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How can I improve my credit score?

When it comes to bad credit we always recommend you pay and satisfy your debts as soon as you can. But there is a long list of ways you can improve your credit score in general too. Here are a few ways that we recommend:

  • Keep up to date with all payments. This will avoid late or missed payment marks on your credit file and the impact that comes along with them.
  • Try not to apply for any credit before you apply for a mortgage. These applications will be recorded as hard searches on your credit file and the lender may think you are too dependent on credit. 
  • Try and stay out of your overdraft and ensure you are not using your credit card limits to the max. This will give the impression that you are in control of your money to the lender. 
  • Check your credit report with the major credit reference agencies TransUnion, Equifax and Experian. This way you can have a clear idea of the shape your credit is in and see how your bad credit could impact any future applications.

How can I remove an error from my credit report? 

If you have found information on your credit report that you deem to be incorrect you can dispute this with the company that has filed the error. For example, a phone company may have filed a missed payment that you had paid. This can sometimes be a long process as it can take the company up to three months to file the notice of correction. This is why we advise you to check your credit reports before an application so you can find the issue and try and resolve it in a timely manner. 

Our bad credit mortgage experts can help you to remove the error from your report as well as advise you on how to improve your credit score. 

Do all credit reference agencies use the same scoring system?

The three main credit reference agencies used by lenders are TransUnion, Equifax and Experian. They all use a different scoring system that determines whether your score is ‘very poor’, ‘poor’, ‘fair’, ‘good’ or ‘excellent’. We recommended you check where you stand with all three agencies as different lenders will use different agencies for their mortgage application process.

Here is a snapshot of the score ranges:

  • Equifax – 0-1000
  • Experian – 0-900
  • TransUnion – 0-710

I have a 600 credit score, can I get a mortgage?

Mortgage lenders are usually more interested in the content of your credit report than the actual score, but the number you are given can be used as an indication of your creditworthiness. Equifax and Experian have scoring systems that see 600 as a fair score. But this is only useful if you can meet the lender’s other eligibility criteria. Many other factors such as income, age, debts, monthly commitments and the type of property you need the mortgage for will be used to evaluate your application. 

I have a 550 credit score, can I get a mortgage?

A low credit score does not automatically mean a mortgage is not possible. You will just need help from a specialist broker to help you find lenders who are willing to take a more flexible approach to your bad credit. Our superheroes can also advise you on ways to improve your credit score also.

How can I improve my credit score quickly?

If an error on your report is bringing down your score, it is possible to have it cleared from your report. This can take up to 3 months depending on the organisation’s efficiency and overall process. Other ways to build your score could be by registering with the electoral role or taking out a flexible credit builder credit card. 

How many years of credit do I need to get a mortgage?

There is not a set minimum number of years you need to have had a credit report to be able to secure lending. The main goal should be aiming to keep your report as clean as possible by making all payments on time and clearing any existing debts. There are lenders out there for people with bad credit but the longer you have maintained a clean credit report since your bad credit was registered the better. 

If you plan on taking out lending such as a credit card, always aim to pay it off in full and on time every month. This will show the lenders assessing your case that you are managing your money well despite any issues you have had in the past. 

What is a good credit score for my age?

Your age can impact your affordability assessment when applying for a mortgage as lenders may question your ability to pay the loan back for the duration of the term or perhaps when you are living off a pension. But there is not necessarily a perfect age or a perfect score in order to secure a mortgage. As mentioned previously, lenders will have different criteria which you need to meet and will be less concerned with your score as it only reflects a fraction of your overall suitability. 

I have been declined due to a low credit score, can I get a mortgage?

Although a decline can hurt it is not the end of the road for your mortgage journey. It may still be possible to seek an alternative lender elsewhere. At MoneyNest we have helped lots of people secure mortgages after they have experienced declines. Our mortgage superheroes can check your eligibility by conducting a soft search that will not hinder your credit file further. 

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FCA Disclaimer

Based on our research, the information on this page is correct as of the time of writing. Because lender criteria and rules are frequently updated, please contact one of the advisors with whom we work to ensure that you have the most up-to-date accurate information. The content on this site is not tailored advice for each specific individual who reads it, therefore it does not constitute financial advice. All of our mortgage advisors are qualified to give mortgage advice and do so only for firms that have been licensed and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. They will provide you with any specialised information you require. The FCA does not regulate some forms of buy-to-let mortgages. Consider carefully before relying on other debts against your property. If you do not make payments on your mortgage, your home may be taken back by the lender. The equity released from your house will also be secured against it.