A recent study  by a credit card provider has found that 52% of women and 43% of men have never checked their credit score. Aqua asked 2110 UK adults, revealing a worrying level of ignorance when it comes to individual financial health.
A credit score, or rating, reflects your financial history in order to enable lenders to decide who is a ‘safe bet’ when it comes to borrowing – ie, will pay back what they owe! However, checking your credit history can also be of use to flag up cases of identity fraud or mistakes that may be blighting your financial record, without you even realising it.
Your credit score is a vital tool for both you and financial institutions, so it’s surprising that so many people never check the information that is held on file about them. While a credit score will vary between different lenders, depending on their criteria, finding your credit score online can give you a good indication of your financial rating.
It’s so easy to check – you can do it online at http://www.creditexpert.co.uk/credit-score.aspx – so there’s no reason to put it off. You can even do this without it costing you, when you sign up for a 30 day trial. Simply cancel your trial before the end of the 30 days and checking your score won’t cost you a penny.
It’s likely that many people don’t realise just how important credit ratings actually are. But in reality they can affect everything from buying a house to getting a new mobile phone contract. As well as blocking you from borrowing in the form of a loan or overdraft, poor credit history could even prevent you from opening a bank account, renting or buying a property or car, or even getting a job. A low credit score could be affecting your life to great detriment, without you even realising it, while a high credit score should make it easier to borrow money or obtain credit.
Checking your credit score means educating yourself about the information that is held on file about you – that other institutions can see – whether it’s good or less than great, it’s always going to be better to know. Your financial transactions will be listed, with late or missed payments having the potential to lower your score, depending on how it is calculated by individual lenders. For some, the first time they check their credit history can throw up some surprises – perhaps late payments that they didn’t realise were late, or credit that they’d forgotten about. Seeing any issues in black and white means that you can then set about rectifying them – perhaps by contacting past lenders, cancelling dormant credit cards or repaying unpaid bills.
Viewing your credit report can also throw up some more sinister issues like identity theft. A credit history can show borrowing in your name that has been done fraudulently, and may be the first time that you realise that these issues have occurred. This then means that you can go forward and start to rectify them.
Even if all of the transactions on your credit report are bona fide, knowing about any problems that may be throwing up red flags to lenders enables you not only be aware of them when applying for future borrowing, but also to work towards a cleaner credit history and higher credit score.
Whatever the results of checking your credit score, being aware of it has multiple benefits. Take the time to check yours, for peace of mind, better borrowing and a brighter financial future.