If you’re in debt, your credit rating is extremely important because it represents a significant part of your ability to get out of debt. The better your credit rating, the easier you’ll find it to refinance your debt, cutting your monthly repayments and leaving you more money to pay off your debts in a shorter period of time.
However, there are so many credit myths doing the rounds that it’s difficult to know what might affect your credit rating. In fact, the gap between what people think and what actually affects credit ratings has grown to an unprecedented level.
For example, more than 50% of people don’t understand what a credit rating is, how it affects their ability to borrow, and more importantly, how it affects their ability to get out of debt. So here’s the biggest credit myths and the real truth behind them.
Credit Myth 1: If You’re On A Credit Blacklist Your Credit Rating Will Be Poor
This is one of the most popular credit mistakes. It’s also the myth that’s furthest from the truth. So let’s get this straightened out right from the beginning. There is no credit blacklist. It just doesn’t exist.
Yet that doesn’t stop millions of people from believing in it. More than 40% of people who are refused credit blame their situation on some mythical list that bans all lenders from granting them a loan.
If you are refused credit, the only reason is that your credit rating displays a financial history that makes lenders nervous about your likelihood of repaying their money.
Lenders like continuity. They like lending to people who have a history of making regular loan repayments on time because they can be more confident that they will get their money back. That’s why credit reports carry historic details of the loans that you’ve applied for, been granted, paid off, any defaults, previous addresses etc.
The practice of red lining, where lenders discriminate against individuals or whole communities on the grounds of gender, religion, ethnic origin, race or sexuality, is illegal in many parts of the world, and due to competition among lenders is less of a problem than in the past.
So if you want to increase your chances of being granted a loan at better rates, you don’t have to escape from a blacklist, just provide some stability to your credit history. Try to stay at the same address for a number of years, show lenders that you have the ability to repay a loan to completion, and make sure that you’re registered to vote.
Your credit report will state whether you’re on the electoral register and lenders place great emphasis on this fact as it helps them to double check who you are and where you live.
Credit Myth 2: Your Credit Rating Is Set By The Credit Reference Agencies
This is also another credit myth that’s complete and utter rubbish. But more than 50% of people believe that credit reference agencies set credit ratings.
No, no, no, no, no and just to make certain, no!
Credit reference agencies just collect information about your financial history and present the facts in the form of a credit report. This includes information about your existing sources of credit (personal loans, credit cards, mortgages), your repayment history and whether you have any payment defaults, court judgements or bankruptcy orders against your name.
Then, when you apply for a loan, your chosen lender can request this information from one of the credit reference agencies and decide whether you meet their lending criteria. In most cases the lender will use your information and their own mathematical formula to calculate a credit score. If your circumstances generate a certain number of points you get the loan. If your score is too low, they will reject your application.
Credit reference agencies only report facts from your financial history. And if you dispute any of these facts, there are various procedures to resolve the situation.
Credit Myth 3: Previous Occupants Of Your Address Can Affect Your Credit Rating
More than 70% of people believe this extremely convincing myth. And it’s easy to see why. The general belief runs like this – You ask for a loan, the lender checks your credit report, your current address causes alarm bells to ring because it’s the same address that already appears on one of the mythical credit blacklists. The lender becomes panic stricken and their computer spits out a loan rejection letter. End of story.
From a lender’s point of view, it doesn’t matter who used to live at your address. Credit is a personal matter. All that lenders are concerned with is your ability to repay the money that you’ve applied to borrow. So they’ll look at your individual circumstances. For example, if you’ve changed address in recent years, they’ll want to know your old address so that they can check that you were living where you said you were, and not to find out whether the previous or subsequent owner is a bankrupt.