How to improve your credit score
01 October 2019
Why should you care about your credit score?
A good credit score can unlock doors. Get it right and you may be closer to holding the keys to a brand-new house. Your credit score largely influences the outcome of your home loan application, so if you’re planning the Big Move, it’s wise to start learning. Sometimes credit scores are even checked when you buy a mobile phone plan! So even if home ownership isn’t a goal yet, it’s never too early to start educating yourself!
What is your credit score?
Your credit score is a numerical score based on your credit report details. It allows lenders to judge how reliable you are as a borrower, and how likely you are to pay what you owe. Credit scores are calculated with various things in mind, like your payment history (loans, credit cards, etc), and debt situation. You can access this score from Equifax at any time. And since we all love to compare ourselves to others, the average Aussie has a credit score of 510-621.
How to boost your credit score
We know all this credit score business can sound daunting, especially if your score is less than stellar. The good news is, a bad credit score isn’t a permanent stain on your reputation as a borrower. Your credit score is constantly changing—there’s always time to improve it.
Paying bills on time
The best way to predict the future is to look at the past—at least that’s what lenders believe. Paying your bills on time shows lenders they can trust you with a loan. Every bill you pay affects your credit score, so if you’re the forgetful sort, set up recurring transfers. If you’re punctual with payments—own it! Make sure all your bills are under your name (otherwise they won’t influence your credit score).
A low credit card balance
A good way to flaunt your financial chops for lenders is by showing a low credit card balance. This means keeping what you owe to your card issuer low. Aim to maintain a good cushion between your credit limit and how much credit you use. A trick to lowering your card balance is to lower the interest you pay. Suncorp offers three types of credit cards—including a low rate option—so you can choose one that’s right for you. Learn more about Suncorp Bank Credit Cards and start taking control of your credit!
Have an active credit account
To build up your credit score you need to prove you have a good relationship with credit. Your credit score will be a blank slate if you don’t have clear credit history to draw on. Consider taking on small amounts of credit to prove your responsibility to lenders.
What can negatively affect your credit score?
You may not be aware that your credit score can take a hit from small seemingly innocuous things. Here are some lesser known factors to watch out for (and some obvious ones)!
This one is obvious. If you’re insolvent, your credit score will plunge. Though, on a positive note, even a drastic event like bankruptcy will eventually cycle out of your credit score. Your score fluctuates as you do, and consistent good habits can smooth out past dents.
Applying for too much credit at once
Each time you apply for credit, a mark is left on your credit score. Applying for too much credit at once may negatively affect your credit score—it makes you look unstable. Avoid credit applications in the enquiry stage. Only go down that path once you’re certain.
Too many open credit accounts can also tarnish your credit score, even if you owe as much as someone with fewer accounts. Close dormant credit cards lying at the bottom of your desk drawer, and your credit score may rise! Reducing your credit card collection may also cut your spending—another way to raise that credit score!
Once you’ve cleaned up your credit score, check out Suncorp’s offers for First Home Buyers. We help make the home-buying process easier by refunding the annual $375 fee—potentially saving you up to $11,250 over a 30-year period!
- How to get a home loan when you’re on a single income
- How to pay off your mortgage in 10 years
- Lingo to know before buying a home
Information is intended to be of a general nature only and any advice has been prepared without taking into account any person's particular objectives, financial situation or needs. You should make your own enquiries, consider whether advice is appropriate for you and read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement or Product Information Document before making any decisions about whether to acquire a product.