What is a Credit History?
A credit history is a record of your responsible repayment of debts. A credit report is a record of your credit history from a number of sources, including banks, credit card companies, collection agencies, and governments. It does not take much to damage your credit history. A missed payment here, a late payment there and before you know it you have a default on your credit file.
Where can I check my Credit File for free?
For information on how to check your Credit Score for free, read through our other article:
How do I fix my Credit History?
How long does a credit default stay on my credit file you ask? 5 years, even when paid! Once you have a mark on your credit file, you will find that loans are much more difficult to acquire.
It can be a difficult road, but rebuilding your credit file is defiantly worth the effort. Improving your credit file is a bit like losing weight — it takes time and there is no quick fix. The hardest part is just getting started. Fortunately, there are a number of tips to help you on your way.
Step 1: Pay your bills on time
Paying your bills on time is the most important contributor to a good credit score. Even if the debt you owe is a small amount, it is crucial that you make payments on time. In addition, you should:
- Minimize outstanding debt
- Avoid overextending yourself
- Refrain from applying for credit needlessly
Applications for credit show up as inquiries on your credit report, indicating to lenders that you may be taking on new debt. It may be to your advantage to use the credit you already have to prove your ongoing ability to manage credit responsibly.
Step 2: Keep balances low on credit cards and other “revolving credit”
From 12 March 2014 repayment history information, such as if you make your credit card and loan repayments on time, can be held on your credit report. Whilst one late repayment, depending upon how late it was, followed by making your repayments on time, may not significantly impact your credit worthiness, a number of late payments could be an indication you are in financial stress and may negatively impact your credit report.
Step 3: Do your homework before you apply for credit, and only apply for credit when you need it
Every time you apply for credit and a credit provider obtains a copy of your report, an enquiry is added to your credit report. This includes short-term loans, payday cash loans, personal loans, mortgage or utilities applications you may make. Credit providers may take a negative view of a relatively high number of enquiries made in a short space of time, which may in turn affect your ability to obtain credit.
Step 4: Reduce the amount of debt you owe
Pay off debt rather than moving it around with different lenders. The most effective way to improve your credit score and credit file is by paying down your revolving credit.
The bottom line?
It takes time to improve Credit Scores. If you have negative information on your credit report, such as late payments, defaults, a public record item (e.g., bankruptcy) or too many inquiries, you may want to pay your bills and wait. Time is your ally in improving your credit scores. There is no quick fix for bad credit scores or a bad credit file.