
      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.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

  7. 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

    • finder 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

  8. 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.

    • Default Gravatar
      ArnoldAugust 30, 2017

      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

  9. 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.

    • Default Gravatar
      ArnoldAugust 30, 2017

      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

  10. Default Gravatar
    RubyAugust 24, 2017

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

    • finder Customer Care
      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

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