Argos can help you with advice and tools to help you manage your credit rating and protect yourself against identity theft.
A FREE 30-day trial* with CreditExpert from Experian will give you access to your Experian credit report.
Credit blacklists do not exist
Credit of any sort - from bank loans to mortgages and credit cards - has never been handed out freely. You have to show lenders that you are in control of your finances and are likely to make repayments on time and in full. If you do, you have a much better chance of getting the deals you need.
If you are among the people who have been refused credit recently or if you are thinking of applying for credit soon, don't panic - take action instead.
A good place to start is your credit report, which lists your borrowings and how well you're managing your repayments. It gives you a snapshot of your credit history, what credit accounts you've had in the last few years and how you have coped. Your credit report can also help you to see where you could cut back and whether you could close some accounts altogether.
You can see your credit report for free with CreditExpert.
Lenders check it when they decide whether to make you an offer and what terms - such as interest rates - to set. It's crucial that your credit report is up to date and accurately reflects your circumstances, because a better credit history makes you more likely to get a better deal.
For more help, take a look at these top tips:
- Manage your money. Pay your bills and make repayments on cards, loans and your mortgage on time - you'll only rack up worse debts, incur penalties and damage your credit rating otherwise.
- Look at your credit report regularly so you can monitor your progress. Make sure that every entry is correct - a single clerical error could result in a rejection.
- Talk to your lenders if you're worried - they could help you to work out a schedule of repayments you can afford or arrange a temporary payment holiday.
- Review your spending, set a budget and stick to it. Try price comparison sites to find the best deals on utilities, as well as loans, mortgages and credit cards. If you need help, try the Financial Services Authority's financial healthcheck at www.moneymadeclear.fsa.gov.uk
- Don't try to borrow your way out of trouble - you could rack up debts you can't manage and that will mean being rejected for credit you really need in the future.
- Investigate rolling up several debts into a single, cheaper package, such as a bank loan. There are plenty of financial comparison sites with calculators that can help you to identify the best option.
- Look for ways to supplement your income. For example, you could take in a lodger, sell off unwanted clothes or furniture or get a part-time job in the evenings or at weekends.
- Make sure your partner hasn't got financial problems. If you have a joint account or have applied for credit with a partner, you will be linked on your credit report. This is known as a financial association and a lender's response to your application may be affected by both credit histories. So get your partner to check his or her credit report, too. If you are no longer financially connected, make sure you get the link broken so that any problems your ex might have don't affect you.
If you're having trouble coping, you can get free advice. Try Citizens Advice at www.citizensadvice.org.uk, the Consumer Credit Counselling Service at www.cccs.co.uk or National Debtline at www.nationaldebtline.co.uk.
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