Checking your credit score

Checking your credit score does not have to take up a lot of your time but it is essential to good finance management.

Keep reading to find a quick rundown of what you should be looking out for when doing a check on your credit report in order to save your valuable time.

Ideally you should look over your credit report as regularly as is possible in order to identify any fraudulent activities on your credit, and to keep your credit score level, ensuring you will be in with the best chance possible when applying for any kind of credit borrowing.

 

Check your Credit Accounts

Your credit report takes note of all accounts you possess that have credit capability, so you must ensure that they are listed accurately. If you have a credit card/current account including an overdraft etc. then you must make sure that they are all listed on your credit report, so you can capitalise on the benefits to your credit score, particularly if you are good at managing your credit. If there is an account listed on your report which you do not recognise then you must alert your score provider, especially if it is an account which has a badly managed credit as this will negatively affect your score.

If you do notice there is an account missing from your report or one you do not recognise, then you can contact the bank or lender to find the source of the issue. If this does not solve the problem, then you will need to contact the Credit Reporting Agency providing the report with the error.

Check the Hard and Soft searches on your report

It is crucial that all soft and hard searches that appear on your credit report are ones you recognise. If there is a search that you do not recognise on your account, this could mean that someone is attempting to fraudulently apply for credit on your behalf, or more likely is an error from a lender who believes you have applied for credit or a loan.

A soft search has no consequence on your score, so do not be scared if you have many of them listed against your report and you are the only one who can see them all.

A hard search is more serious and shows when a company or lender has requested an in-depth search of your credit report as a result of a credit application. It is important to keep hard searches to a minimum as all lenders and credit companies can see the number of hard searches against your account.

If you believe a hard search has been incorrectly undertaken double check with the company listed as to whether it is genuine or a mistake, a discussion with them may clarify a few details. If this conversation reveals it was an error, you can contact the relevant CRA in order to dispute the transaction.

Check the people to whom you are financially linked

Being financially linked to another person means you must also think about their credit state and their accounts, as they can negatively affect yours if they are not managed well. If you are linked financially to another person this means that you share an account that lends credit or have a shared mortgage etc.

Having a joint credit account with another person allows lenders and other credit lending companies to soft search them when you apply for a credit product, even if you are doing so independently. If the other person has a bad credit history or a few missed credit repayments, the lender may decide not to lend to you.

Always make sure to update your financial connections in your report by disputing a connection with the relevant credit referencing agency. Check your credit report regularly to make sure that any joint accounts that are no longer open, or are open but no longer utilised, are reported to the CRA or are closed and then reported.

Check your payment past

If you are on top of your bills and payments then your payment past will be a contributor towards a good credit score, however a bad payment past can negatively affect your score, so you must ensure that your payment past is recorded accurately in your credit report.

Your credit report will show whether you have made full or minimum credit repayments as well as any payments you may have missed or did not have enough in your account to satisfy a direct debit.

The numbers and amounts displayed in your report will not match your bank statements perfectly due to delayed statement updates from the lender to the credit reference agencies; so, don’t panic!

However, if you believe that there is a large error that needs to be fixed – for example, a payment you made which is recorded in your report as having been missed – then you must first contact the relevant lender to check their records, and if the problem is not with them, then you must contact the CRA and raise a dispute. If you do not fix this error, then your score will be negatively affected.