How to build your credit score?

How to improve your credit rating to make borrowing easier and cheaper!

Take control of your credit score and see

  • Why you were declined
  • How to improve it
Get Started Offer price only £7.95 a month, cancel anytime Powered by Credibble logo

UK’s No 1 Credit Score Improvement Guide

How to boost your credit rating?

Your credit score impacts so many areas of life, from getting a mobile phone to car finance, to buying a house.

  • We understand that a poor credit score can be very limiting!
  • Here’s all you need to know about how to start improving your credit history so you can start enjoying the ‘good credit life’ 😃


Couple with credit card renovating home

Safe & secure

fca Authorised
ico Registered
gdpr Compliant
Start Improving your Credit File Offer price only £7.95 a month, cancel anytime Powered by Credibble logo is mentioned on this page as an information provider to help you improve your own credit score. The information included on this page is highly relevant whether you use Credibble or not.

Written by Jon Edward

Having personally had to sort out my own credit rating, I was frustrated by there not being a UK specific credit improvement guide online, so I wrote one! I hope you find it useful?

Jon Edward
  • read guide
  • sign with credibble
  • find problems
  • learn how to sort
  • improve
  • enjoy the good credit life


What is Credit Score Improvement?

Let’s start with the basics of what rebuilding your credit rating is and the impact.

Specifically, I'm going to discuss how you start what may seem like a daunting process.

Return to contents at top


Improving your credit score is the process of



The process is done by you, but can be assisted by insights from companies such as who will help you:

  • Understand current problems with your credit file
  • Know what you can do to start fixing the issues
  • Monitor changes, and continually suggest actions to help continual improvements

"the purpose is to make getting loans, mobile phones, and other accounts easier and cheaper"



How to start building your credit rating?

It works best in three steps


Analyse your credit history and identify the items that are causing your score to be affected; this could be something:

  • Obvious - such as missed loan repayments or not being on the electoral register, or
  • Obscure - such as a credit card you have that’s not being used


You’d be surprised what some of the repair actions can be, for example

  • Disassociating yourself with a past flatmate
  • Getting a landline

There are over 154 things you could be doing, but can tell you which of these you need to take.


Unfortunately, credit score improvement is not always quick and can require activity on a semi-regular basis, so

  • Many people forget about their credit file and it stops improving.
  • Ongoing monitoring is needed to see how the actions you've taken have improved the score.
  • As the score improves new actions are needed, and many people do not know what to do. will tell you how your score is improving over time and point out new actions that need to happen to maintain the score improvements.



How long does it take to improve my credit file?

It does depend on your specific credit history 📖

For someone who’s

  • Who is bankrupt - it will take a couple of years
  • With reasonable credit - it could take a month or so, just by getting on the electoral register or paying off some debt.


  • Disputing errors and mistakes – this can take from 3 - 6 months to raise the dispute with your lender or the Credit Referencing Agencies (CRA) to get things corrected.
  • Building your score after items such as missed payments - typically, your credit score is built up slowly over time as the number of on-time payments you make increases, though this process can be sped up a little if you are proactive with things like
    • Stop taking out cash on your credit card
    • Getting some bills in your name



Can I build my credit history myself?


You are the only person who has the authority to undertake all the actions to do this.

  • By repairing your credit history, this will also help you to take control of your financial life.
  • This page lists many of the items you can start doing to repair your credit rating. can make this process easier for you by providing valuable insights into specifically what you need to do based on your individual credit history - though it’s you that will be actioning the suggestions.



What are the positive impacts of improving your credit score?

There are many benefits to having a good credit score 😃

  1. Lower borrowing cost – as your credit rating improves, the cost of most forms of credit (mortgages, loans, car finance, credit cards, etc) reduce, so the cost of new borrowing becomes lower.
  2. Borrow more – you’ll potentially have greater access to credit, whether that be a larger loan or credit card facility (subject to affordability).
  3. Access to more contracts and accounts – you’ll no longer be restricted to ‘pay as you go’ type contracts, opening up access to cheaper deals on mobiles and various utility bills.
  4. Own a home – with a bad credit score it’s possible that mortgages are not available, so improving your credit file could enable you to buy your own home.
  5. Easier renting – letting agents look at your credit file and report this to potential landlords, making renting a home more challenging if your score is bad. On the flip side, if you have a good score this makes renting easier.

