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Common credit score myths

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Previous debts will always show

I’ve never borrowed so my credit score must be good

You might assume that if you’ve never been in debt your credit score will be great, because that shows how responsible you are. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case; lenders may sometimes ask for evidence of you managing credit responsibly.

If you’ve not had bills in your name or used a credit card or loan then it might be a good idea to apply for a credit card and use it for purchases that you then pay off monthly. As long as you clear the balance each month (essential or you’ll pay a fortune in interest), this is a free way to prove you are a reliable debtor.

If you are struggling to get credit, it might be worth considering a credit builder credit card. This is a type of card available to people who may not be accepted for mainstream credit, usually down to having a bad credit history, or no credit history at all.

They give you access to credit and providing you make the repayments on time every month, enable you to prove you can manage credit responsibly thus boosting your credit rating.

The previous tenant has damaged my credit score

People often think their home has been ‘blacklisted’ by the poor borrowing behaviour of the previous tenant but this is not actually how it works. Unless they were financially connected to you, i.e. married or with lots of joint financial product, then it doesn’t matter what their financial status was.

I can’t see what a lender can see

No lender has the right to see information on you that you can’t see yourself. The information held in your credit report is the information a potential lender will access when you make an application, so you can see it in advance.

If you apply for lots of mortgages then at least one will accept

Don’t apply for several mortgages at once in the hope that at least one lender will agree. In fact, making an application for credit can temporarily depress your credit score, which can mean multiple applications prevent you from qualifying for any loan. A good mortgage broker can help you choose the lenders most likely to accept you.

Previous debts will always show

This is not true. Your credit score and credit history are intended to show lenders how reliable you are now, not whether you made a bad mistake and got into debt when you first turned 18. Information is typically held on your credit file for six years only, and you can take steps to improve your score even if you do have some recent glitches.