So you’ve finished school or uni and got your first job with a regular pay cheque.
It can be tempting to splurge all your new income and make use of all the credit now available.
But David Scognamiglio, the boss of new credit score website Credit Simple, says avoiding some basic credit mistakes now could be crucial to smoothing the way for borrowing in the future.
Here’s the five biggest mistakes to avoid:
Applying for a wallet-full of credit cards to see which one gives the best deal
Shopping around for credit is a good thing but applying for lots of different cards isn’t.
Anyone who provides credit can see your history and lots of applications isn’t a good look as it may make you seem desperate for credit, which may not be the case.
It will also drag your credit score down making it harder to get better deals in the future.
Scognamiglio’s advice: “Look around then apply when you find the one you want.”
Failing to take your name off the bill
Having your name on a bill whether you are in a flat or a couple means you are still responsible for it even if the flat or your relationship breaks up.
If you’re in a flatting situation and money is being put aside to pay the bills – make sure it is being used to pay those bills.
And when you move out don’t forget to take your name off the account.
It might seem easiest to avoid putting your name on the account to start with, but it could make it harder to borrow in the future for a car or house.
“If you don’t have a credit history it will work against you.”
Scognamiglio says the onus of proving you will be a good borrower is then on you.
“Banks call it a new to borrow and straight away you are looked at as someone who is much more risky.”
Likewise if you have a young credit file – such as only having a credit card for three months – you will also been seen as more risky.
Paying your bills late
Scognamiglio says credit used to be all about getting a default but now it’s all about “paying your bills on time.”
If you are consistently paying your power, phone, gas or broadband bills late then its going to hit your credit score.
He cites the example of one guy who under the negative scoring system had a great rating of over 700 out of 1000.
But under the positive criteria he ended up with zero because he was always paying his bills late.
“Not paying your telco bill until you get your final warning letter is not a good strategy any more.”
He suggests setting up an automatic payment so there are no late payment issues.
Failing to pay your student loan
Currently student loan defaults don’t affect your credit file, but it’s likely in coming years that the government will move to include these in credit reporting in a bid to get Kiwis paying back the $933 million in overdue student loan payments.
Don’t let that year in London when you ignored your student loan be the thing that stops you buying a house when you get home.
Don’t ignore your student loan, especially if you move overseas.
It’s a simple one, but with more than 80,000 overseas student loan defaulters it’s a mistake people continue to make.
Failing to check your credit file
Check your credit file as there may be incorrect information on it which is pulling down your credit score.
“We have had hundreds of people already dispute things on their credit report.”
Scognamiglio says you can get the report for free and if you can prove you did make a payment or that a default is incorrect it could help your case for future borrowing.
Source: The New Zealand Herald