Is your credit score in the zero zone? This could be why
If credit scores were emojis, getting a zero would be a bit like this guy.
Getting a zero for your credit score can be a bit of a shock. But don’t worry, you can turn your emoji frown upside down with a few fixes.
But first, a bit about why you got a zero score.
For 85% of people with zero scores, they’ll have a default or a bankruptcy on their file. This is the major problem: not paying your bills. Lenders want to know if you’re going to pay your bills on time – that’s why they check your credit score. And your credit history gives them an idea of your financial behaviour, so it’s important to show that you’re a good risk for them.
The remaining 15% of people with zero scores are more likely to be late making your payments, but those payments haven’t actually been late enough to get recorded as a ‘default’. So if you’re getting a zero score but not seeing any defaults on your file, that could be why.
It’s a good idea to get your full credit report so you can check everything on there and figure out exactly why you’re getting the zero score. You can do this through Dun & Bradstreet. It’s free and you can do it online (click here).
Once you’ve got that info (it takes at least a few days to get it), you can start making changes to fix stuff up. A few tips include:
- If you were overdue with your bills last month, get them up to date ASAP.
- Keep all your bills and accounts up to date for at least three months.
- Don’t pay bills late more than once in a year.
- If you’ve got any unpaid bills showing up as a default, get them paid up.
- Your score will improve slightly if your default occurred more than two years ago, but having a default or bankruptcy will be a significant black mark for as long as it is on your file (which is around five years).
- If you think you’re seeing something that’s wrong, dispute the record with the lender (i.e. with the company that listed the record). Click here to contact Dun & Bradstreet.
Other factors can also drag your score down to the unhappy zone, such as making a lot of recent applications for credit (it doesn’t hurt your credit score to check it through Credit Simple, but it does hurt it if you’re, say, applying for credit cards at a bunch of banks).
If you’re constantly overdue with your payments, that also looks bad.
If you’ve defaulted on a credit agreement (such as getting a car loan and not paying it back) you’ll end up at the zero line.
So if you’re in the zero zone, get your full info and start fixing things up. A little bit will go a long way – in either direction!
Hazel is Credit Simple's Head of Communications & Content. When she's at work, she likes to write, edit and film stuff. In her spare time she enjoys skiing, mountaineering, multi-day tramping, diving and playing tiddlywinks. She has a no-tolerance policy when it comes to spiders in the shower.All stories by: Hazel Phillips