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Improve your credit score

Find out how your credit score is calculated and pick up some tips to improve it.

A credit score is a rating based on the information on your credit report. When you apply for credit, whether it's a credit card, personal loan or home loan, your ability to manage those accounts is recorded on your credit report. Lenders use your credit report and credit score to assess your application when you request a new line of credit. If your credit score is low, you're less likely to receive approval for such loans. However, there are ways you can improve your credit score.

You can use this guide to understand what is considered a low credit score and the steps you can follow to improve it.

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What is a good credit score?

Each credit bureau determines your credit score differently. For example, your credit score from credit reporting bureau Experian will be a number between 0 and 1,000. The higher your score, the better your credit history is. From weak to excellent, you can compare the breakdown of credit scores used by credit reporting bureaus Experian and Equifax below:

Credit bandExperian score
Excellent800-1,000
Very good700-799
Good625-699
Fair550-624
Weak0-549
Credit positionEquifax scorePercentile
Excellent833-120081-100%
Very good726-83261-80%
Good622-72541-60%
Average510-62121-40%
Below average0-5090-20%

You can get a free copy of your credit report and credit score through Finder. You'll also receive notifications whenever something changes in your report, so you can always stay on top of your finances.

How to improve your credit score in 5 steps

If your credit score is low, these are the steps you can follow to improve it and get your credit history back in shape:

1. Get your credit score and credit report

You can order both your credit score and your report for free through Finder. When you receive your score, check which credit band you fall into (excellent, fair, weak and so on) and review your credit report to get a more in-depth understanding of your financial position. Once you do this, you can make a game plan to get your finances back in order.

When you order your credit score and report through Finder, you'll also receive updates if anything changes on your report. That way you can stay on top of your finances and any impacts on your score.

2. Check your report for high-risk listings

If your score is low, review your report and look out for negative listings. This could include multiple credit enquiries in a short space of time, credit cards with high limits, multiple loan accounts and black marks such as late payments, defaults, serious credit infringements and bankruptcies. Defaults can last on your credit report for five years, while serious credit infringements and bankruptcies will stay on your report for 7 years. You can only remove any negative listings from your account if they're incorrect.

These can last on your credit report for 5 to 7 years depending on the listing and can only be removed if they're incorrect. You can see our guide to removing invalid black marks and defaults from your credit report for more information.

3. Remove any incorrect information

If you've found any incorrect listings on your account, you can contact your creditor or the credit reporting bureau that you ordered your report through to have them removed. You can also seek professional help from a credit repair agency. This will cost a fee, but they know what to look for and who to contact to remove these listings. However, it's still worth weighing up the benefits and the costs before you go through an agency. It's important to remember that they can only remove illegitimate negative listings from your account.

4. Identify listings that you can improve

If all of the listings on your credit report are valid, there are still steps you can take to improve your finances. For instance, if you have a high credit limit that you aren't using, you can contact your bank to lower it. If you have multiple personal loans or credit card debt, you can consolidate them under one product with a promotional 0% interest rate and pay it off with no interest. You should also make sure you're paying all of your bills on time and create a budget to repay any existing debts. This includes credit accounts such as utilities and phone contracts.

If you have any overdue accounts of $150 or more on your account, pay them off as soon as possible. If they're overdue on your account for more than 60 days, they'll be considered a default and will remain on your account for five years. After this, they could be considered a serious credit infringement, which will remain on your account for seven years. You can learn more about the difference between defaults and serious credit infringements and the impact they'll have on your credit score in this detailed guide.

If you're struggling to repay your accounts, contact your creditor to discuss an alternative repayment plan to avoid defaulting on your payment.

5. Keep an eye on your score and your credit

As you work to improve your finances, keep an eye on your credit score. If you order your free credit score through Finder, you'll receive notifications any time something changes in your credit report so that you're always on top of your finances. If you notice an incorrect or suspicious listing on your report, contact the credit bureau reporting agency as soon as possible.

How is my score calculated?

