What are the top tips for repairing your credit record?
Before you re-mortgage or take out a new loan, follow these tips to aid the success of your application
- Access your credit record Credit Reference Agencies (CRAs) Experian, Equifax, CallCredit and Check My File all hold your credit record, which you can access online. Most of them offer a month’s free trial, while Call Credit offers free access for life. The others charge a nominal fee.
- Check the information is correct If there is any incorrect information on your record, contact the agency and they will check with the financial services provider and change the details. If they don’t change the details, you can ask for a notice of correction to be put on your file, where you can explain why you think the information is wrong.
- Sever connections Your file may show that you are financially linked to somebody you are no longer connected to. For example you may have had a joint mortgage or loan in the past. If you no longer have a relationship with them, you can ask the agency to remove this ‘association’ from your file so your record is protected from any subsequent actions they might take.
- Get on the electoral roll Your credit record shows whether you are on the Register of Electors. This carries a lot of weight with lenders. If you are not on the register, contact your local Electoral Register www.gov.uk/get-on-electoral-register
- Satisfy your CCJs If you owe money to a creditor, a County Court Judgement (CCJ) can be issued against you and will stay on your credit record for six years. Before applying for a buy-to-let mortgage, you should settle your debts or come to an arrangement with your creditor(s).
- Pay back arrears Most mortgage lenders will not consider lending a buy-to-let mortgage to a borrower who is in arrears on another buy-to-let mortgage, or the mortgage on their own home.
- Don’t apply for too many mortgages Every time you apply for credit, it is recorded on your credit file (sometimes referred to as a ‘footprint’). If you have applied for too many buy-to-let mortgages over a short period of time, some lenders’ systems will penalise you simply for having applied.
- Use a broker A broker will scour the market for the best buy-to-let mortgage for your needs and advise on your eligibility before you apply. This means you do not have to shop around and risk damaging your credit record with too many ‘footprints’.
- Use credit It might seem counterintuitive, but if you do not use credit, have no credit cards, loans or mortgages, then you will have no credit history and as a result that will give you a low credit score when a lender assesses you.
- Pay your debts Making a mortgage payment even a day late can impact your credit record and severely limit the number of mortgage lenders who will consider an application. So the key to improving your score is to use credit responsibly and always pay of your debts in full and on time.