Is it really true that you reap what you sow when it comes to your credit rating?
More and more of our young customers are talking to us about finance earlier, as they begin planning for making larger purchases in the future, like a new car, or buying a home. With real estate prices continuing to rise, their concern is making sure their credit score is as healthy as possible so they’ll be more likely to secure a loan down the years.
What is your credit score, and how is it calculated?
Your credit score, also known as your credit rating, is based on your financial history when it comes to credit, borrowing and repayments. It also takes into account how often you’ve applied for credit, and for what purpose. Lenders use your score as well as other risk-related criteria to determine whether to lend you money – how much, and what interest rate to charge.
Your credit score is calculated by credit reporting agencies, and can be represented in different numerical ways (sometimes between 0 – 1,200) but generally, the higher your score, the better. To reach this figure, reporting agencies examine:
- Your debt history, including any repayment issues you may have faced
- Loans and loan enquiries you’ve taken out to purchase, refinance or renovate houses
- Your current credit limit, as well as your credit cards and store cards
- Accounts you may have opened and/or closed
- Any history of default judgements or bankruptcy
How do applications for credit affect my score?
Each time you make an application for credit, such as for a new credit card, your score will decrease slightly. If you’re a single card holder, and just want a better deal, or this is your first card, it’s not such a big issue, right? Your credit score will usually be pretty high anyway. Plus, after 12-24 months, the effect is reversed, as only recent applications are taken into account when calculating your score.
You may however see some negative effects when you’re making multiple applications for credit in a short period of time. Not only can this lower your credit score, but it may suggest a ‘desperation for credit’ to lenders, which almost always spells doom for new applications.
How to manage your credit score
Yes, it’s true that making applications for credit can lower your credit score, which is why you should avoid making new applications until you’ve done your research.
As well as this, maintaining a healthy relationship with your existing forms of credit will help – paying your bills on time, making all loan repayments and not spreading yourself too thin financially may seem basic, but it is vital when it comes to keeping your credit score high.
There are several free online services you can use to monitor your credit score, such as Credit Savvy.
If you’re in the market for a simple, low rate credit card, be sure to check out Greater Bank’s Visa Credit Card today.