Whether you are trying to apply for a mortgage, want a new car on finance or even a mobile phone contract, your credit score will determine your eligibility.

January may have come to an end but if your aim for 2021 was to improve your finances and credit score there are still plenty of things you can do to get on track.

While all creditors will calculate your credit score slightly different, generally there are a number of factors that can help improve your credit.

Personal finance experts at Ocean Finance have provided a breakdown of 30 long-term and short-term tips to help improve and keep on top of your credit score for good.

In the short-term there are a number of things you can do to boost credit score, here are some quick wins.

15 actions you can take to improve your credit score immediately 

  1. If you rent, ask your landlord to put you on the Rental Exchange Initiative to show you pay rent on time. 
  2. Check your address is correct on older, active credit accounts, as this helps with accuracy for future credit. 
  3. Add a landline number to credit checks to prove stability.
  4. Get your name on household bills, even if you’re in a house share as this proves you make payments on time.
  5. Get on the electoral roll to boost your score by around 50 points.
  6. If you can’t register to vote, get proof of residency to have it added to your credit report.
  7. Make sure all of your direct debits are paid on time.
  8. Don’t withdraw cash on a credit card, as you’ll have to pay interest fees.
  9. Think twice before agreeing to be financially linked to those with bad credit. 
  10. Disassociate yourself from previous financial partners by closing joint accounts, mortgages and more.
  11. Use calendar reminders to stay on top on your finances so you don’t miss a payment.
  12. Pay off your debt with your savings if you have any, as this will save you interest. 
  13. Be frugal, and live within your means so you’re more likely to borrow less. 
  14. Check your credit report for mistakes, and contact the credit reference agency directly to fix any you find.
  15. Protect yourself from scams as falling victim to one can cause unfair damage to your credit score.

In addition, Ocean Finance have uncovered a further 15 ways to better your credit health with some long-term goals for the New Year:

15 ways to improve your credit health in the New Year

  1. Always stay below 25% of your credit limit so if you have £1,000, spend less than £250 per month. 
  2. Don’t open a new credit account for six months, and you’ll boost your credit score by 50 points. 
  3. Have a variety of different credit types to proof you’re a reliable borrower i.e. one credit card with a consistent balance and payment amount, have one loan, a mortgage and one store card (if these are all necessary). 
  4. Use free eligibility checkers to see you will be accepted for credit before applying.
  5. If you’re applying for credit, choose the timing carefully. If something is about to expire on your report, it may be worth waiting until afterwards. 
  6. Keep a fixed address. Anything over three years looks more favourable. 
  7. Get a credit rebuilder card if you have a poor credit history or none at all. These come with a low, manageable limit and can help build your credit score.
  8. If you have some high-interest debts that you’re struggling to pay off, consider a debt consolidation loan
  9. Avoid payday loans if you want a mortgage.
  10. Avoid using overdrafts  - authorised or unauthorised – as it’s classed as a form of borrowing. 
  11. When paying your credit card, pay more than the minimum if you can.
  12. In addition, two payments per month on credit cards, as this suggest you’re paying over the minimum. 
  13. If you’ve suffered financial problems in the past, consider a pre-paid card where you load the card up with cash and use it as a credit card.
  14. Pay off existing debt before applying for more credit whenever possible. 
  15. Pay for your car insurance monthly by Direct Debit as opposed to one annual payment. 

For more information you can find an in-depth breakdown here, which also debunks some credit score myths and allows you to test you credit wisdom.