10 Tips For Understanding And Improving Your Credit Score:
A poor credit score is not a permanent black mark against your name and there are many steps you can take right now to make yourself more appealing to lenders.
Your credit score or rating is a measure that lenders use to assess your eligibility for loans, such as mortgages, credit cards, personal loans etc. If you are currently in a lot of debt and/or have missed minimum repayments or defaulted on loans in the recent past, chances are you will have a poor credit score. This makes it very difficult to get credit, and you won’t get a very good deal if you do happen to qualify.
The good news is that these issues will not last forever. Even the most frugal of us get in to trouble from time to time. As long as you continue to work on those debts and can demonstrate that you have the situation under control, things will begin to improve.
However to be in the best position to improve your credit score, it is important to understand some of the factors that go in to the calculation and how you can work on these individually.
How Is Your Credit Score Calculated?
- There is no exact credit score science, and each lender may view things slightly differently. However the single biggest factor is your repayment history, which accounts for 35% of the overall score. Miss even one payment and this will reflect negatively on your report.
- The next 30% is determined by the amount of money you actually owe. If this is in the thousands and your balances are all maxed out, this will drag your score down considerably.
- 15% is determined by your credit history length. Relatively new borrowers will have a tougher time than those who have been borrowing for decades, but lots of negative history is obviously not a good sign either.
- 10% is determined by your immediate credit history. Have you just taken out several new cards? Why would another lender want to join the pack?
- The final 10% refers to the type of credit you have. A variety is usually better, but this is not critical as long as you have some form of active credit.
At GshLoans.com we believe a knowledgeable customer is the best kind of customer. So if you do not qualify for one of our payday loans right away, we’re still going to give you a head start and share some of our top tips for getting that credit score back on track.
1) Check Credit Reports And Accounts For Errors
Although credit reports are an intimate snapshot of our financial status, people rarely actually check them over. Failing to spot errors could leave you with a poor credit rating and a lack of credit when it’s not even justified. One common error is forgetting to update the address on your old unused accounts and contracts. Lenders may use this outdated info, check your old address and get cold feet because they can’t identify you properly. Or worse you may be associated with the debts of the person currently living at the address. All sorts of other errors may appear on your credit reports – from not recognizing you’ve paid a debt, to not recognizing years of credit history – so it’s important to give them the once over on a yearly basis. This can be done online for free.
2) Start Slow
Improving your credit score is all about demonstrating that you’re a responsible borrower and can make the minimum repayments in time. So if after a particularly rough spell you want to rebuild that score, start slow with something you are certain you can manage. A basic cell phone contract is a good option, and you will rarely be rejected by the carrier even if you have a bad credit history. Once you have paid down larger debts, you can move on to new cards and loans to build further trust. Once you have paid down larger debts, you can move on to new cards and loans to build further trust.
3) Always Pay The Minimum But Try To Pay More
If you look at your credit accounts you may find them completely overwhelming, but what you should never do is give up. Your payment history makes up a whopping 35% of your score, so failing to pay the minimum amount on time will destroy your credit score, making it much harder to bounce back. While paying the minimum is not a fast way out of debt, it will keep the dam from breaking and slowly improve your score and financial situation. If you can pay more than the minimum, even if only a little, the whole process will speed up. Setting up automatic payments will prevent you from simply forgetting to pay, but you obviously need to ensure you have the money to begin with.
4) Don’t Close Old Accounts
Even if you don’t use old credit cards or other accounts it’s worth keeping them open. Being with a lender for a long period of time shows that you’re a trustworthy customer, and having unused credit on the books shows that you’re not at breaking point. This is called credit utilization. 35% of your score is determined by your repayment history and 15% relates to how long you’ve been obtaining credit. So keep those accounts open.
5) Don’t Over Apply
If you have a number of debts and a poor credit score, you may be tempted to apply for every form of credit under the sun until somebody accepts you and gives you some breathing room. This is a bad idea because lenders can see if you’ve been trying to obtain new credit, and they may view this as desperation. Instead, fully research your likelihood of being accepted and only apply when the odds are good. 10% of your credit score is determined by your new credit activities, so keep this in mind before going on an application spree.
6) Have Different Types Of Credit
Having a good mix of credit can account for 10% of your score, meaning you might not want to rely on just credit cards or another single form of credit. The best scenario is to have a few credit cards, a cell phone contract, auto loan, and mortgage. Of course you should never take out credit you can’t handle, but if you’re in a situation where you have the luxury of choosing between cash and credit, using credit will help your score. People who never use credit cards or take out any kind of loan will find it harder to obtain credit because they don’t have a proven track record. Somebody who can handle all kinds of credit is a much better candidate.
7) Spread Debt Where Possible
Lenders won’t just look at your overall levels of debt, but also the individual levels on each account. It is better to have multiple credit cards with a balance well below the limit, than some with no balance and one maxed out to the limit. So if it’s possible and feasible (check the rates) spreading your debt around can improve your credit score slightly. It’s advisable to keep the balance on each individual account below 35% of the limit. This is your credit utilization ratio. Of course actually paying the debts down is the most important factor.
8) Don’t Try And Clean Your Report Of Good History
Some people have the erroneous belief that once they’ve paid off a debt and closed an account ,that they need to scrub this from their reports. This only applies to BAD history. If you’ve completed your car payments, never missing one date, this is a GOOD sign to lenders that you’re a responsible borrower. Trying to remove that history would be foolish. Remember, your history is a huge chunk of your credit score.
9) Don’t Use Cash Advances
A cash advance is when you use your credit card to withdraw cash directly from an ATM. Unlike purchases, interest is due regardless of whether you repay the balance in full, and the rate will be higher as well. Lenders look at excessive cash advances as a sign of poor money management. Cards are now accepted everywhere as forms of payment, so there is really no need to use cash advances unless you are in an emergency.
When you’re worrying about debt and a bad credit score you might not feel like you have room to negotiate, but lenders can be quite forgiving if you act in good faith. It is not unheard of to work out a deal where you settle an outstanding debt in full, so long as the lender agrees not to leave a black mark on your credit report for the previous missed payments.
If you are in urgent need of credit until your next pay check, but do not have the best credit score, we can help! Apply today with your proof of income, and you can get the breathing room you need within 24 hours, regardless of your credit history.