Credit is essentially an arrangement of trust between two parties, which allows one party (creditor/lender) to give something to the other party with a deal that they do not have to repay it immediately, but at a later date.
There are many types of credit available such as: bank credit – amount of credit available to borrow from a bank ; consumer credit – a debt a person achieves when purchasing a good or service; instalment credit – credit that has a fixed number of payments and revolving credit – credit that does not have a fixed number of payments.
Within credit, there is something called a credit score which you have whether you have built credit yet or not. A credit score is based on a credit report sourced from credit reference agencies to help lenders with their decision on lending you money. The better your credit history becomes, the higher your credit score is.
Everyone also has a credit report, a file containing information about your credit history. Specifically, your credit report will contain details of when you have borrowed money and whether you have repaid it on time. Your credit report will be used to help lenders decide whether your application should be approved or rejected. The information on your credit report only stays for 6 years. Lenders however are most interested in is your more recent credit history.
There are three credit reference agencies in the UK: CallCredit, Equifax and Experian. They all compile information about you and will supply this to a lender when you apply for credit. Each report will be different as they will not supply lenders with the same information.
Applying for an initial credit line as a young person, you may be greeted with a lot of rejections. If you’re turned down for credit, ask the credit grantor for specific reasons to help overcome this. For example it could have been that your income was not high enough or you hadn’t lived at your current address long enough. It could also be due to not having any credit history. To build some credit, you can go about it in 3 ways –
Having good credit allows you to have more options, such as receiving lower interest rates. It’ll also allow you to be able to apply for a mortgage or finance a car with a bit more ease than someone with a low credit score. It is also good to keep a high credit score as it may be used by potential employers and landlords as part of the selection process.
To maintain a good credit score, here are three things you can do:
Pay for things on time such as bank charges, loan repayments etc
Place yourself on the electoral roll
Set a budget to live by, you shouldn’t use your credit to live beyond your means.
placing yourself on the electoral roll
There are many myths surrounding credit. For example – there is no such thing as a credit blacklist. Neither is there a single score lenders look for when approving applications. Each lender has there on criteria which they use to assess each application.
Another myth is that credit reference agencies are responsible for the outcome of credit applications. All they do is supply the data to lenders, the actual decision has nothing to do with them. The decision is also not just based of the credit report but also the other information supplied in your application.
A major myth is that checking your credit report frequently will damage your credit rating, however it is encouraged to check your credit report at least once a year to help prevent identity fraud.
Another one is that your credit rating is affected by those you live with. Your credit rating can only be affected by someone else’s financial status if you have a financial connection – joint mortgage.