So, having a good credit score can give you many more options, and make borrowing cheaper.

Affordability – note that many of the above are subject to the loan, or credit being comfortably affordable to you, which the relevant company will check with you in detail beforehand.

Further reading - see How your credit rating affects the cost of borrowing by

> Start improving your credit rating today with Credibble <

Offer price only £ 7.95 a month, cancel anytime


Top Tip:

Don’t forget your income 💷

Whilst you can greatly improve your score by doing the items listed in this guide, a key element is your income and credit being affordable to you.

So try not loading up your overdraft and credit cards all the time!


How to take the pain away with Credibble?

With over 150 credit factors that the lenders look at, doing all this yourself can be difficult!

We’ve partnered with Credibble who can help you know what you need to do.

Credibble Logo
Return to contents at top

Do I need to use Credibble to improve my credit score?

Credibble App Screenshot 1

No, but they do make it super easy: 👍

  • Identifies all your critical issues, so you know what’s holding you back
  • Provides a 24-points Credit assessment on all the things that lenders check
  • Generates a list of personalised actions you can take without any guesswork
  • Start repairing today for only £7.95 / month (cancel at any time)

Who are Creddibble and can they help me build my credit score?

Payment History Phone Screenshot

Credibble is an information provider and experts in credit repair 🛠️

They help you build your credit score by providing insights into your credit file, identifying:

  1. Weaknesses - from the perspective of the lenders
  2. Actions - specific actions that you could take to improve your score (bespoke to you)
  3. Monitoring & suggestions - ongoing monitoring and suggested actions to help you keep improving your score over time

We’ve found Creddible to be easy to use, provide valuable insights and a logical pathway to credit rating recovery at an affordable cost.

Though you don’t need to use them, you can do this yourself.

Fully AuthorisedCredibble are fully authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority under FRN: 713043. Their also partners with Equifax Credit Bureau.



Can they improve my credit history?

Payment History Phone Screenshot

NO 👎

You are the only person who has the authority to repair your own credit history.

  • You can only start repairing your file when you know what needs to be fixed.
  • Credibble can help you to know what to do, so you can effectively improve your credit score.

Can they tell me why I got declined, or if I will be when I apply?

Home Buying Power Phone Screenshot


Their system

  • Looks at your credit report from the perspective of a lender.
  • Will show this to you the reasons why you may get declined.

You can potentially improve your chances of getting accepted by looking at your Credibble report first.



Can they tell me what I need to do to correct problems?

Credibble Score Phone Screenshot


Their system will show you:

  • Your files’ areas of weakness.
  • All things you need to do to repair your credit (bespoke to you).

Can they suggest when I can apply without damaging my credit rating?


Their system will give you

  • An estimated date to apply again.
  • For the type of credit you need.

Is there anything their system does not do?

Fraud Watch Phone Screenshot


Their system will not know, for example:

  • If a recent credit application made was genuine or fraud.
  • If you’ve moved to a new house recently.

You’ll still need to check your own credit history, which is covered in 

Chapter 4 - How to Check Your Credit File 

Top Tip:

Don't want to be tied into an ongoing subscription?

Then sign up to Credibble for £7.95, get your report and recommendations, then cancel, this really is amazing value for the money for the information you get 😃.


What are the top 6 credit score factors?

There are over 150 factors that lenders look at but the following are the main six categories.

For a high credit score, you need ‘good marks’ in all six, one can let down all the others!

6 people hands picking pie chart parts
Return to contents at top

Top Credit Factor 1: CREDIT CARDS

  • The credit cards you have, and how you use them have a big impact.
  • This is covered in detail in Chapter 6: How to use credit cards?

Top Credit Factor 2: SHORT TERM CREDIT

Top Credit Factor 3: PAYMENT HISTORY

Top Credit Factor 4: TOTAL ACCOUNTS

Top Credit Factor 5: STABILITY

Top Credit Factor 6: BAD CREDIT


Top Tip:

Credibble's uses these 6 top credit factors to analyse your file and make suggestions.

Find out what you can start doing today to build your credit score with Credibble (offer price only £ 7.95 a month, cancel anytime).


How to check your credit history?

The first step to building your credit score is to get your file and do some checks.

Specifically, I'm going to discuss how you do this, and what to start checking!

