Can I pay to boost my credit rating?

Dear James,

I heard you can pay to boost your credit score. Is this true and if so how much?

Ashleigh, Dewsbury

Dear Ashleigh,

Well there’s no credit rating magic wand, but if you trawl the internet you’ll probably find no shortage of so-called ‘credit repair’ firms claiming there is and willing to take your hard-earned cash. Credit reports are entirely factual. Adverse information such as a court judgment or account default can’t be erased ahead of time just because it’s embarrassing or inconvenient. But there are plenty of things you can do yourself to build a better credit rating, often at little or no cost. The timescales for seeing a significant improvement depend on what is recorded of course. The best place to start is by getting a copy of your credit report and, with the help of advice and tools on this website, working out the things you can do to improve the story your report tells to prospective lenders. Some improvements might be obvious, such as paying off an old bad debt. But others might require guidance, such as how you are using your revolving credit – flexible credit products such as cards and mail order accounts. A handy way to measure you progress is by using the Experian Credit Score, which is free to new customers for the first month. This helps you understand how a lender might rate your personal credit history right now and provides tips on what you can do and changes you can make to build a better credit rating in the future. Good luck. (December 2013)

James
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