Looking for ways to start building a Credit Score if you have never had one?
It’s one of the biggest questions that some people face and one of the easiest to fix.
Whether you have just turned 18, or you are new to using credit, there are things you can do to start buidling your Credit Score today.
Many of these actions will be very similar to those you can take if you are looking to improve your credit score, however, some are more specific.
If you have never had a Credit Score, then check out the actions points below to start building one, NOW.
Why is a Credit Score important?
It can be a common and indeed a fair question.
Why do you need a Credit Score?
Right now, you might not. That may sound like a bit of a cop out but it’s true.
If you are in a position where your income pays for all of your expenses then congratulations, good for you.
The issue comes when you look at taking any kind of credit.
Today, these can come in many forms.
Think about it, any of the larger purchases that you may look to make in the future, a car, a house, even a mobile phone, they all come with credit checks and finance deals.
Even some jobs will perform credit checks on you and although not having a credit score may seem better than a bad one, they are, in fact, one and the same.
If you have never had credit then your credit score is going to be minimal.
Yes, you will not have defaulted payments or collections on your account, however, you have never shown that you are good with money and responsible enough to lend to.
At this point you may not be too worried, but think of the future.
As we have already mentioned, if you ever look at any type of finance or contract, you will need a credit score.
The main issue is, if you do not have one, then if you do ever look to apply for a mortgage, car finance or even a phone contract, you (if you an even get one) will only be offered the worst rates.
Below, we are going to look at some of the easiest ways to build a credit score, from scratch.
Register on the Electoral Role
The first and quite possibly the easiest thing you can do to start building a Credit Score is to get registered on the electoral role.
One factor which lenders look at and Credit Reference Agencies use is your address history.
They are looking for a nice stable address.
If you can show a regular address then is shows stability in your life, when it comes to lending you money, this is a simple factor that appeals to lenders.
Being registered for the Electoral Role also helps with verifying your identity.
Anything that can help prove that you are who you say you are, and that you have a regular, stable address will always help improve your score as you are viewed as a lower RISK to lenders.
If you have not already done so, you can register for the Electoral Role (in the UK) at the link below.
No matter where you are living, be it in your own home or with your parents, it is important to get your name on some of the utility bills.
In a similar way to registering for the Electoral Role, being named on utility bills and showing that they are getting paid on time, is a great way to improve your Credit Score.
It all boils down to trust and getting a track record of payments helps build that with the lenders.
If you have a history of paying your utility bills on time, it shows again that you are a trustworthy customer and that you can plan and manage your finances.
Get a current account
Getting a current account in order to improve or build a credit score might seem odd, however, it works for a few reasons.
Firstly, it enables you to set up direct debits or payments, something that most if not all credit agencies will require before giving you any sort of credit.
Secondly, once you set it so that your wages are deposited into this account, it shows a steady income.
This does not need to be a full time income, although the amount you earn will affect the credit you are eligible for.
Ultimately, a steady cash flow into this account will just help show an income, ideally a steady one.
This, along with many other factors will make you more appealing to lenders.
Mobile Phone contracts
One of the first types of Credit many people will take out is a mobile phone contract.
With the majority of providers, these are available for anyone over the age of 18, as long as you hold a current account.
With so many different types of contract to choose from, it may be hard to decide on which one to go for, however, if you are looking to improve your Credit Score then make sure you get a “contract”.
The Pay as you go deals are not contracts. You are purchasing the sim card and phone, topping it up with credit and using it.
Nothing wrong with that, however, as there is no contract in place and no associated monthly bill, it will not affect your credit score.
Instead, look at the Sim only deals or the contract phones.
Personally, I advise you go for a SIM only deal.
You will have a monthly contract which is alot cheaper as you are not paying for the phone. With this, it makes it much easier for you to keep up payments and start building that credit history that you need.
A good repayment history is a large part of your credit score, so make sure you are paying these bills on time.
Best way to approach this in my opinion, just set up a direct payment evey month.
Credit Builder cards
Credit builder cards are essentially Credit cards for people with bad credit scores.
As we have already discussed, if you have never had a credit score then i’m afraid, you fall into this bracket too.
Credit builder cards will generally always comes with a higher APR as they are aimed at those deemed more “risky”.
