5 Ways to Improve Your Credit Score
Don’t limit your future by ignoring your credit score, here are tips you should follow to help you improve your credit score.
What is a credit score?
A credit score is usually derived from a person’s credit report. The credit report will show your credit payment ability. For example, if you pay your credit card or loans on time or if you have been missing payments, along with all of your other financial commitments. It is like a history of your finances. You can get your credit score through CTOS (Credit Tip Off Service) to see how good, or bad your credit score is.
CTOS is a private company which provides credit reporting and is also widely used by financial institutions to determine an applicant’s creditworthiness. CTOS is known to be widely used in Malaysia by banks and financial institutions.
CTOS obtains the credit related information from various public sources such as:
- National Registration Department
- Malaysia Insolvency Department
- Companies Commission Malaysia (CCM)
- Publications of legal proceedings and notices in newspapers and government gazettes.
The types of credit-related information that will be included in the credit report from CTOS will include bankruptcy, legal action and case statuses.
You can also get your credit report from CTOS through MyCTOS. You just have to register to obtain your CTOS User ID. Once your ID has been activated you will access your credit report from MyCTOS anytime over the internet, and even through the CTOS app.
Does it matter if I have a bad credit score?
Yes, it matters if it is bad because your credit score is important and affects your applications. It will be used by banks and financial institutions to determine whether or not to approve your application. Aside from that, the credit score will also be used to determine how much interest to charge you on the financial products you apply for. Sometimes, it is even used to decide whether to give you a job. So as you can see, it is important to make sure that you keep your credit rating at a healthy level.
What should I do if I have a poor credit rating?
If you have a bad credit score, don’t panic. They key is to take action now, this is to ensure that you can improve your credit score quickly. After you have successfully improved your credit score, you should then make sure you maintain your good credit score.
How do I improve my credit score?
Some may think that their credit score is complicated and hard to understand. But don’t worry, we have compiled a list of ways you can follow to improve your credit score. If you follow these steps and adjust your spending habits, you can be well on your way to an excellent credit score.
- Ensure your personal information is correct and updated
If you move, don’t forget to inform companies of your new address. You should also check to make sure credit reporting agencies have your correct and updated details. Believe it or not, but something as simple as having multiple addresses listed on your file could lower your rating and prevent you from taking out that loan.
- Get out of debt
Avoid defaulting on your debts, even if you are struggling to pay your minimum. What you should do is to contact your lender and organise to amend your repayment schedule. If you need tips on how to manage your money and get out of debt, why not read our blog post here, which includes all the best steps to take to get on top of your debt. You can also get free financial help and advice from AKPK.
- Don’t make companies chase you
Do you always forget to pay your bills on time? Guess what, you not only risk having to pay penalties and late fees, but you are also damaging your credit score. You need to show companies that you are a disciplined customer. Even constant late payment for phone bills and internet bills will be recorded into your credit score and lower your score. This will then show banks and financial institutions that you don’t have your financials under control. So write it in your diary, set an alarm, and a reminder. Then make sure you pay on time!
- Check your financial relationships
It may not seem fair, but did you know that it’s not only your financial behaviour that can affect your credit score. Your financial relationships with others can improve your rating, but it can also have a toxic effect. For example, be careful when you share bills or have supplementary credit cards. A late repayment on your supplementary cards also affects your credit score. If possible, keep your finances separate because this will allow you better control over your own credit score.
- Build up your credit history
Some people have no credit score at all, and this can actually be just as bad as having a bad credit score. You may be managing your money well, and have never had the need to borrow money, but a lack of credit history can actually be viewed negatively by credit rating agencies. Why not get yourself a credit card, and enjoy the many advantages and rewards it offers? Just make sure you’re careful with which credit card you choose. Read the small print, and decide which credit card suits your lifestyle and spending pattern.
You can use the free credit card comparison tool to help you to do this in minutes, and we will even highlight the reward schemes you could be benefiting from. But always ensure that you pay off your outstanding balance at the end of the month, otherwise you will end up with a poor credit score, and that’s exactly what we’re trying to avoid.