4. Check your history
Return to contents at top

How to get your credit reports?

Your credit history in the UK is recorded by the three Credit Reference Agencies (CRA) Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion (formerly Call Credit).

Ways of getting your credit history:

  1. - your data from Equifax, plus gives detailed insights into file problems and what you need to do to fix them on an ongoing basis.
  2. Checkmyfile - gets your data from all three Credit Reference Agencies but does not give any insights. So, you will need to read this page in detail to get ideas as to what you’ll need to do you your file.
  3. Individually to each agency - you can go to the three Credit Reference Agencies individually, but this would be more expensive.

What are the checks only you can do?

No automated service can check the things only you would know, so you need to manually check the following to make sure all is correct.

A. The information stored on your file

Your score is based on the information held on your file, so if it’s not accurate this could be a problem.

So, check to make sure everything is correct:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Address, plus previous addresses from the past 6 years
  • Financial associations with another people, such as a joint mortgage
  • Electoral roll (whether you are registered to vote at your address)
  • County Court Judgements (CCJs), Bankruptcies, Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs)
  • Credit account information (including mortgages, credit cards, store cards)
    • Amount owed
    • When payments were made
    • Account age
  • Hard credit searches - happens when applying for new credit
  • Fraud that has been committed
    • Using your name, or
    • Fraud you've committed using someone else’s name

B. Electoral register

Being on the electoral register improves the way that lenders view you and they can verify who you are; this will make you

  • Appear more stable to lenders
  • Improve your chances of getting accepted for credit

So, check your credit file to ensure you are correctly listed.

C. Financial associations

If you have a joint account such as a mortgage, loan, or bank account with your spouse, family member or friend, then if they have a poor credit rating, this could be impacting your credit score.

So, check all the associations that you may have and their score.


D. Identify fraud

Identity fraud is increasingly becoming a problem, and if you’ve fallen victim, this could affect your credit rating.

Check to see if someone has tried, or taken out a loan, or credit agreement in your name.

  • Review the ‘searches’ section of your report and look out for any hard searches you don't recognise, also
  • All the credit agreements listed, and any you do not recognise

If there is any fraudulent activity you should report this to Action Fraud.


How do I do ongoing monitoring?

When you’re looking to fix your credit rating, regular monitoring is important

  • Otherwise, mistakes and problems can ‘creep’ into your file and you’ll be unaware
  • You’ll be able to see the impact that actions have on your credit history

As your score improves this will inform further credit repair actions.

You can monitor your credit files manually with 

  • Checkmyfile - free for 30 days, then for just £14.99 a month after, which you can cancel online at any time

Or get intelligent monitoring and recommended fixes with

Top Tip:

It can be liberating to see your credit file and start making improvements 💃🏼

Do not delay, and start today with Credibble.


What are your 'quick win' actions?

Having checked your file, there are possibly several quick actions you can start taking.

I discuss the easier things you can possibly do straight away,

5. Quick Win Actions
Return to contents at top

Review your ‘Credibble Booster’ tips make the process of knowing what do to simple with their 'Booster Tips'

  • A list of tasks you can action yourself

Get working on your booster tips today with Credibble  <

Offer price only £ 7.95 a month, cancel anytime



Sign up for the electoral roll

If your name’s not on the electoral roll, you will find it harder to get credit 🤔

You can register to vote at either:

Registering is easy 😃

When moving house, remember to re-register straightway to keep a solid history of electoral roll registration, which helps with credit applications.



Get your name on some bills

A great way to show potential lenders that you can pay your bills back reliably is to get your name on utility bills ✍

  • Gas bill
  • Electricity bill
  • Water bill
  • Mobile phone contract
  • Landline phone
  • Internet

If you live in a house share, it might be worth considering putting one or two utility bills in your name or adding your name to some bills.



Get a mobile phone contract

Your mobile phone contract contributes to your credit score 📲

Many lenders trust people who use a contract more than individuals on 'pay-as-you-go'.

So why not start looking for good value mobile contracts?



Get a landline

A landline contract also contributes to your credit rating ☎️

  • Many lenders trust people a little bit more who have an established landline contract.
  • It indicates stability (for more info see How stability can help you?)

So why not start looking for good value landline contracts?



Pay off a credit card balance

If you run a balance on a credit card, only making the minimum payment every month can have a big impact on your credit score 👎

It’s an indication to the lenders that you’re struggling with money!

