Hey Skint pals,
Today’s post comes, in association with aquacard.
Hope you had a fabulous weekend. The highlight of mine was a Great Gatsby party at a pals house – you know how I love a chance to get dressed up – and apart from that I spent much of it trying to sort out a holiday. You may remember my past resolutions to get organized when it comes to holiday planning and I’d like to report that I’ve done so this summer – but once again, we’re doing more flapping than a Charleston girl as we hunt for suitable last-minute options. Baby Skint’s my handy excuse this year. See, what we really want to do is go camping, having loved every second of it last time, but with a 12-month old baby who would view a camping stove as a fun, pull-along toy, we’re not sure how good an idea it is.
Camping’s just such great fun though, and so darned cheap. Even if you plump for the posh, already-erected tents, which have a fridge, stove, proper camp beds etc, it’s still a third of the price of staying in an apartment, making it a great option for those keen to escape the city without shelling out a fortune. In fact, together with housesitting and holiday camps, traditional campsites have seen business boom since the recession kicked in.
For lots of people, summer holidays are their biggest annual extravagance, and though I hardly use my credit card through the year, come summer I blow the cobwebs off and get ready to spend now, pay later. All well and good if accessing credit’s not a problem, but what if you’re one of the increasing number of people who find a credit card out of bounds due to a lack of, or poor, credit rating? With half of credit card applicants being rejected, it’s a growing problem, so today, I’m bringing you a range of tips designed to help you improve your credit rating this summer:
Tips to improve your credit rating
- If it’s poor, find out why: In the UK, credit ratings are provided by two main credit reference agencies: Experian and Equifax. Any UK individual can obtain their credit report, and this should always be the first step in trying to fix credit ratings, since it may show up issues that are easy to fix. Even something as simple as failing to register for the electoral roll at your current address can affect your rating. And whilst it normally costs £2 to get your credit report, they’re free to people in need, eg people accessing certain debt charities and also to victims of identity fraud.
- Don’t assume your rating’s right: With ID theft and fraud on the rise you might well find that activities listed on your credit report don’t belong to you. Always check each activity carefully to ensure it relates to you. If it looks suspect, credit reference agencies have Victims of Fraud teams, who will help you set the record straight .
- Get the Timing right: Credit reference agencies frown on you making lots of applications for credit in a short space of time, so space out applications, not just for credit cards but also for mobile phone contracts etc, as these each show on your file. Moving house also hits a score (maybe it makes you seem more flighty?), so if you’re applying for serious credit, do so before moving.
- Use your landline on applications: Credit reference agencies are conservative souls. They like us all to be stable: To own our homes rather than rent; to be employed rather than self-employed; to have been in the same job and home for a gazillion years. One simple tip? Put your landline on your applications rather than your mobile number. Yep, even if a mobile’s easier for you, credit agencies equate a good old solid landline with reliability and look on you more favourably as a result.
- Repair your reputation: If you’ve checked your report and your rating looks poor but correct, it’s time to start building it up. One way to do so is to prove to credit reference agencies that you’re a model citizen. That means paying off debt reliably, always meeting your payments and never going over your limit. How to do this though if you can’t get credit in the first place? One solution may be to opt for a credit card account that’s specifically aimed at people struggling to get credit elsewhere.
The aqua Advance credit card is one such card, targeted at assisting people such as those who have been made redundant or have encountered other financial difficulties, and has a number of features designed to help borrowers to build a stronger credit history.
There are a number of credit cards on the market and it is recommended that you should carry out your research in full, prior to making an application. Even if you have previously had credit card applications rejected, it’s worth applying to those lenders who look more favourably on individuals with mixed credit histories.
What about you, Skint pals? Have you ever come across any shockers in accessing your credit reports? How did you dig yourself out, if so? Tell us all about it!