This can put alot of people off, however, if you know what you are doing and you can use them responsibly, then do not worry about it.
A Credit Builder card or a Credit card for bad credit is purely a stepping stone.
The biggest thing to remember with these cards is to pay the balance every month, in full and on time.
As with other things we have already talked about, it is all about building a credit history.
If you can use the card but pay it in full, every month then firstly, you will NEVER pay any interest so the APR doesn’t matter.
Secondly, if you use it wisely as we have mentioned, then you will upgrade your card as soon as possible. Most people, myself included, change to a balance transfer card or a rewards card as soon as they are eligible.
The main thing to remember, as we have talked about, is that this is a stepping stone.
Don’t worry about the interest rate just make sure you use it sensibly and you will see your score rise.
Become an authorised user
Understandably, many of you may not fancy taking out a credit card with a high APR.
If this is you, then have a good think.
Have you any friends or family who have a good credit score who may be willing to add you as an authorised user to their card?
If your parents (for instance) have a good credit score, make their payments on time and don’t have any excessive debt, then they may be an option.
Much like previous methods, getting added to someone elses account as an authorised user will help build up your credit history.
Now many may be slightly concerned with this option, and I understand, however, just remember that if you get added to the account you do not need a card.
You don’t actually need to use the account to benefit from it, essentially, you are just using the other persons reliability to boost your score.
Think about getting added to your parents car insurance as a named driver, same thing.
You are using their experience and track record to help get a little boost, just until you can take out your own lines of credit.
Another way to start building a credit score is to take out finance deals.
This is something that you may struggle with in the first instance as your credit score and repayment history are something that they will take into account.
Don’t let that put you off though.
Start saving and get a deposit together, how much will depend on what you are trying to purchase.
Finance comes in many forms as you are likely to already know. Think about anything you can buy from a new car, to furniture, TV’s etc, everything these days has finance options attached to it.
For your first one, you are likely to get stung with a higher APR, much like the Credit builder card so make it a smaller purchase.
Look at the minimum finance available (many places will offer finance for purchases over £500 for example).
Use this as a benchmark and try to save at least 20% of the total price as a deposit, this will increase your chances of getting approved.
Once you have your finance deal, make sure you set up the payments by direct debit so it is paid automatically every month.
Goes without saying I hope, but make sure you have enough money in your account to cover the cost when it comes time to pay the bill.
Although this option is very much the same as finance deals, I wanted to keep it seperate.
I’m sure you’ve all seen the adverts for Very, Argos, Wayfair or Littlewoods on the TV.
These catalogues essentially offer finance deals on everything they sell, providing you meet the minimum spend.
Now these are just examples, there are thousands of businesses doing this and being approved for a line of credit with a store is sometimes a little easier than getting a larger finance package.
Look at your local stores, where do you like shopping?
Do they offer a loyalty card or finance offers? I have no doubt you will find one.
Take this as an alternative, the bonus being that with most, in order to get a buy now pay later deal or something equivilent, the minimum spend is generally alot less, around the £50-£100 mark.
Monitor your Credit Score/Report
The last thing you need to do in order to start building your Credit Score from scratch is to monitor it.
Might sound stupid, keeping an eye on your score is not going to help improve it, is it?
Well, no, not as such.
But keeping track of your credit report and score is important for many different reasons.
I have other articles in which we talk about why you should check it, how you can do it for free and where to look.
Rather than going into huge depth on it here, I will leave the links below.
If you have time I strongly advice that you read these articles aswell. They’re not very long so won’t tkae you too much time.
There are a number of other articles within the Credit Score category, however, I suggest you work though these points first before you move on.
So to summarise, if you are looking to build your Credit Score from scratch, there are a number of things you can do.
Be careful when looking at guides on how to improve your credit score, many of the points are not relevant to you and although it seems wrong, you need to get some credit first.
Having a good history of credit and a sparkling repayment history only comes through taking out credit and paying it back in full and on time.
That, if anything, is the key.
NEVER miss a payment and NEVER be late, these things will only damage your score.
Once you have built a solid foundation and have a good track record then yes, look at the more advanced things you can do.
For now, get something, anything.
Make sure it’s affordable, do not over commit, and keep an eye on it.
I wish you the best, you will get there just remember that building a good credit score is not something that happens overnight, so be patient.