  • If you have the money - it can be a ‘quick win’ to pay off this balance
  • If you do not have the funds - start paying a little bit more than the minimum payment every month; even 1% extra can help.

More information:



Start paying bills on time

Now you have your name on some bills; the key is to pay them all on time

(as covered in Chapter 8: How to make your payment history work?)

  • Missed or late payment stays on your credit report for up to six years.
  • Not paying bills suggests to lenders that you struggle to manage your credit well.

To help to avoid this, set up direct debits to pay your bills, phone, and credit card payments.



Pay insurance premiums up front

When you pay for your insurance in monthly instalments (as for a credit agreement) the insurer will normally do a ‘hard credit search’, which effects your file.

If you’ve renewed a couple of insurance policies recently and are paying monthly, it’s possible that you could have a number of ‘hard credit searches’ on your credit report.

  • If you pay upfront, this will stop this happening.
  • If you want to pay monthly, ask your insurer before signing up, whether or not they’ll be doing a ‘hard credit search’.

Top Tip:

The items listed are generic and do not relate to your credit history.

To get specific items you need to do for your credit file go to



How to use credit cards?

Your use of credit cards (or not), can really impact your credit rating in good and bad ways!

I discuss the important areas and how to use credit cards to build your credit history.

credit card payment hand holding tablet flat design
Return to contents at top

Should I get a credit card?

It depends 🤔

A credit card can be a great way of building your rating, though


Does credit card usage matter?


Using credit regularly and responsibly is key to building your score, it shows you can reliably pay back any money you borrow.

  • Use the credit card lightly, spending small amounts.
  • Pay your bill in full every month.
  • Use the credit card to pay for items budgeted for rather than spending out of your means.

Should I keep below my credit limit?


To help your score most, do not to use too much of your credit limit

  • This shows lenders that you can manage your credit sensibly and you’re not desperate for quick cash.
  • Use less than 30% of your credit limit on any one card, using 10% or less is ideal.

I’ve a credit card balance, should I pay over the minimum payment?


If you’ve a balance which you cannot pay pack in full, it’s important to pay over the minimum payment.

  • Paying the minimum repayment every month impacts your score.
  • It’s a sign to lenders that you cannot afford the repayments and cannot afford to borrow more.
  • If your last card payment was the minimum payment when you apply for credit, it could reduce your borrowing chances.
  • Even if you pay back 1% above the minimum repayment, this can make a difference.

Should I close my old credit card?

NO 👎

Closing old credit cards has negative impacts:

  • Reduces your combined credit limit (as you no longer have access to that cards limit).
  • If you’ve a balance on other cards, your card balance usage will increase.
  • The average age of your other credit agreements will reduce.

So, keep the card open, but ensure the usage is as previously described.


Can I withdraw cash on my credit cards?

NO 👎

Withdrawing cash is expensive and effects your score:

  • Interest is charged by most credit cards, so this is expensive money.
  • Many lenders see it as poor money management.

Note, if you’re withdrawing cash on a specialist card abroad, this is not seen in the same way.


Should I increase my credit limit?

Yes, but slowly 👍

The combined credit limit you have over your cards is one measure of how creditworthy you are.

Typically, the higher your limit, the more confident lenders often are that larger loan repayments are affordable for you.

So, it can be a good way to build your credit score, but slowly

  • By increasing your credit limit on an existing card
  • By taking out new credit cards

Applying for several credit cards within a short period of time can damage your credit rating - some lenders see it as a sign of weak finances!

It’s a good idea to space out credit card applications ideally by at least six months.



Can I do balance transfers?

Be careful 🤔

You credit file shows all your balance transfers and if you’re not paying for them:

  • If you’ve transferred a balance on a card (even if it’s free with zero interest).
  • Some lenders can take the view that you do this because you cannot afford to pay this back.

Sometimes this can reduce your chances of getting a loan or mortgage.


What about credit-builder credit cards?

If you’ve a bad credit history, then a credit-builder credit card can be a way to build your credit score 😃

  • Designed for people with little credit history, or bad credit history.
  • Credit limits are normally low and with high-interest rates high.
  • By using these cards and paying off the bill each month, you can build your creditworthy status.

