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Spring! That time when people reach for their peacock feathers and clean the house. Here’s the thing though – they take great pride in their homes, but what about their finances? Money matters rarely get the attention they deserve – the equivalent of that kitchen drawer full of letters, charity bags and broken pens.

The availability of credit means that consumers often have several credit cards or loans. If you aren’t careful this can lead to debt and scruffy marks on your credit rating, but panic not, there are ways to spruce things up. Kick off your sandals and relax – I have wisdom to share:

What is a credit rating?

A credit rating is something used by lenders to decide if they’re going to offer you credit, whether it’s for a personal loan, credit card, mortgage or any other kind of borrowing.

How to check it

There are loads of companies out there that can provide you with a full range of services that allow you to check your score and see if your details are correct. Many are now also able to advise on how to improve your score, help you find deals, and spot mistakes in your credit history. Check out my Credit Reports section and you’ll be on the right path, my friend.

How will it affect your applications for credit?

If you have a bad credit rating, it’s a blot on your copybook – it makes it much harder to get the credit you’re looking for. Many providers will only give the best deals to a small proportion of customers. Different lenders will use different criteria to work out your credit rating, so you might be accepted by one lender but rejected by another. Mental right? 

Here are my tips to jazz up your credit rating this spring:

Check out your credit rating regularly  

Just like the cupboard under the stairs, if you leave your credit rating too long, it can become cluttered and affect your ability to borrow. Have a thorough clean out of your finances, pay off as much existing debt as possible and close down any unused credit cards. Importantly, don’t miss any payments on your existing cards. Doing this will let lenders know that you are serious about your finances and managing your money.

Check everything

Mistakes do sometimes happen with credit ratings. Annoying eh? If you do spot something, contact the credit agency immediately with supporting evidence and they should respond to you within 28 days.

Stop applying

Every credit card application you make is recorded on your credit file, whether successful or not. So ease up, Seabiscuit – don’t be tempted to keep on applying. Making a Mcflurry of applications for credit might make lenders think you’re in financial difficulty and this could have a negative effective on your credit rating. If you've already been refused credit, you may find our bounce back from financial woes Wisdom most insightful.

Remember the little things

Make sure that you’re on the electoral register. This might seem like a random little detail, but it could make all the difference.

A wise man once said: have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful. A similar thing could be said for your credit: don’t apply for too much and make sure what you do have is the best deal for you.

Remember, I’m always here to help – with gleaming tips, ideas and guidance in my Wisdom section. I’m not helping with your bathroom though. That’s your business.

Peace and loans,

The G.