What do you really want for Christmas? A nice jumper, your favourite fragrance, the latest phone? Or maybe you’re dreaming of something bigger, like a new home, your perfect wedding, or that trip to Thailand you’ve always meant to take.
Ok, so Santa’s unlikely to drop your perfect wedding down the chimney. But that doesn’t mean you can’t dream big. In fact, now’s a great time to get a head start on your ambitious goals for 2018 – especially if you want to borrow money to achieve them.
Getting approved for credit (such as a mortgage, loan or credit card) isn’t guaranteed, and having your application rejected could delay your plans. But you can raise your chances of approval by increasing your credit score.
The Experian Credit Score gives you an idea of how lenders may view you. It reflects your credit history, which companies look at to help them decide if you’re a reliable borrower. You can check your score for free – the higher it is, the better your chances of borrowing money at the best rates. It’s based on your financial behaviour, so you have the power to change it.
However, change takes time. Think of your credit score like a pot plant – you need to give it love, care and attention to see results. So, if you want to make things happen in 2018, it’s important to start nurturing your score now.
Wondering where to begin? Here are our top tips for boosting your score and increasing your ability to borrow:
1. Keep a lid on shopping sprees
One in four people feel under pressure to overspend at Christmas, according to National Debtline. But maxing out your overdraft can make lenders think you’re struggling with your finances. Try not to go over 50% of your available credit, and ensure you meet all regular payments.
2. Minimise your credit applications
Applying for credit can reduce your score for several months, so it’s important not to do it too often. Aim to make a maximum of one application every three months, and avoid applying for credit you think you’re unlikely to get.
3. Pay off debt if you can
Got a Christmas bonus or some extra cash? Consider paying off some of your existing debt with it. This can make you look better to lenders when you want to take out credit again, as it shows you’re a responsible borrower.
4. Register to vote
Getting yourself on the electoral roll will improve your score, because it allows lenders to easily confirm your identity and address. You can register to vote online via the Government’s website, or by post if you live in Northern Ireland.
5. Track your progress
Check your Experian Credit Score frequently to see if it’s improving. You can do this as much as you like without damaging it. You can access your score anytime with a free Experian account – you won’t be charged a penny, and your score gets updated every 30 days.