The interest rates are much higher than standard credit cards, typically

  • Over 30% in interest a year, which you won’t be charged if
    • You repay the card each month (preferably by direct debit)
    • Never withdraw cash

Example usage of a credit builder card

  • Spend say £60 a month on the card.
  • Have no other financial issues.
  • After six months or so you credit rating should start to improve.

After a year this could make quite a difference

Top Tip:

Get bespoke suggestions as to what you need to do with your credit cards by Credibble.



How to use loans and credit?

It's possible to use loans and credit to help improve your credit file?

I'll discuss in this section how to do this without having a negative effect!

 Loans and Credit
Return to contents at top

Should I have a few credit accounts?

YES* 👍

A good way to show lenders that you are creditworthy is to have a few credit agreements that are all up to date 👍

  • Building a history of on-time payments.
  • This will gradually improve your credit rating.

Try a mix of different credit accounts

  • a mobile phone contract
  • other credit cards
  • a personal loan
  • a mortgage

* Important!

  • Be Affordable - only take out extra credit if you can afford the repayments; do not put yourself in debt and harm your credit by taking out agreements you cannot keep up with.
  • Too many accounts - can indicate to a lender that you’re desperate for money, thus having the opposite effect than intended.



Should I get an overdraft?


A bank account overdraft can help you to improve your credit history if 👍

  • You have one on your bank account - this shows lenders that your bank trusts you.
  • You do not need to use it – showing you manage your money well and don’t need it.

If you use the overdraft every month you’ll see a negative impact on your credit report 👎

  • Suggesting to lenders that your expenses every month are higher than your income.
  • If you cannot live outside of your overdraft, consider getting a manageable loan instead, this will look better on your credit file.

Should I get rid of payday and other short-term loans?


Some lenders, especially mortgage lenders do not like to see payday loans on your credit file.

  • They can take the view that these are a result of poor money management and your expenses every month are higher than your income
  • A solution to getting rid of a payday loan if you have a poor credit rating is to consolidate into a new loan with a lower monthly payment.
  • This will not only help your credit file but could also reduce your monthly outgoings.




Should I get rid of shopping accounts?


As with short term loans, many lenders don’t like shopping accounts on your credit file.

  • They also take the view that these are a result of poor money management.
  • That your expenses every month are higher than your income.

One potential solution is to consolidate your shopping accounts into one new loan with a lower monthly repayment which can help credit file and reduce monthly outgoings.




What’s the maximum amount of short-term debt I should have?

As already mentioned, it's best to keep your short term debt levels to a minimum.

  • Even better if you can get rid of it altogether!
  • Over 40% of annual income is considered high

So keeping will well below this level is preferable.



Should I get a loan and pay it back?

If you take out a loan (not payday or high-cost short term), and successfully pay it back, this can help to start boosting your credit rating.

  • This shows lenders that you manage your money well and meet your obligations.
  • So, in the circumstance where getting a loan that is affordable to you is the right thing to do, this can also help to improve your credit score.

Only consider this if

  • You were genuinely thinking of taking out a loan anyway.
  • The loan is comfortably affordable for you.

If you take out a loan and do not make all the repayments, this will damage your credit file!


Top Tip:

Consolidating expensive debts into one lower repayment can have many benefits to you and your credit rating

  1. Getting rid of payday and shopping accounts
  2. Reducing your monthly repayments
  3. Successfully making all your loans repayments & settling the debt



How to make your payment history work for you?

One of the most important factors for your credit history and anything much less than 100% can really affect you.

I’ll discuss the different payment accounts and the impact they can have.

mobile payment hand holding phone flat
Return to contents at top

How can I use repayments to start improving my credit file?

If you have credit cards 💳

  1. Making minimum payments every month (good)
  2. But if you can, full payment on time and in full each month (better)

What's the effect of missed payments?

Missed payments stay on your credit file for 6 years, so it’s important not to miss payments 😬

If you do it’s important to catch up as soon as possible

  • One month late is not good
  • Two-months late is worse
  • Three months late is much worse

Lenders normally give you 14 days to make a payment before it officially marked as a default.



What about paying my utility bills on time?

As covered in Chapter 5: What are your ‘quick win’ actions?

Make all your bill re-payments in full

  • Gas bill
  • Electricity bill
  • Water bill
  • Mobile phone contract
  • Landline phone
  • Internet
  • Etc

What about paying my credit cards on time?

