According to the Bank of England’s Credit Conditions survey, most lenders expect to see a small increase in the amount of credit on offer in the coming months it was reported to the money saving expert. But this good news needs to be tempered by the thought that would-be borrowers need a better-than-ever credit rating, especially if they want credit cards or loans.
So are you ready for a free credit report? Take this quiz to find out if you can apply today – or have work to do before you get the offer you want.
1. You have:
a) A mortgage and one credit card that you pay off every month – it’s easier to keep on top of things if you have fewer accounts
b) A car loan, a personal loan and two credit cards that you juggle, generally successfully
c) So many cards and loans that you’ve lost count – you never know when you may need more credit
2. When mortgage, loan or card repayments are due, you:
a) Always pay on time and in full – you’ve set up direct debits
b) Pay on time but sometimes can’t manage the full amount
c) Skip a month every now and then, when money’s tight
3. If you want to borrow, you:
a) Research the marketplace and ask for a quote before applying
b) Do your research and then apply
c) Send off lots of applications, hoping that one lender will say yes
4. When they calculate your credit rating, lenders:
a) Check your credit report to see your credit history, as well as using information from your application
b) Base decisions on your application form and supporting documents
c) Are only concerned that you earn enough to make repayments
5. You check your credit report:
a) Regularly, to make sure that everything is up to date and accurate – you don’t want a clerical error to spoil your chances of accessing a good deal
b) A few years ago, after you were turned down – why bother unless there’s a problem?
c) Never – you don’t want to be reminded how much you owe
6. Your credit rating:
a) Can improve if you can show you’re a responsible borrower
b) Is all about your position today – past problems don’t count
c) Must be OK – look at how much credit you’ve already got
You’ve got a great chance of passing a credit check with flying colours. You may get peace of mind from checking your credit report more frequently, which would not only help you to stay on top of your finances but also protect you from identity fraud and allow you to spot any suspicious applications. You can see your Experian credit report online as often as you like with the CreditExpert service, try it free for 30 days and see how it could help you.
- Always check your credit report for accuracy before applying for credit
- Close joint accounts if you split with a partner, or their credit problems could affect you
- Protect your identity – criminals can borrow money in your name and damage your credit rating
A few years ago, you’d probably have got through most credit checks and been approved for credit. In today’s climate, you may be able to save money by improving your credit history. See how you can manage your Experian credit report with a free 30-day trial of CreditExpert.
- Always make repayments on time or evidence of your unreliability will be on your credit report for at least three years – and could depress your credit score
- Talk to your lender if you have a problem – you may be able to reschedule your payments so you can afford them comfortably
- Add a note of explanation to your credit report if circumstances, such as an illness or accident, explain previous problems
Times have changed but unfortunately your attitude to borrowing hasn’t – to be in with a chance of passing a credit check you need to give your finances a major overhaul. A good place to start is by managing your credit report. This will give you a clear overview of how you’re coping, and if your report needs improving there’s advice on how to do it. Take a free 30-day trial of the CreditExpert service and see how you can better manage your Experian credit report.
- Identify which debts are costing you most and target them first
- Close down unused accounts, register to vote at your current address and challenge any errors in your credit report – it could help to boost your rating
• If you think you are in trouble, get expert help – Citizens Advice at www.adviceguide.org.uk, National Debtline at www.nationaldebtline.co.uk and the Consumer Credit Counselling Service at www.cccs.co.uk are all free
Your thoughts, experiences and comments are welcome. You can join the discussion below and leave your thoughts and experiences.