How to fix bad credit history

A bad credit history can be a real worry and it can feel like you’re struggling on your own. But having bad credit is more common than you might think; many people start making the journey to better credit every year.


At Aqua, we know that the journey to better credit can seem tough. In this guide you’ll find out how to improve bad credit and how quickly you can do it.


 

How can I improve a bad credit history?


There are lots of simple ways to improve your credit history and the best strategy is to try to tick off as many as possible to ensure that you have a range of factors working in your favour.

Check your credit report


You have to know where you started to know how far you’ve come. So first things first, get a copy of your credit report so you can see for yourself how your finances check out. You’ll be able to spot any issues or even errors on your credit report and start working out where you can improve. 

You can look at your credit report for FREE using CreditView, the credit report tool, who we’ve partnered with to help you keep your credit score on track. 

Address and contact details


Secondly, check that all your contact details are correct. Lenders may check your address with the Postcode Address File, which the Royal Mail uses for delivery of post, or with the electoral register, which is updated by local councils for voting purposes. If you live in a flat or anywhere with a complicated street address, it's worth checking how it's listed by both of these sources to avoid any confusion. 

And check all your addresses are up to date, as a mixture of old and new details may make lenders uncertain. This can cause delays to your application, or even lead to it being rejected.

Contrary to popular belief, an address cannot be listed as having a bad credit history. What’s more, as long as you don’t have any joint accounts or other financial associations with them, the people you live with don't affect your chances of being approved for credit, even if they have bad credit history. 

 

Financial history


Next, check that all your finances are in order. You'll be able to see any late payments or county court judgements (CCJs) for unpaid bills for the last six years. If you have questions about any of the information on your credit report, contact the credit reference agency (e.g. Experian), which will be able to help clear things up.

You can also add a ‘notice of correction’ to any information on your report. This is a written statement of up to 200 words and can be used, for example, to explain why you were late making a payment. This can mean that your applications take a little longer to process, but it greatly increases your chances of being accepted.

 

Pay off any existing debt

 
Lenders will take existing debts into account when assessing your application, so it’s always a good idea to pay off any current debts before applying for more credit. This will increase the amount of credit you can apply for and make it more likely that you get it.

Cancel unused credit cards


Got an old credit card or bank account that you no longer use? Cancel it – lenders look at how much credit you have available to you, as well as how much you’ve actually borrowed. If you’re not using it, lose it.

Register for the electoral register


This is one of the quickest ways to improve your position in lenders' eyes. It's the easiest way for them to determine that you are who you say you are and can quickly add several points to your score.

Be consistent


Lenders like to see stability, so they can be put off by turbulent periods in people's lives. The key is to show that you're a responsible borrower with a steady life setup. Some ways you can show this are by:
  • Living at the same address for a long time 
  • Staying with the same bank for a number of years
  • Paying your loans and other credit regularly and on time (or early if you can)
  • Keeping within your borrowing limits

Financial associations

 
If you share any joint accounts, such as with a partner, parent or flatmate, make sure that their finances are all in order. These people are known as your ‘financial associations’ so lenders will look at both of your credit reports. 

If the other person has a bad credit score, this could affect your chances of being approved. If you’re not sure, it’s best to keep your accounts separate. Remember, you can still live together because merely sharing an address doesn’t amount to a financial association. 

Stagger applications

 
Lenders can be wary of multiple finance applications, so if you apply for a card or loan, don’t apply for another at the same time or soon afterwards. 
 

If you’re shopping around for quotes, ask for each of them to be marked as a ‘quotation search’ rather than ‘application search’ which leaves a hard search record on your credit report.

How can an Aqua card help?



We understand that there are many reasons why your credit score might not be where you want it to be and we want to help. To us, you’re much more than your credit score so if you apply for an Aqua card, we’ll do everything we can to say “yes” and help you on your journey to better credit.


A credit card is a great way to help get your finances back on track and improve your credit score by making your payments on time and sticking to your credit limit. Which Aqua card is best for you?




Aqua Classic

We can help you start your journey to building a better credit score when you manage your account well. Our most popular credit card, the Aqua Classic could help improve your credit history. We continuously monitor your account and could even offer to increase your credit limit after four months of good credit behaviour.

Learn more about Aqua Classic

35.9% APR

Representative (variable)

 

  • Starting credit limit: £250-£1,200
  • No annual fees



Aqua Reward

0.5% Cashback (up to £100 p.a.) on whatever you buy if you stay within your credit limit and pay on time. Just like our other cards, the Aqua Reward helps you to rebuild your credit score but also rewards you with up to 0.5% cashback (up to £100 per year) on what you buy, providing that you stay within your credit limit, and make monthly repayments on time.

Learn more about Aqua Reward

34.9% APR

Representative (variable)

 

  • Starting credit limit: £250-£1,200
  • No foreign exchange fees for using your card abroad



Aqua Advance

Reduce your rate over three years if you stay within your credit limit and pay on time. Want a longer-term solution? Aqua Advance reduces your interest rate over time. Keep making your payments on time and stay within your credit limits, we'll drop your interest rate every year for three years. All while you build a better credit score!

Learn more about Aqua Advance

34.9% APR

Representative (variable)

 

  • Starting credit limit: £250-£1,200
  • No foreign exchange fees for using your card abroad

Don't forget


Failure to make payments on time or to stay within your credit limit means that you will pay additional charges and may make obtaining credit in the future more expensive and difficult.