If you’ve damaged your credit history, you might be wondering what you can do about this. Can you rebuild your credit rating? Or do you just have to accept that your credit record will always be less than perfect?

Don’t worry – you can take steps to get back to a better credit score. We’ll take you through the best ways to improve your credit rating. But remember, this is something that will take time – there’s no quick fix.

What to do first

To start with, you should check your credit rating for free. This will show you what your credit score is currently, and what you’ve got to work towards.

Remember, there are three credit reference agencies in the UK – Experian, Equifax and CallCredit. It’s important you check your history with all three as they can hold different information on you. Different lenders will use different credit reference agencies when you apply as well – so it’s important that your information is correct with all three.

Checking your credit rating will show you if there are any issues with your credit history that there shouldn’t be. For example, if you have a default you know shouldn’t be there, get in touch with the lender responsible to fix this.

It’s important to remember that improving your credit rating is a journey – it’s not something you can do in a few days. The credit reference agencies only issue new reports every 30 days, so you can track your progress then.

How to improve your credit rating

While there’s no one best way to go from bad credit to good credit, there are certainly a few things you can do to start with.

  1. Sign up to the electoral roll.Register to vote so lenders can verify your identity. If they can’t do this, they might reject you. Remember, you don’t have to actually vote to help your credit rating, just registering is enough.
  2. Don’t move!Relocating to a new house every few months could make lenders think you’re unreliable. If it’s possible, try staying in one place for a while to show you’re consistent.
  3. Break it off.Make sure you remove any ‘financial links’ between you and an ex-partner by filing a Notice of Disassociation. You’ll have a financial link if you had joint credit or a joint bank account with an ex. You can do this with Experian, Equifax and Callcredit.
  4. Get back on track.Don’t worry if you’ve had late bills in the past – focus on paying them on time now. Any missed or late payments will appear on your credit record for six years. So it’s important to be sure that when they drop off, your credit history won’t show anything negative.
  5. Check first. Each lender assesses you differently and there’s no such thing as a credit blacklist. Just because one lender turns you down, it doesn’t mean they all will. But make sure you run a soft credit search before you apply to avoid leaving a mark on your credit history. This should give you an idea of whether the lender will accept you without making lots of different applications. If you have a lot of applications on your credit history in a short space of time, lenders might think you’re desperate for credit.