Mistakes, I’ve Made a Few
Check My File
The best way to get access to all 4 of these reports together in one place is via: https://www.checkmyfile.com/. You can view your credit file from all 4 agencies and it gives you an overall score based on all 4 reports. It gives you basic information on how to improve your credit score but I didn’t find it very useful, it’s just generic information that is common knowledge. They are good however if you want to view and remove any financial connections from all 4 reports. With just 1 click of a button they email all 4 agencies and tell them all to remove the association from your credit file. It is free for the first 30 days (you have to enter your card details though so you will get auto-enrolled if you forget) but after that it is £14.99 per month, this is the same price as Experian but obviously gives you a much better overview of your actual score as it’s an average of all 4.
You can access your Experian score directly through them at: https://www.experian.co.uk/. I find their score is always much higher than everywhere else so it’s not necessarily a very good representation of where your credit actually is overall. It’s great if the lender you are going with uses them as I know a lot of people that have a 999 out of 999 score but if your lender uses a different agency it’s likely to be a much lower score. You can view your score for free but to view anything else and any recommendations for improvement it is £14.99 per month to join their Credit ‘expert’ service.
You can access your Equifax score through: https://www.clearscore.com/ and you’ll be glad to know this one is completely free. They must make money as a kick back for recommending you loans and credit cards. I think the other 2 above do too but they must just be greedy and want the monthly fee AND the kick back! I found this site to be pretty good but aside from the standard ‘pay your bills on time’ and ‘don’t apply for credit too often’ there wasn’t really any actionable steps on there that I could take for improvement (or on any of the 3 I’ve mentioned above to be honest).
You can access your Transunion credit file through: https://www.creditkarma.co.uk/. This is also a completely free service and is BY FAR the best service for actually showing you how to improve your credit score. They give you simple, actionable steps you can take today and it’s not just the standard wishy washy generic advice. I only joined 3 months ago and have already improved my score by 16 points since March. They tell you the main points that most of us already know but they also give you random tips you would never realise or work out on your own which I will share with you below from my own report. I found that by doing all the common things like paying bills on time, paying off all my credit cards in full etc I had a good credit score but once it plateaued I couldn’t seem to get it any higher until now.
How To Improve Your Credit Score
Oldest Bank Account
Use 1%-25% Of Your Available Credit
Where To Start If You Don't Have Any Credit At All?
It can be hard when starting out with a completely blank slate. As I mentioned at the start most people don’t even think about their credit score until they want to get a new car on finance or buy their first home but by then it’s way too late. You need to start building this score up slowly as soon as you are 18 and able to take out credit.
At the start it can be hard just to get ANY credit at all. It’s a bit of a vicious cycle . . . . you can’t get any credit because you don’t have a credit score, but the only way to build a credit score is by having credit . . . . which you can’t get (confused yet? haha).
So where do you start? You need to start off really small. A phone contract is normally the best place to start, and that doesn’t mean a £10,000 Iphone XX5000 (or whatever model we are on by the time you are reading this). Just get an average £2-£300 cheap phone on a £20 a month deal. Or even just a sim only contract for your current mobile is a better option but make sure it is a proper 12 month or 2 year contract paid by direct debit and not a rolling monthly sim with no contract that you automatically pay for by card.
Or a £500-£1000 credit card but make sure you pay it off IN FULL every month. Please don’t go buying loads of new clothes or rubbish you don’t need and justify it by saying “I need to buy all this rubbish to build up my credit score” no you don’t. Just buy the same things you normally would like food, petrol and everyday essentials but just buy them on a credit card instead of a debit card. You will struggle to get your first credit card so don’t apply for loads of them as it negatively affects your score each time you search even if you are successful. You can apply for a ‘credit builder’ card here:
They have high interest rates because they are for people with no/bad credit but you are not paying ANY interest remember because you will be paying it off IN FULL every month . . . . please!!!
Get your name onto some of the household bills. Ask your parents if you can pay the Sky tv, broadband or electric in your name and they just transfer you the money. Beware with this option though as they may use this to finally get you to start paying towards living costs haha!
Make Sure You Are On The Electoral Roll
This simply means registering to vote. Make sure you do this at your current address, and be sure to move this whenever you move house. You can register to vote here:
Any other tips I have missed? Comment below, what has been your worst financial decision? Haha come on don’t be shy!! I’ve just shared my entire credit report from all 3 agencies with the whole world 🤷♂️ 😂..
Nothing in this blog should be considered financial advice. The author is not a financial adviser and has no training in this field. He is just sharing information and ideas he has either formed himself through his own experience or that he has read from other sources. Please do your own research before making ANY investment or financial decision. Taking out credit without a sound financial plan is a slippery slope and can lead to a mountain of debt . . . . believe me I know! Money and finances are one of the leading causes of depression and divorce, please treat your finances with the respect they deserve. The author and this blog/website accept no responsibility for any financial loss or hardship as a result of blindly following any of the information contained within.