Hurting your credit score?

5 ways you’re hurting your credit score

Last updated: 01 November 2021

Your credit score is like a report card for your finances or even a financial CV. So keeping your credit score in the best shape possible makes sense. After all, no one wants a bad report card!

We’ve listed 5 ways you might be hurting your credit score and some of these you might not even know about. They also happen to be some of the most common things that can hurt your credit score. Any of these sound familiar?

1. Ignoring it

Credit scores are probably not the first topic of conversation in your post lockdown catch ups, but taking some time to understand what a credit score is and how it can impact your financial wellbeing is worth your time.

If you don’t know what your score is, then you don’t know if you can improve it. You can check out your credit score and credit file information with us for free! There might even be things on your file lowering your score that shouldn’t even be there which leads us to number 2 on our list of ways you’re hurting your credit score.

2. Not correcting errors

Whilst you may be doing everything right in managing your personal finances, others may have made mistakes. This can happen more than you may expect, so regularly checking your credit file will help you spot errors swiftly.

Examples of errors in your credit file may include simple things like:

  • Misspelling of your name
  • The wrong address,
  • A credit listing that is incorrect or duplicated.

Incorrect information can impact your credit score so it’s important to contact the provider of the incorrect item and ask them to correct it. Our Learning Hub has more information on what to do if you believe there is a mistake on your file.

3. Too many credit applications

When you apply for a credit product, a credit enquiry is recorded on your credit file by the credit provider. These are recorded on your file for five years and their effect on your score varies.

Credit products are not just loans and credit cards. Utilities like electricity and internet,  and even your post-paid mobile phone can all be considered credit products.

Having a large number of credit enquiries on your file over a short period of time can make you appear less favourable to credit providers. On the one hand, they may assume your previous applications have been declined and so you might be a high risk. On the other hand, they may assume your past applications have been approved and you may be less capable of making repayments on any new credit due to all the existing credit.

4. Applying for certain products with certain providers

The other thing to look out for with applications is the ‘what’ and ‘who with’.

Not all applications are equal! For example, payday loans from payday lenders may be viewed less favourably than a mortgage application with a major bank. That may be an extreme example but even ‘unsecured’ credit like a credit card can affect your score differently to ‘secured’ credit like a car loan.

So before applying, consider what type of credit you are applying for, who the credit provider is and the impact this could have on your credit score!

It’s worth noting that Buy Now, Pay Later applications and repayments generally don’t appear directly on your credit report or influence your credit score. Read more about Buy Now, Pay Later and your credit score.

5. Not paying on time

Since Comprehensive Credit Reporting became mandatory in July 2021, credit providers such as banks are required to share more information with credit agencies. This information about your credit behaviour includes:

  • Open and close dates of accounts
  • Types of credit
  • Credit limits
  • Financial Hardship information
  • Up to 24 months of repayment history information.

This means providers can report whether you have made at least the minimum payment required and whether it was on time. It may be time to set up those direct debits!

MYTH BUSTER!

Myth: Checking my credit score will hurt my credit score.

Truth: Checking your credit score with Credit Savvy will NOT hurt your credit score. Credit Savvy will be shown as “file access” on your credit report. Read more about this here.

Check your credit score for free with Credit Savvy.