Your credit score is determined by the information that's included in your credit report. If you're determined to improve your credit history, keep in mind that the following information impacts your score:

  • Your personal information. Your age, how long you've been employed and the time you've been at your current address is used to calculate your risk.
  • Age of your credit report. The length of time your credit report has been active also impacts your credit score.
  • Type of credit providers. The types of credit and providers you've applied for and held accounts with will also impact your score. For instance, if you've held an account with a bank it will carry a different level of risk than a store finance provider.
  • What credit you've held and the credit limit. Your score will largely be determined by the risk associated with the type of credit requested in your loan application. The credit limit or loan amount you request will also determine your credit risk index and affect your final score.
  • The number of credit enquiries listed on your report. Any time you make an application for a loan, credit card or utility account, it will be added to your credit report. Frequent applications for credit raise your risk index and lower your credit score.
  • The pattern of your credit enquiries and shopping over time. Many credit enquiries within a short period of time may be a red flag to lenders. Defaults and other serious infringements in your credit history also affect your score negatively.
  • Default information. If you have overdue debts, serious credit infringements or clearouts it will negatively impact your credit score.
  • Court writs and judgements. Any listing indicating a court writ or default judgement will decrease your credit score as it's an indicator of increased risk.

Checking your credit score and report are the first steps to getting your finances back on track. If you do have a low score, there are some simple steps that you can follow to improve it. It's important to do this and build up your credit before you apply for any new loans or credit products, otherwise any rejected applications will further hurt your score.

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126 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    TyDecember 15, 2018

    Hi. I have multiple (5) outstanding overdue bills (debt) that I have not yet started to pay off. What’s the best way to pay them off slowly in one transaction, per fortnight? Is there a company that will help me get back on track, debt free and get my credit score back up again? Please. Also how long does “bad credit rating” stick to someone’s name? Thank you.

    • finder Customer Care
      JoshuaDecember 16, 2018Staff

      Hi Latailatu,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder. I hope all is well with you. :)

      I’m sorry to hear about your situation, Latailatu. There are at least two things you can do to start paying off your debt. One is cut down your expenses and two is increase your earning.

      Now, if you have overdue bills from credit cards, you might want to consider doing balance transfer as this can help you obtain a certain period of time where your bills won’t incur interest rate. There are also other ways for you to pay off your credit card debts.

      Since I’m not completely familiar with your situation, Latailatu, I couldn’t tell you which is the best way for you to pay off your debt. However, what I can tell you is negotiate your bills. Speak to your providers and see if they can give you repayment plans.

      Lastly, bad credit rating sticks to your name as long as you don’t improve your financial standing. Once you pay off your debt in a timely manner and improve your credit history, then your score will also improve.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

  2. Default Gravatar
    RezaDecember 14, 2018

    Hi.
    I have checked my credit via your website. It is good. I have never got any loan or fine. I always pay my rent and all bills on time. But when applied for a personal loan or getting home internet from Optus, they reject me. I want to know why. What should I do to get them?
    Thanks.

    • finder Customer Care
      JoshuaDecember 16, 2018Staff

      Hi Arzani,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder. I hope all is well with you. :)

      Yes, it is true that Optus perform credit checks and if you don’t have a good credit score, it could be a reason that your application would be rejected. However, if you are certain that you have a good credit score, then there could be other reasons why you are declined.

      It would be a good idea to directly get in touch with Optus and check if they also other options available for you.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

  3. Default Gravatar
    balwinderDecember 13, 2018

    How long does it take to clear my defaults and bad credit history? What is the process?

    • finder Customer Care
      JhezelynDecember 18, 2018Staff

      Hello Balwinder,

      Thank you for your comment.

      As per checking, overdue accounts listed as a payment default can stay on your file up to 5 years and overdue accounts listed as a clearout or serious credit infringement can stay up to 5-7 years.

      If you want to know the process of repairing your credit file, please refer to our guide here. Best to contact your creditor first and have them check your account to update it and submit to the credit reporting bureau.