As covered in Chapter 6: How to use credit cards?

  • Ideally, pay off your balance in full, and on time at the end of the month.
  • If that’s not possible, pay over the minimum payment on time.

What about paying my loans on time?

As covered in Chapter 7: How to use loans and credit?

  • Make your re-payment in full, and on time at the end of the month
  • If you’re struggling to do this, consider a consolidation loan to reduce your monthly costs.

If I pay my rent on time will I get credit on my file?


But there are now solutions where this can happen 😃

  • If you are a tenant and pay your rent on time
  • It is now possible to get this recognised on your credit file to help build your credit rating with

Consider signing up to one of these services so your payments can start getting recognised straight away.



What about paying my mortgage on time?

If you have a mortgage, this is an extremely important factor in your credit file

  • Very negative impact - if you do not pay your mortgage on time.
  • Very positive impact - if you pay on time, every time - this shows lenders you are financially stable and one of the best signs to a lender that you are a trustworthy borrower.

Top Tip:

Get your 'payment history' score from



How all your accounts impact your file?

Lenders also look at the combination of all your accounts when deciding whether to grant credit?

I'll discuss some of the things they consider?

mobile shopping, payment, responsive flat design
Return to contents at top

Are more accounts better?


A good number of credit agreements can show lenders that you manage your money well, which can greatly improve your credit rating.

That’s why in

Quick win actions chapter – we suggest getting

  • Bills in your name
  • Mobile phone contract (rather than pay as you go)
  • A landline

How to use credit cards chapter – we suggest

  • Getting a credit card
  • Increasing your credit limit

Note, this does not apply to payday, short term loans, and shopping accounts as covered in Chapter 7: How to use loans and credit?



Are all accounts equal?

NO 👎

Not all credit accounts are treated equally, and the following is typically how lenders view the different agreements:

  • Top marks: Mortgage
  • Good marks: Personal loan
  • Medium marks: Bills and other
  • Negative marks: Payday, regular use of short term credit and shopping accounts

Idea to improve credit quality:

If you have a few forms of short-term credit, such as a payday loan and some shopping accounts, if you consolidate these into a personal loan, which may also have a lower monthly repayment, that can

  • Reduce your monthly outgoings
  • Improve your credit score




Are long term relationships better?


Lenders can be more likely to approve your application if they see you have long histories with other companies

  • The bank account that you’ve been using for years (with an unused overdraft)
  • Credit card
  • Gas, electricity bills
  • Mobile contacts
  • Mortgage

Long-term agreements can do wonders to your credit report, so try to ensure that you keep your first agreement open if it’s a credit card or a bank account.


Top Tip:

Get your 'total accounts' score from



How stability can help you?

Lenders also look at your living and working arrangements as another factor when deciding whether or not to lend.

I’ll discuss the key elements they look at when assessing your stability.

10. Stability
Return to contents at top

Does job status and duration matter?


Your employment status effects your credit file!

Lenders see full-time employees who’ve been in their jobs a long time as the lowest risk.

  • Best score - full-time employees who’ve been in the same job for a good time
  • Followed by part-time and the self-employed
  • Temporary and contract workers are seen as the riskiest

Does residential status matter?


  • Homeowners get a higher score than tenants.
  • The longer that you’ve been in your home the better, try not to move around too much.
  • Tenants in unfurnished properties get higher scores that those in furnished.

If you are a tenant, get credit on your file for rental payments, see Chapter 8: How to make your payment history work?



Does electoral roll registration matter?


Being on the electoral register indicates to lenders

  • The stability of a permanent address.
  • Being on the register for more than 4 years gets the greatest number of points.

See Chapter 5: What are your ‘quick win’ actions?

Top Tip:

Get your 'stability' score from



What’s considered bad credit?

Bad credit is one of the most negative factors on your credit file.

I'll discuss the main elements of a bad credit rating.

11. Poor Credit Score
Return to contents at top

Are payment defaults a problem?


The most common factor that reduces people's credit rating is payment defaults, especially on the higher value accounts such as mortgages.

Immediately start fixing your credit score by

  • Making payments again, in full and on time
  • Settling outstanding payments

For more information see Chapter 8: How to make your payment history work?



