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My credit score sucks. How can I fix it?

·3-min read
A woman looking at her computer frustrated.
Here is a guide for fixing your credit score. (Source: Getty)

All good things in life take time - like watching all 18 seasons of Grey’s Anatomy, waiting for your ASOS order… and improving your credit score.

Unfortunately, there’s no silver bullet to improving your credit score, but there are some tried and tested methods to improving your score over time.

1. Making repayments on time

We know that making late loan repayments or defaulting on your loan repayments can negatively impact your credit score.

To recap:

  • Debts over $150 that are overdue by more than 60 days are deemed a ‘default’

  • Defaults remain on your credit score for 5 years

  • Making payments more than 14 days after the due date are recorded as ‘missed’

  • Missed payments remain on your report for 2 years.

But if you begin making all your repayments on time (and keep doing it consistently) eventually your credit score will repair itself.

The best way to build your score is to set reminders for your repayment due dates, or set up a direct-debit system, so you’re never late on repayments.

2. Have good debt

There’s good debt… and then there’s bad debt.

Debt can be considered ‘good’ if it helps you buy something that will grow in value over time, or provide you with another income. So, good debt can be things like a mortgage (because real estate has historically increased in price over time), or a HECS loan (because university can help you get a job with a higher salary).

Debt can be considered ‘bad’ if it’s used to buy assets that fall in value (i.e. taking out a credit card or personal loan to fund ya #EuroTrip2022 or to buy the latest Balenciaga sneakers).

Having good debt on your credit report shows banks that you’re using your credit wisely. So if you try to clear your bad debts, and begin making better credit decisions, over time your credit score will change.

3. Stop making credit enquiries (for a while)

We know that making a lot of credit enquiries in a short period of time reflects poorly on your credit score.

Unlike Kim Kardashian and Pete Davidson’s relationship, when it comes to credit, you don’t want to go in too hard. So, if you’ve made a few credit enquiries already… it’s time to pump the brakes.

Try to repay your current debts as they stand, and don’t take any more credit out. Over time, your credit score will respond to the changes in your financial situation.

4. Consistently check your credit score

You definitely don’t want to have credit mistakes or reporting errors on your credit score - without you knowing about it.

So, check your credit score regularly. Every month (if you remember) is a good rule of thumb. This way, you can stay on top of:

  • Potential debts listed twice

  • Errors in the amount of debt

  • Incorrect information about overdue payments (was it actually overdue?)

  • Defaults that you’re currently in dispute about

  • Identity theft.

CHALLENGE

  1. Check your credit score (you can do this via the Flux App)

  2. Once you do, set a calendar reminder in your phone for 3 months’ time

  3. Write this date on your physical calendar too

  4. Check your credit score again (and see if anything’s changed!)

The guidance and suggestions provided in Yahoo Finance's 6-Week Financial Bootcamp are of an informational nature only, and are not intended to constitute financial advice. You should make your own enquiries as to whether the 6 Week Financial Bootcamp is suitable for your own personal circumstances. Yahoo Finance does not guarantee any particular outcome arising out of your participation in the 6 Week Financial Bootcamp.

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