Why Isn't My UK Credit Score Going Up?

Why Isn't My UK Credit Score Going Up?

If you’ve been trying to build or improve your credit score in recent months, it might be frustrating to discover that your UK credit score isn’t going up as quickly or as much as you’d hoped.

According to Experian, the average UK credit score is 797. But if you’ve just moved to the UK, your credit score might be lower, as you haven’t had enough time to build up a reliable credit history. And if your credit score is lower than average, there are things you can do to make sure your credit score increases over time.

In this article, you’ll learn 8 reasons why your credit score might not be going up.

Why is my credit score not going up after paying off debt?

If you’ve just cleared a chunk of debt, you might expect to see your credit score go up. But it’s not always that simple.

Paying off debt could negatively affect your credit score due to:

  • Your credit mix — A diverse credit file can be a good thing for your credit score. Paying off debt might mean you’re not using as many different types of credit.
  • Account closure — If you’ve paid off debt and closed the relevant account, this can reduce your credit score.
  • Credit utilisation ratio — Paying off a debt means you’re using less credit, which can affect your credit utilisation ratio.

That’s not to say paying off debt is a bad thing, especially if it’s a high-interest payday loan or credit card. Your credit score is just one of the factors potential lenders will look at when they’re deciding to give you credit.

Plus, in many cases, paying off debt will actually boost your credit score. So don’t avoid paying off debt just because you’re worried your credit score won’t go up.

8 reasons your credit score isn’t going up

In addition to paying off debt, there are lots of other reasons your credit score might not be rising as quickly as you’d like. Here are 8 of the most common reasons.

1. Credit score changes happen over time

It takes some time for your credit score to reflect changes in your financial situation. So don’t expect your credit score to go up a few days after you’ve paid off debt or registered on the electoral roll.

It can take up to 6 weeks for new information to show on your credit file. Credit reference agencies rely on lenders and banks for information. So if they’re slow to update the agency, there will be a delay in updating your credit file.

2. Your debt is growing

If you have high-interest debts, the amount of money you owe may be growing, even if you’re making your minimum payments.

Paying off smaller debts or making less impactful changes might not have enough of an effect to move your credit score.

3. You haven’t changed your credit habits

If you have a low credit score, you need to adjust your borrowing and spending habits to improve it. Continually spending over your credit limit or paying your bills late will mean your credit score stays the same (it might even go down).

However, if you’ve only arrived in the UK recently, your credit score may be low because you don’t have a long enough credit history, even if your credit habits are good.

In this case, wait it out and see if your credit score starts to build up over the next few months.

4. Your credit history is limited

Whether you’ve lived in the UK your whole life or only just arrived, you can have a short or even non-existent credit history. It all depends on which types of credit you’ve used and when.

People who are more likely to have a limited credit history include:

  • Young people who haven’t opened a credit account yet
  • Newcomers to the UK
  • Older people who no longer need to use credit

If you fall into any of these categories, consider taking out a low interest credit card or credit builder card to generate credit history more quickly. You can also sign up for Experian Boost, which gathers information from yousand other accounts like Netflix to prove how well you manage your money.

5. You’ve been rejected for multiple lines of credit

If you’ve applied for lots of credit and been turned down, this can have an impact on your credit score. So it’s a good idea to avoid applying for more credit until you start to see an improvement in your credit score.

6. You’re a victim of fraud

Fraudulent transactions on your credit accounts may not be your fault, but they can have an impact on your credit score. This can happen if:

  • Someone applies for credit in your name and gets rejected
  • Someone successfully applies for credit in your name and doesn’t pay off the debts
  • Someone takes out a mobile phone contract in your name

Check your credit report to see if there are any searches from companies you haven’t applied for credit with. You can dispute any incorrect information with the credit reference agency and your bank or lender.

7. You’re using too much of your credit limit

You can technically use all your available credit. But in terms of your credit score, this isn’t a good idea. Maxing out your credit card can leave a negative impression on your credit score.

As a rule, try to use a maximum of 30% of your available credit at any one time.

8. You have a high score already

If your credit score is higher than average, you probably already have some pretty healthy money habits. This can make it more difficult to reach the top end of the scale. So don’t worry about getting the highest possible credit score.

In fact, your credit score just gives you an overall indication of your creditworthiness. Lenders will take a much broader view of your credit report, so they can see how reliable you are as a borrower.

If your credit score is higher than average, most lenders will see you as a positive prospect.

How long does it take for credit scores to go up in the UK?

Credit scores aren’t a real-time reflection of your current financial situation. While they go up and down regularly, there’s no specific timeframe for how long it takes for credit scores to change.

It can take up to 6 weeks for a single action to be reflected in your credit score. So it’s important that all your transactions and borrowing habits combine to give you a healthy credit score boost.

Find out how to fix your credit score

Not sure what you need to do to get your credit report back on track? See our guide on how to fix your credit score to get started.

If you’re not sure why a credit score is important in the UK, read our credit score FAQs to learn more.

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