How does your credit rate?
Whether it’s new or pre-loved clothes, I’m a big fan of shopping online. And I’m sure I’m not alone! Whenever I can afford it, I love scouring the net for something to add to my ever-growing wardrobe, and I love it when I come across fabulous finds.
Until recently, I’d never been too worried about identity fraud, or felt unsecure when shopping online. But when a friend of mine became a victim of identity fraud after her card details were stolen online, it really made me think.
When someone steals your identity, it can cause all sorts of problems, and you might not even notice until you’re applying for a loan or mortgage and something unexpected pops up on your credit score.
I’m now much more careful when shopping online and, on the advice of my friend, have started checking my credit report regularly to ensure that there is nothing untoward.
This got me to thinking about all the other things that, unbeknown to me, might be impacting on my credit score.
If your partner has a less than perfect credit history, this might also impact upon your results, especially if you share a bank account, credit card, mortgage or loan. If in doubt, get them to check theirs and work out together how you can fix any issues – this should impact positively on both of you.
The electoral register
If you’ve moved house recently (or maybe quite a while a go!) and haven’t yet got round to adding yourself to the electoral register, then your credit score could be affected. You don’t even have to vote, if you don’t want to, you just need to register so that companies such as Experian CreditExpert can confirm your identity when they are asked to carry out a credit check.
Something I wasn’t aware of is that if you make lots of applications for credit in quick concession, this will count against you on your credit report. If you make an application and are turned down, you should wait 4-6 months to apply again. Also, try and check your report before you apply, this will prevent you from making any unnecessary applications that might jeopardise your chances further down the line.
If you frequently move house, this may impact on your score. When you apply for credit, you’ll usually be asked to list all the properties you’ve lived in over the past three years - some lenders tend to place less trust in applicants that keep moving house.
Whether it’s a library fine, a parking ticket, or a gym payment from that membership you’ve forgotten all about (hey, it happens to us all!), make sure you pay all fines and debts promptly and in full. Although it may seem small and insignificant, more and more organisations are reporting missed or late payments to credit agencies. So forgetting to pay that library fine could well impact on your credit score.
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