5 things you didn't know about your credit rating

Your credit rating can have a serious impact on your financial future, but many of us are guilty of not knowing much about it.

Your credit rating affects more than you think. Whether you get approved for a loan, credit card, mortgage or even mobile phone contract can all come down to this all-important number.

But for something so significant, many consumers don't know a lot about credit scores. Here are five things you might not know about yours.

Woman paying with a bank card
Step 1

Not borrowing can result in a bad rating.

Never borrowing guarantees you’ll have a perfect credit rating when you do actually want a loan, right? Actually the opposite is true – you need to show lenders you can be trusted to pay them back on time. If you don’t technically need to borrow cash, it might be worth popping your big shops on a credit card and paying off the balance in full every month to boost your rating.

Step 2

Getting on the electoral roll can make all the difference.

One of the quickest and easiest ways to improve your credit rating is making sure all your information is up-to-date on the electoral roll. If you’re not on there at all, you may struggle to get any credit as lenders use the information to help confirm your address and ID. To solve this problem in a matter of minutes, just head to Aboutmyvote.co.uk.

Step 3

Lots of applications can hurt your rating.

We’re always told to compare the best financial products, but the credit rating system is actually a bit anti shopping around. Too many applications for credit in a short period can have a negative impact on your rating. If you’re shopping around for quotes for loans or credit cards ask lenders if they can do a ‘soft search’ which won’t be visible to other lenders on your credit report.

Step 4

Other people’s rating can affect yours, but only if you have a financial connection.

It’s a common myth that people who live at the same address as you, or even the previous occupants, affect your credit rating. But don’t panic, the only people who can impact your credit rating are yourself, and anyone you have a financial relationship with i.e. someone you have a joint account or a loan or mortgage with.

Lenders will check the scores of anyone you’re financially linked to as well and may decide that their circumstances affect your ability to pay them back. So even if you only have a joint account with your flatmate for your rent, their unpaid credit card could have a negative impact on you. If you do have any joint accounts with someone you are no longer financially linked to, make sure you consider getting removed from the accounts and if you do then write to the credit reference agencies asking to be disassociated.

Step 5

How much money you have doesn’t affect your rating.

You may have enough sat in the bank to pay off all your debts, but that doesn’t mean you’ll have a good credit score. Only credit products appear on your report so details of any savings and investments and your salary aren’t on there for lenders to take into account.

Find out how to build up your credit rating.