Getting a new credit card or loan is a quick way to improve your credit score. But it is not the only option. Raising your credit score without a credit card is possible.
Here are six steps you can take to boost your credit score without a credit card:
Step 1: Check your credit score
It may be useful to know your credit score if you don’t already. This will give you an indication of how much improvement you want to achieve.
The three UK credit rating agencies Experian, Equifax and TransUnion (formerly Callcredit) are required to provide you with a free credit score check as often as once a month. Checking your score won’t affect your credit rating or credit score.
A credit report can also reveal your biggest problem areas: missed payments, unpaid debt, maybe your account is linked with an ex-financial partner who is dragging down your score. Use this as a guide for your priority steps.
Step 2: Register to vote with the electoral register.
If you aren’t already on the electoral register, do it now. The reason is that banks use the registry to verify who you are, including your name and other basic information. If you are not already registered, your score will suffer and you will almost definitely be rejected for any credit application.
If you’re living at home even temporarily, register there. You can get on the electoral register by registering to vote online.
Step 3: Repay your debt.
A credit score is essentially an indication of your trustworthiness with a loan. If you have outstanding unpaid debts, this is a clear signal you are not very trustworthy. So clear those debts. Repayment will boost your score.
If you link all of your accounts to Money Dashboard’s free app, you will be able to see all of your accounts with income and expenses in one place. The app makes it easy to budget so you can increase your debt repayments.
Step 4: Pay the bills under your name.
To build your credit without a credit card you need to prove you make regular payments.
You may be paying your share of the bills every month, but if a flatmate is directly paying the bills your contribution will not be reflected in a credit check.
The more bills you regularly pay in full from your bank account, the better. Credit agencies will see this when they run their report. So ask to transfer utility and gas bills under your name, or add your name if possible.
Step 5: Become an authorised user of someone else’s credit card
Building your credit without a credit card can be done with someone else’s card. If you have a friend or family member that has good credit history, ask if you can be added as an authorised user on one of their credit cards.
This is in name only—don’t use their card, at least not without permission. This association will show up in a credit check and fall in your favour.
Step 6: Consider a credit-building tool
At the end of the day, the above steps help, but credit agencies want to see demonstrated proof of how you actively handle credit and debt. If you really aren’t comfortable getting a credit card, consider other credit-building options.
For example, Loqbox.com is designed to help you repair credit by taking out a loan, which you pay for a year and you get all your money back at the end of the year. The regular loan repayments help repair credit ratings. Creditbuilder from Cashplus offers a similar loan service with 12 payments over a 12-month contract.
Finally, don’t be afraid to seek professional help to repair credit history. Unbiased free help services are available.