Is there anything I can do about County Court Judgements (CCJ’s)


CCJ’s can greatly affect your credit file, and lenders are able to see the amount of your CCJ and date.

  • If you settle the CCJ in full you can start rebuilding your credit rating.

What about IVA's (Individual Voluntary Arrangement)?

IVA's severely affect your credit history 😕

It's a formal insolvency arrangement for people who are unable to pay their debts.

  • Most lenders will not lend to someone in an IVA.
  • Once the IVA has finished, its effect does reduce over time.

Is there any way back from bankruptcy?


Of all factors, bankruptcy is the most damaging to your credit file!

  • It affects your ability to borrow for many years.
  • Once discharged, its effect does reduce over time.

Top Tip:

If you have a bad credit rating then loans can be expensive!

If you really need the money and are unable to cope without borrowing, one of the most cost-effective £500 to £15,000 loan types is the guarantor loan.


How to dispute errors & correct mistakes?

Errors on your credit file can have a major impact on your credit score when you've done nothing wrong!

I’ll discuss how these can be removed.

Business human hands with megaphone wrench gear tools flat vector illustration
Return to contents at top

Can incorrect payment defaults get removed?


Sometimes late payments can incorrectly appear on your credit file, and this will affect your credit rating, so you need to have them removed.


If the mistake is only with one of the three agencies, this would suggest a clerical error, so

  • Get a multi-agency credit report from a company like Check My File
  • See if the error is reported by the other agencies.
  • If not, contact the agency with the error, inform of this, and request a correction.


  • Contract the lender
    • Ask for it to be removed.
    • Explain the reasons why this default should not be there (be brief and to the point).
    • Say that you’ll be taking it to the Financial Ombudsman if the default isn't removed.
    • If this fails then go to the next steps.
  • Add a notice of correction to your credit report(s)
    • Explain the reasons why this default should not be there (be brief and to the point).
    • Also
  • Complain to the Financial Ombudsman
    • It can adjudicate that the default is unfair.
    • Ask for all traces of it to be removed.
    • Order recompense for damage if appropriate.
    • Explain the reasons why this default should not be there.

Can other mistakes get put right?


Common errors

  • Missing product information
    • Sometimes a company and ‘forget’ to register an account on your credit file
    • So, all your financial products are not showing up on your credit file
  • Incorrect address
    • Make sure you’re registered to vote
    • Check that all your accounts are registered to your current address.
    • Write your address consistently - do not use ‘7a’ for one account and ‘7 Flat a’ for another.

Contact the company

  • Let the company or lender know - they may well be happy to amend it immediately or you may need to go through their official complaint procedure.
  • They should then send updates to all the credit reference agencies they use (so you won’t have to submit a request to each agency)

If the company disagrees

  • You can add a Notice of Correction to your credit file.
    • Can also be used to explain any negative marks on your score
    • Up to 200 words explaining what has happened and why it doesn’t reflect your financial behavior

What if I think I’m a victim of fraud?

If you see hard searches for credit or accounts you do not recognise, you could be a victim of identity theft and fraud

  • This could have a serious impact on your credit file!
  • You need to immediately report this to Action Fraud
  • Also report immediately to the credit reference agencies
  • Also sign up for the protective registration service from CIFAS. This costs £20 for 2 years and will give you security checks whenever credit applications are made in your name.


How to stop others wrecking your credit rating?

Did you know that other people can ruin your credit rating! 

I discuss the steps to stop this happening, how to remove the bad links and start improving your score.

Mistake hard work. Angry businessman and Paper scattered. Vector flat style
Return to contents at top

Did you know your partner’s credit score impacts yours?

If your partner/spouse has a poor history, this can also impact yours 😬

If you're linked with someone on a financial product, their file can be accessed and looked at as part of assessing whether to accept you.

If possible, it is worth keeping your finances separate, this relates to:

  • A joint mortgage
  • A joint loan
  • A joint bank account (not savings)
  • In certain circumstances, your utility bills

Can my housemate's credit ratings reduce mine?


If you're financially linked to someone on any product, their files can be accessed as part of your application!

Joint bill accounts with flatmates and housemates can in certain circumstances mean you are financially linked, so if they have a poor history

  • This can impact you
  • Keep your finances separate

Check with any company where you're looking to jointly go on bills with a housemate, whether or not they link you together financially.



Can I financially de-link old housemates/ex-partners?


