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Improvements to your credit score are not guaranteed
How to improve credit scores
The world of finance is complex to say the least. But knowing what affects your credit score, how to improve it and what scoring category you fall into are all fundamentals that can help you to lift the fog of the mystery of money.
Loqbox believes that everyone should be able to enjoy a happier, healthier relationship with money. So here’s what you can put into action to start getting your credit score up and feel good about being one step closer to your financial goals — woohoo!
✔ Check your address history is correct
Let Experian, Equifax or TransUnion know if something isn’t right.
In terms of improving your credit score, it doesn’t matter if you actually vote or not, but being registered helps the credit reference agencies to find your current address.
✔ Ask to remove any old financial connections
We mean your exes and old housemates that you had joint accounts with. Unfortunately, if they have a poor credit score, they could be bringing yours down too.
✔ Never miss a payment
This is really important because missed payments, defaults and CCJs (County Court Judgments) can leave a mark on your credit file for six years (eek). If this has happened, but you had a good reason, you can raise a Notice of Correction to give an explanation to a bank or lender in the future.
✔ Pay off your debts
We know it’s a lot easier said than done — paying off debt can feel like you’re scaling a mountain in your slippers. But starting to pay off debts will help to improve your happiness levels with every milestone. That’s a positive impact on your mental wellbeing, as well as your credit score.
✔ Only aim for one hard check every six months
‘Soft checks’ don’t leave a mark on your file, but you may see a ‘hard check’ affect your credit score. It’s quite normal to see your score rise and fall. And each time you apply for a new credit agreement (i.e. get a new credit card or take out a loan) you’ll likely see a dip in your score until the lender starts to see you regularly paying them back.
✔ Get started with Loqbox Save
Just choose how much to save every month and Loqbox will handle the rest! It’s quick and easy to get set up, and you’ll be on your way to a better credit score in no time. Read here to learn how it works.
Improvements to your credit score are not guaranteed. See the steps below to see what else affects your credit rating.
What affects your credit score?
Now that you’ve answered the age old question “how to improve my credit score” here are some helpful do’s and don’ts for positively affecting your credit score to keep you on the right track:
✔ Spread out your credit applications
Ideally aim for no more than one hard credit check every six months.
✔ Keep on top of your payments
Missed payments can bring down your score and affect your credit history.
✔ Aim to keep your debts low, but the amount of credit you could borrow high
Lenders like to see a low credit utilisation (i.e. spending only a little of your available limit on your credit card).
✔ Keep your oldest credit card going!
This shows how long you’ve been using credit well, so if you’re closing any accounts — don’t choose the oldest one. Read about how credit cards can help build your credit score here.
✔ Build up your credit history over a long time
It isn’t called history for nothing, and not having used any credit historically can negatively affect your creditworthiness.
Remember: Lenders can’t see your credit score. But they’ll have their own rating system to help them decide to lend to you based on your credit history and other things.
What is a credit score?
Credit can be confusing! And Loqbox wants to help you understand the ins and outs of it. Here’s the essential info to know:
Your credit history is a record of how you use credit (and how well you pay it back).
It's built up over a long period of time and helps towards generating your credit score.
A credit rating is a system that helps businesses decide whether to lend to someone or not based on how reliable they’ve been in the past — this is called creditworthiness. The rating can be generated as letters or numbers. Each lender will have their own way of measuring it and the public doesn’t typically have access to these credit ratings.
But it’s helpful to have an idea of how likely you are to be approved for credit before you apply. That’s where credit scores come in. Credit scores are a way for you to get an idea of how a bank or lender may view you. It’s based on things like your credit history (including any missed payments), your address history, people you have joint accounts with and even being registered to vote.
In the UK, there are three main credit reference agencies (CRAs for short) that create your credit score: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. They each have their own scoring systems, meaning you have three credit scores (not one).
Why is a credit score important?
We all have big financial goals in life! And even though they say ‘the best things in life are free’, the reality is that most of them cost a fair amount of money (big sigh).
Whether you’re saving to get on the housing ladder, planning the wedding of the century or you can’t sleep because you’re dreaming of backpacking across the world. Everyone is working towards a goal that can be supported by keeping their finances in order.
Credit histories are important because when you need to ask a bank or lender for help with a loan or mortgage, they’ll be looking to see if you’re a safe bet to repay them. And if you have no evidence of using credit, then they can’t be sure of your creditworthiness.
Plus, having an improved credit score can save you thousands on the rates for mortgages, credit cards and loans.
How to check your credit score
You may have heard of Experian, Equifax or TransUnion (the three main credit reference agencies in the UK). Each use their own scoring system to generate your credit score, and will issue you a report once a year. If you’d like to check more frequently without harming your credit score, then you can use these companies for free:
ClearScore (uses Equifax data)*
Credit Club (uses Experian data)
Intuit Credit Karma (uses TransUnion data)
*For transparency, we wanted to let you know that ClearScore pay us a small commission if you sign up using this link.
We recommend you check your credit scores at least once a year.
But keep in mind that these scores are for the public to get an idea of their creditworthiness, and not what lenders will actually use to decide to lend to you. Once you know what your credit score is, you may find yourself wondering how to increase your credit score.
How is your credit score calculated?
Great question! This is something that confuses many people and that’s because we have three credit reference agencies in the UK, using three different calculation methods.
