Credit score: What is it and how to check it

The credit score, one of the key pieces of the mortgage application puzzle that you need to maintain. So what exactly is it, who is scoring it and what can you do to keep this score high?

What is a credit score?

Your credit score is a number, typically between 300 and 850, and is used to determine your ability to pay off credit and debt. This can include student loans, credit card debt and any unpaid bills. The more credit and debt you incur, the lower your score becomes. And that’s why it’s important to repay your loaned money on time and consistently to build up a healthy credit history.

Why should I care?

Your credit score is reviewed by mortgage lenders to determine if you are a reliable candidate for a successful loan application. Without it, you would not be able to secure a decent mortgage that will help with purchasing a home.

Who can check my credit score?

There are three main credit score bureaus that can conduct a hard credit score check. These are Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. As part of your loan application, a hard credit check is conducted by one of these bureaus. You can also conduct a soft credit check yourself (in fact, we encourage it!) to make sure you’re maintaining a good score through several providers out there including Check My File.

I don’t have a credit card. Does this help with a good credit score?

Not necessarily. Having a credit card that is paid off on time and remains a low utilisation rate is an excellent way to improve your credit history. If you don’t have a credit card, there are plenty of other ways to build a good score.

What if I have a CCJ or default?

These will damage your credit score and will be in your credit history for 6 years even if you pay it off. It will be difficult at first to apply for further credit, loans and mortgages because lenders will see you as a higher risk candidate based on your credit history. If you do get approved for more credit, you could be privy to higher interest rates.

After 6 years, the CCJ and default will be removed from your credit history.

How do I know if I have a good credit score?

The general temperature check on a good credit score is as follows:

  • 800–850+ Exceptional
  • 740–799: Very Good
  • 670–739: Good
  • 580–669: Fair
  • 300–579: Poor

Sitting on a low credit score? Find out 10 easy and effective ways to boost it here.

Once you have a good credit score you can apply for a mortgage or other home financing options. Find out if you're eligible for a deposit boost here.

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SSM One Limited (trading as Proportunity Loans) is an intermediary only lender authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (with firm reference number 716565). SSM One Limited is registered in the UK at Companies House with reference number 09273700, with its registered office at GG 315, Metal Box Factory, 30 Great Guildford St, London SE1 0HS, United Kingdom.
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