The Surprise Factors That Can Affect Your Credit Score
There are thousands of people in the UK that get rejected for financial products, despite the belief that they have a strong credit history. Many people think that because they have paid their credit card debt and loans on time, they have maintained a strong rating and this will help their approval for financial products.
Your credit rating is key to your financial freedom and maintaining a good score (that can go up or down) is vital to get approved for essential credit cards, mobile phone contracts and loan products.
It only comes to applying for a sizeable loan like a mortgage when they discover that actually there has been something wrong. In fact, it could be because the individual has an surprising factor that has damaged their credit rating. So today, we give you a list of the surprising things that could damage your credit score and that you need to look for.
Mobile Phone Contract
Last week, we wrote about Elena Murray who was denied a mortgage because of her boyfriend’s unpaid Vodafone bill. The reality was that her partner was always paying his mobile phone bill every month on time except he upgraded his account and Vodafone kept his old one open which ended up running for a year unpaid. This had a real damaging impact on his credit file and when it came to proceeding with his mortgage, it was denied.
Vodafone apologised and gave him £50 in compensation, however, this was a small sum compared to losing out on the home of their dreams. The moral of the story is to check that any phone accounts are closed before upgrading or changing phone provider.
Not Telling Creditors That You Have Moved Home
You may be dealing with some companies where invoices and bills are only sent to your home address, with no online interaction. Therefore if you move home, you may still continue to receive bills but not actually see them. As bills go outstanding, you can find your account being put into arrears and your credit score falling – even without your knowledge.
This is a simple thing to get wrong, especially if you move to a different town or county and don’t get your mail forwarded. Especially since there are some creditors that may only send you bills once a year, it is easy for it to go missing.
The best advice is to make a list of all the bills and creditors that you work with and be sure to tell them that you have moved address and get some form of confirmation by email or post. In fact, the BBC offers a useful checklist of all the service providers to notify. Similarly, moving everything online will allow you to receive alerts and email invoices rather than relying on the postal system.
Owning Too Many Credit Cards
It is very easy to pick up new credit cards including from your favourite retailers or supermarkets. This is very simple when they offer cashback or offers for signing up. Who wouldn’t want a new fashion retail bonanza card? What you may not realise is that just having lots of cards is a bit of a warning to potential lenders and creditors and this can harm your credit rating.
You may not be using your Tesco Card or your Next Card, but simply having them open means that you have a potential credit limit of thousands of pounds. Any future lenders that run a credit check on your account will be able to see how many loans and cards you have open. They might think that you could use all these cards at any time and put pressure on your finances.
The answer is to simply close any that you don’t need and only focus on the view cards that you do.
Check Your Credit Report Regularly
In reality, any potential hiccup or glitch to your credit score can be easily detected by checking your report regularly or signing up to a service. There are loads of companies that offer this including Noodle, ClearScore and Experian. There are free trials available for up to 14 days so you can get a taste but then you can continue to pay around £10 per month afterwards to see your credit.
It works effectively because you will get a notification every time a lender or creditor views your account and if a payment has not been made. So in the case of the mistaken Vodafone bill or the utility bill that continued to be charged, you will be notified on the same day by email and SMS. Simple.
Whether you pay for it each month, there is also the option to order a one-off statutory report for just £2 every year, which credit reference agencies are required to offer to UK customers by law. But getting into the habit of checking your credit record regularly is the key to maintain it and make sure that you can get approved for all the financial products that you are applying for.
Checking your record can also help prevent any fraudulent activity because if someone has stolen your details and identity, at least you can get an alert every time there has been a credit check on your name – and you can be on top of it.