7 Things You Might Not Know Affects Your Credit Score
Your credit score often plays an important role in how financial institutions view you which can affect more than just applying for credit. It can also be checked when applying for broadband, car insurance and even some utilities too. Not only is it useful to check yours regularly, but it’s also important to know as much as possible about what can affect your score.
1. Moving home
Changing your address can cause your score to drop, though this should only be a temporary change. Alongside the inevitable changes such as setting up new utility accounts and credit checks, your current credit will also be transferred to your new address which will cause a temporary drop. Moving house frequently, however, can be seen as a sign of instability which could negatively impact your ability to obtain credit.
2. Being on the electoral roll
Registering yourself on the electoral roll when you move home should be as important as updating your driving license. Many companies use the electoral register to prove a person’s identity so it is better to do it sooner rather than later.
3. Keeping hold of old accounts
Creditors like to see stability on a person’s file, so having at least one, long-standing line of credit such as a current account will have a positive impact on your score.
4. Financial links
If you have joint credit with someone else such as a partner or housemate, you’re classed as being financially linked. If this person has a less than perfect score, it could impact your ability to obtain credit as often lenders will assess their creditworthiness, as well as your own. These associations stay on your file for six years, even if you no longer hold joint credit with that person. You can request a ‘notice of disassociation’ from the credit reference agencies which can dissolve this link and potentially improve your score.
5. Credit limits
Having unused, available credit shows trustworthiness to creditors. For example, if you have a card with a £1,000 limit but you’ve only used £300 of it, this shows that you’re not reliant on this credit and therefore can improve how lenders view your creditworthiness. Likewise having a very high credit limit on a single card can have a positive effect as it shows you can be trusted.
6. No Credit history
We’ve all met someone who very proudly announces how their credit is perfect because they’ve never had a credit card or loan – but this is actually a bit of a myth. Having a very thin credit history makes it more difficult for creditors to predict how likely a person is to keep up their repayments. It’s almost like the Schrödinger’s cat of credit, a person could have both a good and bad credit history.
7. Incorrect data
Checking your credit report regularly is a good way to ensure the data held by the three credit reference agencies in the UK is correct. If you notice anything unusual such as a hard search when you haven’t made an application, an account you don’t recognise, or missed payments being reported which you don’t believe are correct, you should get in contact with the business right away and ask them to investigate.
UK Credit does not provide financial advice. None of the articles contained within this website are intended to constitute financial advice and should be used for information purposes only. If you require financial advice, please contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau, Stepchange, or other independent advisor.