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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.
  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 defaults, serious credit infringements and bankruptcies. 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. Contact your creditor or credit repair agency. If you do have incorrect negative listings on your account and want assistance removing them, you can contact the creditor you received your report through to see if there are any steps you can take to remove them. If you'd like professional help, you can also contact a credit repair company. You'll have to pay a fee and they can only remove illegitimate listings from your account, so keep this in mind when weighing up the cost against the benefit.
  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.
  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.

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 file. Any time you make an application for a loan, credit card or utility account, it will be added to your credit file. 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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112 Responses

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. Default Gravatar
    AndrewNovember 2, 2018

    Hi, I checked my credit score and finder gave me 815 but equifax gave me 472. Does this mean I shouldn’t apply for credit in case I get declined?

    • finder Customer Care
      JhezelynNovember 8, 2018Staff

      Hello Andrew,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Please note that your credit score and report is accessed by Experian and delivered directly to you, not by finder. When you apply for a loan or credit card and it gets declined, it will have a negative effect on your score and report.

      You may want to know what affects your Experian credit report 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

  5. Default Gravatar
    AshleyOctober 26, 2018

    How can i fix my credit rating due to my ex wife who came from america and ruined my rating ive only just found out

    • finder Customer Care
      JohnOctober 26, 2018Staff

      Hi Ashley,

      Thank you for leaving a question.

      This page we are on offers great tips on improving your credit score. As well, you might also want to check our guide on credit repair by clicking on this link. Hope this helps!

      Cheers,
      Reggie

  6. Default Gravatar
    WilliamOctober 26, 2018

    If I applied for a personal loan, and then thought “Well, actually. I don’t need it anymore” – does it get put down as “bad” credit? Does it go against “good” credit?

    • finder Customer Care
      JohnOctober 26, 2018Staff

      Hi William.

      Thank you for leaving a question.

      If you cancelled an approved loan then the credit enquiry on your report is considered a neutral listings as they aim to give a credit provider a more fully rounded view of your activities as a borrower. However, making too many credit enquiries in a short space of time can have a negative impact on your credit score and make it difficult for you to be approved for credit. Hope this helps!

      Cheers,
      Reggie

  7. Default Gravatar
    RaeOctober 18, 2018

    How long after bankruptcy can I get loan? It’s been a year so far.

    • finder Customer Care
      JhezelynOctober 19, 2018Staff

      Hello Rae,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Please note that bankruptcies may stay on your credit report for up to ten years, but there are some lenders who are willing to provide financing one day after a bankruptcy has been discharged.

      The lenders listed on this page may consider you for a loan even you’re in a bankruptcy state. Please also use the page as your guide and read the article as you can get some tips on how to deal with bankruptcy. The fees and rates may be higher after bankruptcy and you may be required to attach an asset as security or apply with a guarantor.

      Please make sure that you’ve read the relevant T&Cs or PDS of the loan products before making a decision and consider whether the product is right for you.

      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

  8. Default Gravatar
    DanielleOctober 18, 2018

    I have 4 defaults on my file, but it’s 2 of the same thing? 2 are utility bills, then the other 2 is the same 2 utility bills but are paid.

    • finder Customer Care
      JhezelynOctober 19, 2018Staff

      Hello Danielle,

      Thank you for your comment.

      If you have defaults on your file that you think that shouldn’t be there, the first thing to do is to contact the lender. You may need to get in touch with the lender so they can submit an updated report to the credit bureau and have it amended. Please see the tips on how to remove black marks and defaults.

      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

  9. Default Gravatar
    MarkOctober 15, 2018

    I have 2 court actions on my file from overdue rates dating back to 2014 they were paid early 2015 how do i clear them from my file?
    With out being held to ransom and pay an outrageous fee?

    • finder Customer Care
      JohnOctober 16, 2018Staff

      Hi Mark,

      Thank you for leaving a question.

      Court judgement stay on your credit file for 5 years as advised on the Equifax website. I hope this helps!

      Cheers,
      Reggie

  10. Default Gravatar
    TabathaOctober 11, 2018

    No debt & been working full time with my employer for 13 years? How is my rating weak?

    I’ve had numerous loans & not extensive applications so I don’t understand?

    • finder Customer Care
      JeniOctober 14, 2018Staff

      Hi Tabatha,

      Thank you for getting in touch with finder.

      Your credit report contains a range of information about your credit history that includes your financial and personal information. There are a lot of factors why you have a weak credit rating like applying for balance transfers too often and maxing out your credit limit which you don’t see on your credit report. Missed repayments, loan defaults, debt agreements and bankruptcy details are collected by credit reporting agencies and can all feature in your credit report.

      Your credit score is based on the calculated information collected by credit reporting agencies.

      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

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