Although there are ways of securing car finance with a poor credit rating, when considering your car finance eligibility, a good indication of your viability as a candidate is the health of your credit score. Don’t panic if yours is less than ideal, though, as there are steps you can take to improve it.
Don’t forget that you can get a free credit score with Experian. Use this to gauge where your credit rating is and improve it if it’s on the lower side – bear in mind that different credit rating agencies (CRAs) use different numerical scales to adjudicate your credit score.
Improving your credit score for car financing
These are a few of the best ways to improve your credit score if you’re trying to secure car finance. A better credit score will mean you are a more favourable candidate for a finance agreement, and may result in lower interest rates overall, so it’s worth improving your overall rating if you can.
Double check your report
Some of the best ways to improve your credit report are the easiest. Double checking your credit report for any small mistakes – like a mistyped name or wrong address – is one of the best ways of improving your overall score.
If you do notice a mistake, contact your provider and ask them to amend it.
Register to vote
Exercising your right to vote is essential in many ways, not least because registering on the electoral roll at your place of residence is an easy way of improving your credit score.
Even if you live with your parents or are in shared accommodation, this is a critical step you can take towards improving your rating.
Pay your bills in a timely fashion
Hitting your regular payments on time and in full is a sure-fire way of improving your credit score. In fact, your payment history is arguably the most important factor that impacts your overall rating. Late payments or those not made in full will impact this history, and in turn effect your score.
Even making the smallest payments on time – for example, repaying your monthly phone bill – adds up, so stay on top of these as far as possible.
Lower your credit utilisation ratio
Your credit utilisation – typically expressed as a ratio – indicates the percentage of total available credit that a borrower is currently making use of. After your payment history, it’s the second most important factor in determining your credit score.
A low credit utilisation indicates that you’re only using a small percentage of any credit available to you. As such, you’re a less risky candidate for a loan. The higher your credit utilisation ratio, the riskier you are, and you might face higher interest rates as a result.
As such, if you’re looking to improve your credit score for car financing, you should aim to avoid taking on any new debt right before applying, as existing credit card debt will increase your credit utilisation ratio. It’s good practice to avoid maxing out your credit cards every month generally, but particularly important if you’re applying for a finance agreement.
Avoid frequent hard credit checks
When you apply for a loan or credit, you’ll face a hard credit check at some point. This will lower your credit score. Although this bump is only temporary, lasting a few months or so, if you have a number of these hard credit inquiries registering on your report in a short period of time, you’ll be a riskier borrower.
By submitting multiple applications for the same kind of loan or finance agreement within a certain period of time, you can avoid having multiple hard enquiries register on your report, as these will all be considered one hard inquiry. For example, FICO will group applications for a similar kind of loan if they are made within a 45-day period.
Practice good security habits
Unfortunately, identity theft is a threat of modern life, and if someone is pretending to be you and taking out credit in your name, this could negatively impact your credit rating.
Being savvy with your security helps to avoid this – don’t repeat passwords, and check your bank account frequently for fraudulent activity.
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