Spring clean your credit report

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Can we now say that spring is *finally* in the air? Rain permitting, this means that for many of us thoughts are turning to soon-come summer holidays, and dusting off the wallet for plenty of local days out in the sun.

But before you rush headlong into the warmer months, it can be a good idea to start thinking ahead about how you could take control of your finances. And one way of doing that is to understand what's on your credit report, so you can see for yourself the steps you can take to improve it.

Review your credit report

Understanding what is on your Experian Credit Report can help you put yourself in a stronger position when it comes to applying for the credit you want – for example: a mortgage or a loan - as lenders use it to help decide if you'll be able to afford to make new repayments on time.

The data and information held on your credit report summarises your credit history, so it's in your interests to ensure that it provides an accurate and up-to-date picture of your credit histories, and review it on a regular basis. Even simple discrepancies on your credit report, such as different ways of listing your name and address, can make a difference.

Your Experian Credit Score is a guide that will help you understand how your credit history is likely to be seen by lenders. It can show you the way that you've managed credit in the past can affect future credit applications, and for you to monitor your progress as you get your finances in order before you apply. Making little changes to improve your credit report can make a big difference; not only to getting credit, but also to the interest rates you could be charged.

Spring cleaning tips

Try to stay within your credit limits and try to pay your credit bills on time – every time – as missed or late payments can make you look unreliable, stay on your credit report for at least six years, and this can have a big impact on your credit score. However, you can add a "notice of correction" (up to 200 words) explaining if special circumstances caused payments to be missed in the past.

Registering to vote at your current address can help, as lenders use the electoral register to help confirm who you are and where you live. Showing that you're settled in one place can also be a factor in making you look reliable to them.

It's also a good idea to check that there are no suspicious entries in your credit report, or accounts that you don't recognise, as that may indicate identity fraud. Your credit report lists your credit accounts and balances, so if you saw anything unfamiliar you'd be able to spot applications and spending that are nothing to do with you. Additionally, financial links to other people may appear on your credit report, for example an ex-partner you shared accounts with. If you find any links that are out of date, you can ask for them to be broken. With Experian CreditExpert you can get an array of exclusive tools and expert advice to help you monitor, understand and improve your overall credit situation.

Content / Article provided by Experian – links to Experian CreditExpert are placed for promotional purposes

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