Your credit rating is one of the most important statistics in your financial life. It dictates a lot of different things – whether you can get loans from lenders, how likely you are to get a mortgage, and even whether you can sign up for contracts with phone companies or consumer tech businesses.
As you can tell, your credit rating is therefore an incredibly important number to keep track of. If you don’t know your credit rating, you’re going to seriously struggle with living in the modern world. Luckily, it’s easy to check, and even if you do have a bad credit rating, you have options. Here’s how your credit rating can affect you, and what to do about it if you have bad credit.
Put simply, credit rating affects a lot of different aspects of your financial health and future. Here are just some of the things you’ll need to worry about your credit rating in order to buy or take advantage of.
First and foremost, a bad credit rating makes it difficult for you to get a loan. You may find that you have less favourable interest rates on the loans you get, or you may even find that you’re rejected out of hand for a loan.
Luckily, there are places that can provide bad credit personal loans, so even if you are struggling with a bad credit rating, you’ll usually find a provider happy to take you on. Still, it’s a good idea to have a good credit rating just so that you can find more appealing interest rates.
That’s right – some employers will actually check your credit rating prior to hiring you. If they find you have a bad credit rating, they may see this as a disadvantage to bringing you on board; after all, if you’re in trouble, employers may see that as poor decision-making.
It’s worth saying that not all employers will check what your credit rating looks like. Many are happy to take you based on the value and extent of your skills and experience. However, if you ask us, it’s not worth the risk.
Obviously, if your credit score negatively affects your chances of getting a loan, then you may also find that it’s harder to get a credit card with a poor credit rating. That can be a serious impediment to recovering your financial health if you’re stuck.
Once again, there are plenty of providers out there who will give you a credit card even if you do have a low credit rating, so you shouldn’t panic. Still, ideally, you don’t want to be in that situation.
There are plenty of avenues available to you if you want to improve your credit score and shake off the chains of your financial history. Here are some of your options if you’re looking to boost your score.
Pay off your loans
The biggest barrier to increasing your credit score is any outstanding loans or credit that you have yet to pay. If you want to bring your credit score back up, you’ll need to look into paying loans. Prompt repayments make lenders happy, but paying off the entire loan in one fell swoop is also an option. Just make sure that however you do it, you’re creating a plan for getting your loans off the books, because this is one of the biggest contributors to a poor credit score.
Spread out credit applications
Lenders can see your credit application history. If you apply for too many credit cards or loans within a short period of time, then you’ll make lenders think that you use credit as a crutch and don’t have the means to pay it back reliably. This, understandably, will spook them, so try to make sure that you spread out credit applications if you can. Leave a decent space of time between applications – maybe around two months – and lenders won’t think you’re desperate.
Don’t use your credit card too much
It’s best to keep your credit usage low if you’re looking to build a good score or maintain one. This means not using your credit card for every single transaction; instead, try to use credit cards sparingly, and make payments as close to the credit card purchase as you possibly can. This will show lenders that although you do use credit, you’re responsible with your spending habits. That, in turn, will make them think you’re the right kind of person to take on a loan if you ever need one.
Pay bills and make sure your name is on them
If you share a home with your partner, try to make sure that your name is on any bills that you pay. You should do this because bills like gas, electric, and internet are technically counted as credit, so making prompt, swift repayments in these areas counts as improving your credit score. If, however, you make payments without your name on them, then although you’ll be taking care of your financial affairs, nobody will know you’re doing it. Make sure you’re getting the credit!
Be vigilant for mistakes
Believe it or not, one of the most common ways that your credit rating can be adversely affected is through simple mistakes. Sometimes, payments can register as missed if – for example – you’ve used a different payment method, or the transaction is done through a new third-party provider. Comb your credit score meticulously and make sure to rectify any mistakes you spot. These can be seriously deleterious to your credit score, and you’d be amazed what a difference it can make when you fix them.