Getting your credit score back on track can be daunting when you first start out. Keep in mind that as long as you meet your bill and repayment requirements, your credit score will naturally improve over time. But we’ll give some helpful tools and tips to learn how to improve your credit score in NZ.
- Check your credit report for any mistakes
- Make repayments on time
- Consider any new finance carefully
- Try alternative financial assistance resources
- Focus on paying off current loans
- Avoid temptation
- Cut out unnecessary subscriptions and Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) services
- Start keeping a budget spreadsheet
- Increase your credit limit
- Talk to a financial advisor
- Consider a debt consolidation loan
Everyone’s personal and financial situation is unique and requires a different approach to learning how to fix your NZ credit score. But there are some general rules of thumb that can help improve your credit score in the short and long term.
Make sure to seek professional advice from a licensed financial expert to get a tailored approach to improving your credit score.
Check your credit report for any mistakes
Credit reporting agencies rely on the organisations you are with to provide up-to-date and accurate information. While things tend to run fairly smoothly, there are instances where errors can be made. You can get your credit report for free in New Zealand. Keeping an eye on it will help you identify any mistakes right away and track how well your score is improving.
Unlike when a lender accesses your credit file, checking your own report will not have any negative impact on your score, regardless of how often you check it.
Make repayments on time
Whether it’s a credit card or personal finance, make sure you are paying off what you need to for every instalment. Any defaults will have a large negative impact on your credit score and creditworthiness. Defaults remain on your credit file for up to 5 years after paying them off.
Work out a new financial agreement with your lender
If your circumstances change and you can no longer afford to service your loan with the original terms then contact your lender as soon as possible. It is better to do this before you start missing repayments to avoid any unnecessary impacts on your credit report.
Consider any new finance carefully
Only apply if you are reasonably confident that you will be approved. When a lender accesses your credit report it causes a temporary dip in your credit score, so you don’t want to apply for too many loans in a short period of time. Applying for too many in a short span of time can also suggest to lenders that you are in financial hardship, making it more difficult to be approved.
Ask risk-based lenders to do a quotation enquiry
If you are applying for a loan with risk-based pricing, ask the lender to do a quotation enquiry rather than a complete credit check. Risk-based finance means that the conditions of the loan, like the interest rate, are influenced by your financial situation.
Unlike credit checks, quotation enquiries are not counted in your credit score. So you can shop around at different lenders to see who will give you the best price before you apply.
Try alternative financial assistance resources
If you desperately need funds for groceries, car repair, or anything else, there are institutions in New Zealand that offer micro, interest-free loans for those who need them. Some resources to check out include:
Focus on paying off current loans
Before you take out any new finance make sure you are able to manage your current finance. It can be tempting to take out another loan to cover extra expenses, but if you’re trying to improve your credit score it’s essential that you are able to responsibly manage your debt.
If overspending is making it hard for you to meet repayment requirements, consider limiting temptation, for example by closing your credit card account or reducing the limit on it. The age of your credit accounts influences your credit score, so try to target newer accounts and leave the older one/s open, where it makes sense to do so.
Cut out unnecessary subscriptions and Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) services
It’s easy to lose track of how much is coming out of your bank account every month from subscription services. It can also be easy to lose track of how much you spend with BNPL, or end up buying things you don’t actually want or need. With BNPL and credit card arrears on the rise for Kiwis, it’s important to be careful when signing on to any new services.
Start keeping a budget spreadsheet
Tracking your spending will help you identify areas you can cut costs on, or work out a better finance solution for. For example, if all your bills fall at the same time, you’ll know when to start saving to make sure you have enough money to pay them off on time. Or if you have a big expense coming up, like a holiday, you can work out how much you need to put away every week to pay for it without using a loan.
Budgeting spreadsheets can help to save money, which you can then regularly deposit into your bank account. Although this will not help improve your credit score, it does help to prove your creditworthiness to lenders and could help with approvals and better interest rates.
Increase your credit limit
Increasing your credit limit can help improve your credit score. It’s good to have a high credit limit, but low utilisation rate. So if you have trouble controlling your spending, this might not be a good method for you.
Talk to a financial advisor
Everyone’s situation is unique, and if you are serious learning how to improve your credit score as quickly as possible, then seeking tailored advice is a good move. They will be able to look at your personal and financial situation and provide advice on what changes to make and how long it might take to see things improve.
Consider a debt consolidation loan
Depending on your circumstances, consolidating multiple debts into one single payment may help you keep on track with repayments. Debt consolidation loans could also reduce the amount of interest you are paying. But this is not guaranteed, and it is possible to end up paying more interest on your loan. So make sure you understand the rates and fees associated with the loan before you apply.
Improving your credit score in NZ FAQs
How long does bad credit last in NZ?
Information can stay on your credit report for up to 5 years. So as long as you make repayments and pay bills on time, your credit score will improve.
How do you improve credit score after a hard inquiry?
You do not need to do anything to improve your credit score after a hard inquiry. The negative impact is only temporary and will bounce back by itself in time.
How do you improve your credit score if you have no debt?
Starting out with no credit score is something we all face, thankfully there are many ways to build your credit up.
Here are some things you can do to start building credit:
- Pay for bills in your name
- Get a cosigner loan
- Take out a credit card
- Become a credit card authorised user
- Put your name on the rental lease
- Use a postpaid mobile plan