      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

  4. Default Gravatar
    robDecember 13, 2018

    Hi,

    I have two things on my credit history that shouldn’t be there, I have been in contact with the banks about this for the past 12 months with no luck them removing it even though they said they would. How do I get it removed?

    • finder Customer Care
      JoshuaDecember 16, 2018Staff

      Hi Wright,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder. I hope all is well with you. :)

      I’m sorry to hear about the trouble you are getting. Generally, it is either you contact the bank or the credit bureau to correct the problem. If the bank doesn’t help, you can get in touch with a credit reporting bureau. Typically, credit reporting bodies are obliged to investigate reported errors regardless of who made the listing.

      You may also want to read our guide entitled, “What to do about a mistake on your credit file?”

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

  5. Default Gravatar
    KateDecember 4, 2018

    How can I fix my credit score? Can I pay it off or find out what’s owing to make it good again so I can get credit?

    • finder Customer Care
      JhezelynDecember 8, 2018Staff

      Hi Kate,

      Thank you for your comment.

      I understand that you want your credit score to be fixed. You may need to request for a credit report first so you’ll have an idea on how you got a certain score.

      Next, you may contact your creditors and discuss how you can settle your balances. If you’re paying your balances on time, it would help your credit score to increase in time. There are a number of ways that you can improve your credit score. You can find out how with our detailed guide 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

  6. Default Gravatar
    GinaNovember 26, 2018

    How can I improve my credit score?

    • finder Customer Care
      JhezelynNovember 27, 2018Staff

      Hello Gina,

      Thank you for your comment.

      You can refer to the tips on how to improve your credit score here. I hope this helps.

      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

  7. Default Gravatar
    BethanyNovember 18, 2018

    Hi

    I just got a notification that my credit rating went from good to very good. The only thing I can think of is I recently opened à credit card account with Bank West and received my first statement the minimum payment due was $50 but I paid the total outstanding balance in full on time. So my question is – do banks report every time a payment is made even if it’s on time?

    Thank you

    • finder Customer Care
      JeniNovember 18, 2018Staff

      Hi Bethany,

      Thank you for getting in touch with finder.

      Congrats on your credit score’s improvement. Credit providers like banks generally report all payments a user make either on time or not.

      I hope this helps.

      Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any other enquiries.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Jeni

  8. Default Gravatar
    MartinNovember 14, 2018

    I paid the balance owing on my credit card and now my account is closed. Should the credit company remove from my rating the number of times I missed a payment now that the card is paid in full and closed?

    • finder Customer Care
      JohnNovember 14, 2018Staff

      Hi Martin,

      Thank you for leaving a question.

      Your credit report retains repayment history information from the past two years. This means that any missed payments on your mortgage, personal loans, or credit card accounts during the last two years will show up your credit report, lowering your credit score and hurting your chances of obtaining new credit. Hope this helps!

      Cheers,
      Reggie

  9. Default Gravatar
    KatrinaNovember 10, 2018

    Hi,

    How come my Experian credit score is only 300 and something rated as weak, but my Equifax is 600 and something rated as good?

    • finder Customer Care
      JeniNovember 10, 2018Staff

      Hi Katrina,

      Thank you for getting in touch with finder.

      Please note that different credit reporting bodies have different systems for scoring credit. Equifax’s credit score system rates credit scores between 0 and 1,200 while Experian is between 0 and 1,000. I suggest that you check both credit reporting bodies’ credit reports and compare the difference. If you see any mistakes with your Experian’s credit report, you may let them know to process correction on this PAGE.

      I hope this helps.

      Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any other enquiries.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Jeni

  10. Default Gravatar
    GemmaNovember 2, 2018

    How long do credit inquiries last?

    • finder Customer Care
      JhezelynNovember 2, 2018Staff

      Hello Gemma,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Please know that information regarding credit enquiries you’ve made is held on your credit file for five years. You may refer to this page to get more ideas about credit enquiries and how it affects your credit file.

      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

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