Improve your credit score

Find out your credit score and pick up some tips if you need to improve it.

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When you apply for any credit account, your ability to manage and repay that account is recorded on your credit report and factored into your credit score. Lenders use this credit information to assess your application for any new lines of credit.

You can use this guide to understand what is considered a high or low credit score and the steps you can take 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
Excellent833-1,20081-100%
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 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 a negative listing from your account if it's 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, 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 charge 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 position. 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.

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 amount of 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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146 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    AaronApril 29, 2019

    Hi! I’m wondering how badly would voluntary surrendering a vehicle on a loan affect my credit score rating. Can you repair the credit score rating once it’s been damaged by surrendering on the loan?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaMay 1, 2019Staff

      Hi Aaron,

      Thanks for getting in touch with Finder. I hope all is well with you. 😃

      Regarding your question, there’s no doubt that defaulting on your car loan or stopping payment would cause a dip in your credit score. How bad it is, I can’t tell for sure. However, the fact that you have a car loan default on your credit report would mean that you will have a hard time applying for any type of loan in the future.

      Defaults may stay on your credit file for up to five years. If it is a legitimate record, then you won’t be able to remove that from your file directly. You need to wait for it to be removed.

      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
    StevenApril 4, 2019

    Hey. I’ve been trying for a few years now to improve my credit. I have no defaults but credit inquiries dating back 5 years and I keep making the mistake of applying for low interest cards that pop up and would save me money. However denied instantly. My credit was around 690 now dropped back to around 650.
    I’m never late for my repayments and have a $30k personal loan active and a $7500 CC. Both have around 27k and $500 owing.
    Can you give any tips on how I could improve either my finances or credit score.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      NikkiApril 5, 2019Staff

      Hi Steven,

      Thanks for reaching out! I understand it’s quite challenging to have a lower credit score. Your credit score is not the only factor that a bank reviews when applying – there are other things that goes through an application and though we don’t have any idea how the bank assessed your application – here is a page that may have influenced it. Oftentimes, they look at your payables on a monthly basis and if you can make payments timely so if you have a loan and another credit card with a high limit – that influences their decision to approve you or not. Hope this helps!

      Best,
      Nikki

  3. Default Gravatar
    JoanneMarch 29, 2019

    Who do I call to request something removed or added to my credit score please

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      NikkiMarch 30, 2019Staff

      Hi Joanne,

      Thanks for getting in touch! There are ways to improve your credit position through credit repair. You can do this yourself or through a credit repair company and you can read your options by visiting this page.

      Hope this was helpful. Don’t hesitate to message us back if you have more questions.

      Best,
      Nikki

  4. Default Gravatar
    neededMarch 21, 2019

    I have no Australian ID. How can I get a credit score?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaMarch 21, 2019Staff

      Hi Tiger,

      Thanks for getting in touch with Finder. I hope all is well with you. 😃

      When it comes to getting a credit score, it is important to identify formally your identity. Thus, you would need to provide personal information and an Australian ID is among the important documents you need to get a credit score. If you don’t have an Australian ID, you may want to first find a way to get one.

      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
    SteveMarch 19, 2019

    I would like to fix my credit rating. It is at 107. How do I get it back to 700+?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaMarch 19, 2019Staff

      Hi Steven,

      Thanks for getting in touch with Finder. I’m sorry to hear that you have a low credit score.

      Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to improve your score. The guide above will show you how to improve your credit score in 5 steps. Aside from these, you need to avoid applying for loans and credit cards for now. This is because frequent applications for credit raise your risk index and lower your credit score.

      Make it a point as well to make repayments on time. Moreover, consider lowering your credit limits and consolidating debts.

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

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

  6. Default Gravatar
    MaddiMarch 13, 2019

    Hi I was wondering how I can improve my rating,
    I’m only 19 and never had any debt, I moved out last year.
    Would my low rating be because I’ve applied for a few loans or just because I’m too young?
    How can I improve it?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      NikkiMarch 14, 2019Staff

      Hi Maddi,

      Thanks for reaching out and it’s nice to know that you are looking to improve your credit score. The information above shows how you can improve your credit score. It’s helpful to know that applying/inquiring with lenders shows in your report as well so it’s important to do some thorough research before actually contacting the lender. You can see on this page what influences the increase or decrease of your score. Hope this helps!

      Best,
      Nikki

  7. Default Gravatar
    JulieFebruary 27, 2019

    I have a debt collector chasing me for a personal loan debt from over 10yrs ago, I cannot pay and have been contemplating Bankruptcy open to suggestions

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JohnFebruary 28, 2019Staff

      Hi Julie,

      Thank you for reaching out to Finder.

      Though the debt is 10 years old already, debt collection companies would still be able to contact you to have a settlement or a repayment plan set up to cover the debt. You may learn more about this by clicking this link to be routed to our page on “The debt collection process”. Hope this helps!

      Cheers,
      Reggie

  8. Default Gravatar
    BrendaFebruary 26, 2019

    If a have a “very good” score of 710, how do I make it excellent? I have never missed it or defaulted any payments etc.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JeniMarch 1, 2019Staff

      Hi Brenda,

      Thank you for getting in touch with Finder.

      You’re currently at the right page to learn some tips on how to improve your credit score.

      Please note that your credit score is calculated using a range of information from your credit report like the age of your credit file. If your credit file has been recently created you may be seen as more of a risk than someone with a longer-standing credit file. However, this depends on the type of listings on your file.

      I hope this helps.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Jeni

  9. Default Gravatar
    IlinaFebruary 7, 2019

    I would like help improve my score so it doesn’t pull me back because I’m hoping to buy a new car in the next couple of months.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MayFebruary 14, 2019Staff

      Hi Ilina,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      It’s great to know that you’re preparing your creditworthiness before purchasing a new car. Actually, that’s one of the factors that a lender considers if you’re going to get a car loan apart from meeting their other eligibility requirements. So, if you want to improve your credit score, you can basically refer to the simple guides outlined above or you can also check out the 5 steps to improve your score here.

      Generally, you would start by getting your credit report and score first so you would have an idea of your current standing then from there, follow the other recommendations outlined in the article. In case, you can also speak to a professional from any of the credit repair agencies.

      I hope this has helped.

      Cheers,
      May

  10. Default Gravatar
    YvonneJanuary 23, 2019

    I want my credit score rating.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JeniJanuary 26, 2019Staff

      Hi Yvonne,

      Thank you for getting in touch with finder.

      Kindly log in on finder then click the Get started orange button on this page. Please make sure that you have an Australian passport or driving licence ready to obtain a free copy of your score from our page.

      I hope this helps.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Jeni

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