Whether it is applying for a mortgage, buying a car or applying for a credit card, having a positive credit score is vital. However, it appears that many Brits do not understand what can help or hinder their credit score.
New research* conducted by credit information provider, Equifax, highlights a surprising lack of knowledge when it comes to credit report information and how it can influence someone’s credit score.
- 33% of UK consumers believe that being on the electoral roll has either no impact or they don’t know what impact it will have on their credit score
- 52% believe using a significant proportion or all of their available credit will have no impact on their credit score, or they don’t know what impact it will have
- 22% believe that having a County Court Judgment (CCJ) will have no impact, or they don’t know what impact it will have on their credit score
“There are certain elements on a credit file that will always have a positive impact on a credit score, such as being registered on the electoral roll”, explained Lisa Hardstaff, Equifax Credit Information Expert. “However, surprisingly, a third of UK consumers believe electoral roll registration either has no impact or they don’t know the impact it has on their score.
“Nearly a third (32%) of respondents to our survey also didn’t believe that having a record of prompt payments on short-term debt would have a positive impact on their credit score – they thought it would have no impact or a negative impact or simply didn’t know what difference this information would make. And what would seem like obvious factors that could have a negative impact on a credit score, such as using a significant proportion or all of their available credit and even having a CCJ, were also things that at least 1 in 10 consumers thought wouldn’t affect their credit score.
“We were quite surprised by these findings, when considering that nearly half of people questioned (48%) had applied for credit in the last five years, and over half (53%) thought it was important to have a good credit score. Clearly consumers understand that having a good credit score is important – but they don’t seem to realise what will contribute to that.”
According to the new Equifax data, 25 to 34 year olds seem the least clued up about what impacts their credit score, with the over 55s being the most knowledgeable.
- More than 30% of 25 to 34 year olds didn’t recognise that being declared bankrupt will have a negative impact on their credit score; 18-24 year olds were more aware of this risk, with only just over 12% thinking it would have no impact or they didn’t know the affect
- Over 20% of 25 to 34 year olds believe that being late or missing a payment will have no impact or they don’t know what impact it will have on their credit score; only just over 11% of 55+ respondents didn’t recognise the impact of late payments on their credit score
- Just over 30% of 25 to 34 year olds believe that paying credit card bills on time either has no impact or they don’t know what impact it has on their credit score; only 16% of 45 to 54 year olds lacked knowledge about the impact of this information on their credit score
“Our research highlights a distinct lack of knowledge amongst UK consumers about the impact of key information on their credit files, which is a concern when so much of consumer spending is still carried out using credit”, continued Lisa Hardstaff. “Your credit file stays with you for life - it’s vital, therefore that consumers understand the influence that each piece of information has on their ability to access new credit.”
The Equifax Credit Report and Score** is accessible for 30 days free simply by logging onto http://www.equifax.co.uk/Products/credit/credit-score.html. If customers do not cancel before the end of the 30 Day Free Trial, the service will continue at £14.95 per month, giving them unlimited online access to their credit information and score and weekly alerts on any changes to their credit file. It also includes an online dispute facility to help them correct any errors on their credit file simply and quickly.
*Equifax Credit Score Survey – 3,000 consumers surveyed through Atomik Research June 2015
**The Equifax Credit Score is designed to provide an indication of how a lender may view an individual’s creditworthiness. Other information may, however, also be used by a lender to make a lending decision.