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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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30 Responses to How can I improve my credit record?

  1. Default Gravatar
    Sharon | May 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
      Anndy | May 24, 2017

      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

  2. Default Gravatar
    Joanne | May 23, 2017

    How long after playing all your debts off does your credit rating improve?

    • Staff
      Liezl | May 23, 2017

      Hi Jojo,

      Thanks for your question.

      That will actually depend on how long a certain credit information clears out from your credit file as these data affect your credit score. For instance, credit defaults are listed on your report for five years or seven years in the case of a clearout. As for late and missed payments on loans and credit cards, these are recorded on your credit file for two years. You can get more information on how long is information held on your file on this page. You can order your free credit file here, if you haven’t done it yet.

      I hope this has helped.

      Cheers,
      Liezl

  3. Default Gravatar
    | May 22, 2017

    I have a credit card for more than 5 months. My limit or repayments never were displayed on my credit report. Is there anything I could do in order of it to be corrected?

    • Staff
      Harold | May 23, 2017

      Hi Gean,

      Thank you for your inquiry.

      You may want to consider the option/s available here to improve your credit score. In addition, the information on this page will help you to fix your credit report.

      I hope this information has helped.

      Cheers,
      Harold

  4. Default Gravatar
    tara | May 9, 2017

    I want to order my credit file how do I do this. Please guide me through the prompt…

  5. Default Gravatar
    Anelina | May 9, 2017

    I need to speak to someone who can help me to improve my Credit Score?

  6. Default Gravatar
    Maree | April 17, 2017

    How can i see what is making my score low ? So i can fix it

    • Staff
      Anndy | April 18, 2017

      Hi Maree,

      Thanks for your question.

      If you are interested to know the details of your credit score, you may request for a free credit report directly from Equifax through this page.

      To improve your credit score, our guide on this page may help.

      Cheers,
      Anndy

  7. Default Gravatar
    Sam | March 17, 2017

    I had pretty good credit rating till few months back. I recently applied for personal loan and got approved but my credit rating dipped down pretty bad.
    Could it be because of that loan?
    Also if I pay off my credit card, would it make any difference to my credit score??

    • Staff
      May | March 20, 2017

      Hi Sam,

      Thank you for your inquiry.

      Basically, your score is calculated based on the information you have on your file. Please note that both your positive/negative activities, such repayments or several enquiries can actually impact your overall rating. For your guide, you can find more information about good and bad credit scores on this page.

      Cheers,
      May

  8. Default Gravatar
    Stacey | January 20, 2017

    I want to apply for a car loan but my credit score is low what can i do quickly to make it higher before i apply as im in desperate need of a car as mine just refused to go any more

    • Staff
      Anndy | January 20, 2017

      Hi Sstacie,

      Thanks for your question.

      If you have a bad credit score, the lenders on this page may consider you for a loan to help purchase a car.

      There are different ways to improve your credit score. Please refer to this page.

      I hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Anndy

  9. Default Gravatar
    Carman | January 12, 2017

    Could you please advise what is the period of credit inquiries are removed from your file.

    • Staff
      Anndy | January 12, 2017

      Hi Carman,

      Thanks for your question.

      Credit enquiries stay on your credit file for five years.

      Please check this page to learn more what stays on your credit file and for how long.

      Cheers,
      Anndy

  10. Default Gravatar
    Ivan | December 23, 2016

    I had a good credit score a few months ago how could it have changed so much in 3 months when i haven’t purchased anything or used credit cards or loans bills are paid weekly

    • Staff
      Anndy | December 23, 2016

      Hi Ivan,

      Thanks for your question.

      Your credit score is updated monthly and a number of factors can change it including repayment information, credit application, change of credit limit or new information reported by credit providers among others.

      You can find out more what could cause a change in your credit score by visiting this page.

      Cheers,
      Anndy

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