You hold the power when you know your credit score

Knowing your credit score puts you in charge. Why, you might ask? Your credit score is not only something that credit providers use to gauge your credit history, but it is also a way for you to see where you are performing well and where you can improve with regards to credit. How can you make changes and improve your credit usage if you don’t know where you’re going wrong?

How can I use my credit score to my advantage?

Based on your credit score, credit providers could use your score to determine how much interest you should pay. This is because if you have a lower credit score, you may have to pay higher interest in order to mitigate some of the risk for the credit provider. If you know your credit score too, you have a lot more bargaining power if you have a good credit score. For example, if you would like to buy a new car and you know that you have a good credit score, you have a good chance of getting a better interest rate. This is because if you have a high credit score, you have shown credit providers that you have a history of managing credit responsibly.

What if my credit score wasn’t as high as I’d like it to be?

That is alright too. In the credit world, knowledge is power and because you know your credit score now, you have the power to change it. Building a solid credit history can take time and quite a lot of patience. It’s important that you make a concerted effort to manage your credit responsibly. If your credit score wasn’t as high as you’d like, here are ways that you can manage your credit and raise your score:

1. Don’t close your accounts

Credit scoring systems reward you for having a long credit history. This doesn’t mean that you should have lots of cards, use them sporadically and then close the accounts. The average age of your accounts is a factor that the credit scoring models look at. Therefore, if you close your accounts, you’ll decrease the average age of ALL your credit accounts.

2. Be on time with your credit card payments

This is the most important factor in maintaining a good credit history. With a Virgin Money credit card, you can set an automatic payment for an amount that you select. This will help to make sure that you’re not accidentally missing a payment.

3. Don’t have too many credit accounts at once

You shouldn’t apply for too many credit accounts in quick succession. Whenever you apply for a new line of credit, there is a hard enquiry done on your credit report and this will negatively affect your credit score.

4. Setting reminders for payments and paying your bills more than once a month

Set reminders on your phone for when you need to make a payment on one of your accounts.  Plus, if you are able Plus, if you can, pay your bills every two weeks, rather than just once a month. Your credit score will improve, as you are lowering your credit utilization.

5. Make sure you check your credit score and credit report regularly

You are entitled to one free credit report per year. If you stick to the above tricks on how to manage credit, when you come back for another credit check in a year’s time, you’re bound to see an improvement. Checking your credit report is also a good way for you to ensure that all the information on your credit report is correct. If it isn’t, you can log a dispute with Compuscan by calling them on 0861 51 41 31 or sending an email to consumercare@compuscan.co.za.