How to Improve a Bad Credit Score, Quickly
If you’re worried about your bad credit rating and aren’t sure what to do about it, find out below how you can improve a bad credit score quickly and easily…
A bad credit score can unfortunately stop many of us from being able to access financial products like credit cards and can impact on our ability to borrow money from certain lenders. This can then feel like a bit of a vicious cycle when you want to improve your bad credit rating, as some of the main methods of proving your creditworthiness are seemingly out of reach.
However, this need not be the case, as there are in fact a number of approaches you can try to quickly improve your circumstances and secure additional financial support. We’ve detailed a number of these for you in our latest guide and have explained more about how your credit score is created, and how long it can take to improve a bad credit rating.
What is a credit rating?
Your ‘credit rating’ – or ‘credit score’ – is information about you in your personal credit file or report that reflects your likelihood of being able to pay back credit.
So in simple terms, the higher your credit score the better, and the more likely it will be for lenders to approve your applications for credit and other financial products.
This information takes the form of a number, which is calculated against different criteria and your personal credit history by the UK’s three credit reference agencies (CRAs).
Here is a breakdown of each CRA’s scores and what they consider to be a good or bad credit score:
- 0 to 560 – very poor
- 561 to 720 – poor
- 721 to 880 – fair
- 881 to 960 – good
- 961 to 999 – excellent
- 0 to 279 – very poor
- 280 to 379 – poor
- 380-419 – fair
- 420 to 465 – good
- 466 to 700 – excellent
- 0 to 550 – very poor
- 551 to 565 – poor
- 566 to 603 – fair
- 604 to 627 – good
- 628 to 710 – excellent
When you apply for credit or financial products from lenders and providers, they will use this score and invariably their own scoring system or assessment to see whether or not you have good or bad credit.
If you’re unsure what your credit score is, you can request this information from one of the CRAs. Typically, you can get a snapshot of this for free, or request a more detailed version and additional services for a monthly fee.
How long does it take to improve bad credit?
When people ask and search online for answers to questions like ‘how to improve my bad credit?’ they often also want to know how long it typically takes to see a positive change. The simple truth is that there isn’t an overnight fix and it can be a gradual process of months or years depending on the severity of your bad credit rating.
However, as we’ve already alluded to earlier, there are a variety of easy and quick tactics that can put you on the right footing to push you towards a good credit score. What’s important is to take the initiative and act sooner rather than later if you feel time is a major factor.
How to improve your bad credit: Our recommended approaches
Depending on your personal circumstances, you should consider the following approaches:
Register for the electoral roll
As you’d expect, this doesn’t take much time to do at all and it helps your credit rating by essentially making it easier for CRAs and lenders to verify you and confirm your details.
Check your credit report for errors and fix them
As your credit history grows and becomes more detailed, it can lead to errors cropping up along the way – common examples are incorrect changes of address or the misspelling of names. These mistakes can make your score lower than it should be as it can make it harder to verify you. So the simple solution is to review your credit file and correct any issues.
Avoid the negative credit history of others
Another quick check for you to make is to see if your personal credit rating is being affected by the bad credit of others. This can happen if you have any joint accounts or payments set up with a spouse, family member or friend who might also have a bad credit score.
The easy fix here is to change these accounts or create new accounts so you have sole responsibility for them. Subsequently, you will avoid having your rating dragged down by others.
Equally, if you’re contributing financially to things like utilities and you know the other person(s) involved don’t have a poor credit history, then you should get your name added to these bills to get your fair share of the positive credit.
Resolve CCJs, if you have any
If you have any County Court Judgements (CCJs) you should try to settle and resolve any outstanding payments on these as quickly as you can to mitigate their effects on your credit rating.
Unfortunately, CCJs will stay on your credit profile for six years unless you pay them off within the first month of them being issued. However, if you gradually pay these off or show you’re taking steps to do so, it is possible to improve how lenders view you and your credit history.
Ignoring CCJs won’t just negatively impact your credit rating, it can also lead to serious legal issues.
Apply for a credit card and use it responsibly
Although having bad credit can make getting approved for a credit card difficult, there are some lenders out there who offer them specifically for people with poor or little credit history.
If you apply for one of these cards and are approved, you can then use it to pay for things like bills or your groceries and you can then clear the card payment each month to demonstrate you can make repayments responsibly. This then helps improve your credit score.
Where possible with these cards, avoid reaching the maximum credit limit each month – ideally, you should keep it under 30% of what’s available to you. This can again show you are responsible with your borrowing and will boost your score.
Get a prepaid card
Another option you have if you can’t get a credit card is to instead get a prepaid card, specifically one that has a monthly fee. These are cards that you top up to then use to pay for things. The benefit for your credit score is that if you pay the monthly fee it will be another positive example on your credit history of you successfully keeping up with a repayment.
Successfully make loan repayments
In a similar vein to credit cards, there are also lenders who will consider offering personal loans to those with bad credit and even CCJs. The positives here are that:
- You’ll be able to secure financial support if you need it.
- You can potentially use this loan to pay off other debts.
- Loans can be approved and transferred very quickly in many instances.
- Responsibly paying these back on time again helps improve your credit rating.
Minimise your credit applications
When you start making steps to improve your bad credit rating you should take care to minimise your applications for loans or credit cards if you find yourself getting rejected for these. This is because multiple applications in quick succession will also be recorded on your credit file and will ultimately be damaging to it – potentially undoing all your good work so far.
With the above approaches you should now have a better idea of how to improve a bad credit score quickly and be aware that having poor credit doesn’t mean you’re out of options for loans and other financial support.
Lastly, if you do have bad credit and are looking for a loan to help you with your finances, and potentially get you on track to improve your credit score, thenSimple Fast Loans could provide the solutions you need.
We have a variety of loan options, including fast, emergency loans and 18-month personal loans and will consider individuals who may struggle to secure a loan elsewhere because of their credit rating or CCJs. Click the link above to find out more and learn how you can apply.