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How To Improve Your Credit Score

Understanding how to improve your credit score can be intimidating at first, but the good news is that it’s actually pretty simple.

Your credit score is a highly impactful aspect of your financial health. People often review their credit score ratings to better understand their creditworthiness because of their impact on financial opportunities like loans, credit lines, and even property or business investments.

Your credit report will tell you crucial information about your credit health. Even better, you can get your credit score for free through credit reporting agencies or credit score providers. 

What are the factors that affect my credit score?

Your rating is based on multiple factors, and if you’re learning how to improve your credit score, understanding these factors is crucial. In Australia, you can access your rating from credit reporting agencies (CRAs) like Equifax, Experian, and illion as well as online credit score providers.

Generally speaking, credit scores range from 0 to 1,000 or 0 to 1,200, depending on the CRA. The higher your score, the better it is; conversely, the lower your score, the more improvement it requires.

With that in mind, what factors can greatly impact your score? Here are a few that you can look into.

Utility and credit repayments

It’s a common myth that only credit-related payments are recorded in your credit history. However, the truth is that your utility bills may impact your credit score more than you realise. 

While utility providers do not report dues paid on time to your CRAs, they do report defaulted or missed payments once they reach certain amounts within a certain period. 

Frequent credit applications

Multiple credit applications at once may be giving you more trouble with how to improve your credit score than you realise.

When you apply for a credit product, creditors and lenders perform a hard enquiry (also known as a hard check) into your credit history. Hard enquiries are recorded in your credit history, and several applications within a short period can signal to lenders that you may be experiencing financial difficulty.

Defaults and outstanding debt

Creditors and lenders will report any defaults to CRAs. This information will cause your score to drop and will stay on your credit history for a long time. This also applies to any court judgements regarding debt that have been made against you.

Credit is a serious financial obligation. When it comes to how to improve your credit score, it’s always best to manage credit and similar debts responsibly.

Do credit scores reset after a certain period?

Your credit score doesn’t reset, which is why a lot of people seek ways to improve it. That being said, there are certain types of information in your credit history that have a limited lifespan.

Any recorded credit enquiries will stay on your credit history for up to five years. Ongoing credit obligations and consequent repayments will last for up to two years from the date. If you’ve experienced financial hardship, any related information will stay on your record for a year. 

More serious circumstances will stay on your credit report for longer. Court judgements and defaults stay on your record for five years, while instances of serious credit infringement will stay on record for seven years.

For some types of information, the lifespan varies. For example, bankruptcies and debt agreements stay on your credit report anywhere from two to five years, depending on certain factors.

Because of how impactful your credit rating can be on financial opportunities, you should review your credit history regularly with all three CRAs. In Australia, credit score reports can be requested for free once every three months. You may also request an additional free copy within the same three-month period if you’ve asked for corrections on your credit report.

What are some of the ways I can improve my credit score?

There’s never been a better time to learn how to improve your credit score than now. There are several ways to go about improving a bad credit history report; below are just a few suggestions that you can implement right away.

  • As much as possible, complete your utility bills, credit repayments, and other financial obligations on time. This will help you stay on top of your finances while also demonstrating responsible financial management.
  • Pay for products or services in full whenever possible, as it means fewer additional charges in the long run.
  • Ideally, you should apply for credit with a single provider at a time. The fewer hard enquiries are recorded in your history, the better it will be for your credit rating.
  • Regularly review your credit report for discrepancies and errors. If you notice anything amiss in your history, report it for immediate correction with the CRA concerned.

You can take advantage of MONEYME’s free Credit Score tool, which not only gives you access to your credit score but also in-depth insights into your credit rating and special offers. Through our app, you can get tips and tricks if you want to know how to work on your credit score

The MONEYME app is available for download through the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. Once you’ve registered for an account, you can check your credit score within minutes for free. To register for a MONEYME account, you’ll be asked to provide some basic information about yourself, such as your name, mobile phone number, email address, date of birth, and current address.

For further information on how to get credit scores back into a healthy range, public resources like MoneySmart and the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) can provide details about your consumer rights and obligations.

All in all, understanding your credit score is the first step to improving it. With the help of healthy credit management habits, you can position your credit score better for any financial opportunities that come your way. Utilise tools like the MONEYME app to help you in this process.

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