Generally though, your credit score is a reflection of the information in your credit report — looking at when you’ve applied for credit, how much you’ve borrowed or owe, and if you make your payments on time.
Paying what you’ve agreed to, on time, does have a big impact on your credit score. But other key things that can help increase your credit score are:
Having a credit limit over £15,000
Only using between 1%-25% of that credit limit
Keeping your oldest credit account open
Being on the electoral roll at an address for one and a half years or more
Not applying for too much credit in a short time period
Whether or not you have a mortgage (but this last one is a smaller factor, and we don’t feel it’s very fair seeing as buying a property is a big financial goal for many)
How can improving my credit score benefit me?
Raise your credit score now, and you could save thousands on interest payments for mortgages, credit cards and loans in the future.
Lenders typically make their money by charging interest on your borrowing, and the lower your credit score the more expensive borrowing will be.
With a better credit score though, you’ll be able to access better deals and more favourable interest rates. Here’s a breakdown from Loqbox on why every point matters:
A 70 point increase could save you...*
A 300 point increase could save you...**
credit card balance
** Based on the difference in interest rates achievable with Poor and Good credit ratings
What is a good credit score?
There isn’t a universal rule for getting a good credit score. Each credit reference agency has its own scale to measure what a ‘good’ credit score is.
Use this table to figure out where you sit on the UK scale and you can start improving credit scores from there:
What is a bad credit score?
Having a ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’ credit score doesn’t automatically mean you’d be refused a mortgage, loan or financial product. Because lenders use their own rating system to decide.
But you may not get as good a rate as someone with an ‘excellent’ score (who will typically get offers with much cheaper rates)!
If you peek at your three scores and find you have a ‘good’ score with one credit reference agency and a ‘poor’ score with another, it can be easy to feel downhearted about it.
It’s important to know that these numbers don’t define who you are as a person (you’re awesome). But if you want to get to work at improving your credit score, Loqbox Save can help you move your credit rating from low to high.
Loqbox Save improves your credit score as you grow your savings
Feeling unsure about finances is pretty common. If you've been wondering about how to increase your credit score or want to understand it better — Loqbox can help!
We know how to increase your credit score the easy way. With Loqbox Save you can improve your credit score — just by saving!
Decide how much you want to save each month, starting from £20 a month. Then watch your credit score grow as we report your monthly savings to Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. Plus, you’ll get a personalised financial plan to help with improving your credit score.
Improvements to your credit score are not guaranteed
How long does it take to improve your credit score?
It will take some time before you start to see your credit score improving, because there isn’t an abracadabra moment that can fix your credit score overnight.
But the steps above can get you on the right path to an improved credit score. And the sooner you start, the sooner you’ll see improvement.
Getting a better credit score is achievable for anyone with time, patience and positive financial behaviour. That said, we know it can be a long road to get your finances on track. So if you’re ever struggling to pay your debts, our good friends at Step Change can help.
4 tips to keep your credit score healthy
- Keep your credit file neat and tidy
Check your three credit reports at least once a year and ask the credit reference agency to fix any errors (no matter how small they may seem).
- Check for fraudulent activity
While you’re checking them, keep an eye out for any fraud happening. Your credit reports will show what accounts are open under your name. And if the worst has happened, you can flag this for a 'Victim of Impersonation' note to be added explaining to lenders what has been going on.
- If you’re refused credit, wait a few months before reapplying
Lenders like to see stability but applying for multiple credit agreements in a short space implies that you are desperate for more borrowing (even if that’s not really the case). If you are refused, take a step back and wait before you try again.
- Soft credit checks are your friends
Hard checks stay on your credit report and are visible to lenders, whereas soft checks are for your eyes only. With a soft credit check, you can see if you’re likely to be accepted before going ahead with the hard check that marks your credit file.
Improve your credit score with Loqbox Save
How does Loqbox Save work?
Choose how much you want to save over a year. We’ll lock away that amount in your Loqbox Save. Like a digital piggy bank.
Make your monthly savings payments to hit your savings goal. We’ll report these to the UK’s three main credit reference agencies — Experian, Equifax and TransUnion — growing your credit score as you go.
Once you’ve finished saving, open a new account with one of our partner banks to make Loqbox Save free for you to use. Or if you’d rather withdraw into an existing account it’s just £30 for your credit-building, savings and financial education journey.
Still have questions?
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Improvements to your credit score are not guaranteed
“I’ve always been bad with money, I’ve always had a bad credit rating, and I desperately wanted to improve it so that I could get a mortgage and buy a house…I didn’t even notice my money going out of my account, it was so easy. I have always been a terrible saver, but I was able to save a substantial amount using Loqbox to put towards my deposit for a house.
…Now, I’ve got a mortgage, I’ve bought a house, everyone’s happy! Thanks Loqbox!”
“Financial exclusion is a major problem globally, with billions of people unable to access basic financial services. For many, this is a catch-22 because if they’ve never had credit they can’t build a credit history. The consequence is that many turn to expensive sub-prime lenders and can succumb to a spiral of debt.
While as many as 75% of applications for these cards are rejected, those who are successful still need to avoid the many pitfalls associated with high-cost credit products. This is where Loqbox comes in, giving consumers the best chance to build a credit score and eventually be able to access credit.”
Recommended by Money Saving Expert, ClearScore and Finder as a credit-building product alternative to conventional credit cards or personal loans
See what it can do for you, today