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In the current economic climate it’s more difficult to obtain a mortgage or a bank loan, and so keeping a positive credit rating is particularly critical.
The good news is that it doesn’t cost you to keep an eye on your record – you can credit check for free with Credit Expert. It couldn’t be easier, you simply go online to register and enter your details, and you will be able to access your credit report and score after confirming your identity.
Make sure that the information is up-to-date and accurate, and act quickly to correct any errors so that they don’t stay on your record. Some key tips for keeping or rebuilding a healthy balance :It might seem obvious, but you need to have a record in the first place! Especially for young people who have just left school or college, you may have had a pay-as-you-go phone, and will not have a mortgage or have arranged a bank or car loan, so a lender will have no data on how reliable you might be to lend to. Tip number one – it’s important to build a record, even with one or two regular commitments that you are seen to be regularly paying off, as each time you open a new credit agreement it will leave an electronic footprint on your record.
Try to ensure that you always pay your bills on time, and set up direct debits to make sure that any monthly repayments go out on time. You do, of course, have to ensure that you have the funds in your account to cover outgoings, so make a habit of regularly checking your bank account.
Apply for credit that you are confident you will get. Each time you are turned down for credit it will leave a footprint on your file, and may warn off other lenders. To try and avoid this it’s a good idea to ask a prospective lender to only do a ‘quotation search’ initially. This is not a full credit search, and will not leave a search record.
If you do hit problems, through the loss of your job or a divorce, talk to lenders sooner rather than later. You can very often arrange to reduce repayments on a mortgage, for instance, for a period of time until you are back on your feet. If you have missed repayments through exceptional circumstances, you can arrange for a brief explanatory note to be put on your file. Lenders will not demand a whiter-than-white record, but they will want to see that you have managed to regain control over your financial situation, and have shown a level of competence and reliability in doing so.