A credit score is a three-digit number calculated from your financial data and credit and debt history, indicating how reliable you are at borrowing and repaying money – ranging from ‘very poor’ (300) to ‘excellent’ (850). Higher scores deem you a responsible borrower, whereas lower scores suggest lenders may view you as riskier to lend to. It has been described as a financial CV; yet rather than a job, it helps lenders decide whether to loan you money - and at what rate. According to a recent YouGov survey, 69% of British adults don’t know their current credit scores or what they mean for them - highlighting the lack of financial education available in the UK (although that’s a blog for another day!).
So, how are they calculated? It’s all based on your credit history, including:
- Your repayment history for your debts and utility bills
- How much of your available credit you’re using
- The total balance of loans borrowed
- How often you apply for credit
- How long you’ve been on the electoral roll
Your credit score can then affect multiple aspects of your financial life; for example, those with scores below 640 are considered ‘subprime borrowers’; and are typically charged interest at a higher rate on lendings, such as mortgages, as compensation due to the supposed higher risk. Compare this to borrowers with a score above 700, who often receive a lower interest rate and longer repayment term, or are more easily granted credit cards and loans.
However, your credit score is not set for life - and can change over time, depending on your financial behaviours and situation. Make sure you’re continually checking your score for any anomalies or fraud, which can easily be done by signing up to a number of sites such as Clear Score or Experian. Once you’re aware of what it is, you can then begin improving your credit score through small acts. These include:
- Paying all your bills (as well as rent) on time
- Applying for a credit card (if you don’t already have one) to use little and often; making sure you pay it off in full each month
- Registering on the electoral roll
But don’t forget - the most important thing to remember is your credit score doesn’t define you, and there’s always help available to improve it.
Although a concerning number that many would rather remain blissfully unaware of, it’s never too late to take control of your finances and work to improve your credit score - and it’s easier than ever to do so. What’s more, aside from the aforementioned tips, our Incredible app will also help boost your credit score by automating your financial management for you, including:
- Making on-time optimised repayments
- Providing you with smart nudges within the app
- And many more tools that we’re working on…👀
all of which work together to support you on your personalised journey to an Incredible credit score and a debt-free life. We’ll be introducing credit scores within our app soon, so simply register for early access today to start working on securing your financial future and building better credit!
The Incredible Team x