If you’re no longer linked with someone who you had a financial association with (split up with your partner, moved out of a flatshare, etc.)

  • Write to the credit reference agencies.
  • Request a notice of disassociation.
  • This will stop their credit history affecting yours in the future.

Note that this cannot be done if

  • You still have a joint account open with your ex
  • This will need to be closed, or transferred to an individual account beforehand



How to use your home?

It is possible to use your own home as a way to build your credit score.

I’ll discuss how.

14. Use Home
Return to contents at top

Does moving home have an impact?


Lenders are reassured if they see that you’ve lived at an address for a good period of time.

So, if you have moved a lot, this can reduce your chances of getting a loan.

Bear this in mind.


Items relating to your home in the ‘quick wins’ section

As Chapter 5: What are your first ‘quick win’ actions?

  1. Sign up for the electoral roll
  2. Get a landline
  3. Get your name on some bills
  4. Pay bills on time
  5. Pay insurance premiums upfront

Items relating to your home in the ‘make your payment work’ section

As Chapter 8: How to make your payment history work?

  1. Pay your mortgage on time
  2. Pay your rent on time and get credit from services such as and


How to increase chances of successful credit applications?

The way that you apply has an impact on your chances of success now and in the future!

I’ll discuss how you can maximise your chances today and tomorrow.

15. Succesfull Apps
Return to contents at top

What do lenders like to see?

Mainstream lenders typically prefer applicants who

  • Are consistent on their applications (see below)
  • Are homeowners rather than tenants
  • Are employed rather than self-employed
  • Have a landline rather than a mobile number
  • Have the same employer, bank, and address for a while

Though if you don't meet all these criteria there are are other options, though typically the worse your history, the more expensive the credit.



What’s the difference between ‘credit searches’ and ‘soft searches’?

A 'credit search' impacts your credit file and a 'soft search' does not.

When you apply for a loan or credit

  • The lender will undertake a ‘credit search’.
  • To review your credit report to help them to decide whether to lend or not.
  • Many also do this when just providing a quotation (before you’ve decided whether to get the loan or not).
  • Their ‘credit searches’ appear on your file for up to 12 months (though their effect typically reduces over 3 months.
  • Too many ‘credit searches’ impact your credit rating, and your chances of getting approved for credit.

If you're looking for a loan quote

  • Ask the lender to do a 'quotation search' or a 'soft search'
  • Only you’ll be able to see this soft search, not other lenders.
  • This does not impact your file.

Can I make multiple credit applications?

NO 👎

Each time you apply for a credit card or loan (or insurance in monthly payments)

  • A 'hard credit search' is done.
  • A mark is left on your credit report.
  • This is visible for up to 12 months (though impact reduces every 3 months or so).
  • Numerous 'hard searches' affect your credit report as it makes lenders think you’re desperate for money.

If possible, get a ‘soft search’ and quote before applying in full.

It is a good idea to space out credit applications ideally by at least six months.



Do I need to keep applications consistent?


Keep personal details the same between applications

  • If you have many job titles or phone numbers - use the same one on every form.
  • Keep address consistency – for example, don’t put ‘Flat 7, Alberta House, 15 Some Street’ on one application, and ‘7 Alberta House, Some Street’ on another

If you use different details, you might be flagged by National Hunter (which the lenders should tell you, if this was the reason for your credit application being refused)



Does it help to try and reduce some existing debts?


In an ideal world, eliminate as much outstanding debt as possible before applying for new credit, especially when applying for a mortgage.

  • Many banks, building societies, credit cards, and companies can be hesitant about lending more if you already have a lot of existing debt.
  • Debt above 40% of your annual income is a red flag to many lenders.

This would not apply to a consolidation loan, where you’re specifically taking out a personal loan to pay off more expensive debts, such as payday or shopping accounts.



Can Credibble let me know when I should apply?


Take the guesswork out of applying for new credit, their system

  • Looks at your credit report from the perspective of a lender.
  • Suggests an estimated date to apply for new credit.

Get your Credibble report now  <

Offer price only £ 7.95 a month, cancel anytime


Top Tip:

Take your time when getting new credit or a loan.

  • Hasty decisions can lead people into financial difficulties and a damaged credit file that takes a long time to recover from.
  • Get your Credibble report to see whether this is a good time for you to get a loan?