I’ve been obsessed with my credit rating for a number of years, but in the past 12 months,
have refused to even peek at it.
When I left university, I decided to ignore that fact I had a £3,000 overdraft. I thought I’d just
go into the bank when I did have money, apologise and we’d laugh about it.
Well, when I did go in, the bank had no idea who I was. I’d been kicked out and my debt sold
on to a debt collection company. So yeah, my credit rating was a problem.
But you know, I had no job or money back then anyway so wasn’t too worried, but was wise
enough to know that if I wanted to borrow money in the future (including a mortgage), I was
going to have to begin to fix the situation.
My obsession started. I checked out MoneySavingExpert’s guide on improving my credit
rating (ended up working there!) and slowly – like, over six years – built up my rating. I got it
to ‘OK’ which meant I could get a mortgage.
We bought our flat a year ago and I also went freelance at the same time. This meant that
money was coming in dribs and drabs rather than reliable monthly chunks and I forgot to pay
off my credit card twice. The bank called up to ask what was going on and I paid it there and
then, but I wasn’t very organised initially.
Well anyway, now that I owe hundreds of thousands of pounds on a flat, had made a couple
of late payments and am self-employed, I couldn’t bear to face my credit rating.
The problem is, as much as I would like to pretend it doesn’t matter – it really does. I’m
thinking of getting a loan at some point to put an extension on the flat. This would increase
the value of the property and give us some much-needed room, but with a bad credit rating,
there’s no chance of getting a good loan.
Last week, the guys from TotallyMoney asked me to check out their new credit rating tool.
My heart sunk a bit because I never write about anything I don’t thoroughly try out myself –
so I knew I was going to have to face my fears and find out what the situation is with my
Who is TotallyMoney?
You’ve been able to see what your credit rating is for a while now with companies such as
Noddle and Experian. However, TotallyMoney does a lot more than that.
When you go to Experian for example, you’ll be told one rating. When you go to Equifax, you
may be told another totally different number. TotallyMoney uses data from two of the top
three credit agencies, Experian and CallCredit to get a well-rounded view of your credit
You’ll see all the money you have borrowed (which I found terrifying), from your mortgage,
loans, credit cards and overdraft. You can also go back through six years of records.
Also, it’s the only free credit report service that shows customers live data, updating their
report each and every time they log in – giving you an up-to-the-minute snapshot of your
What’s really helpful is that you can get a notification if something in your credit report
changes, meaning that if there’s a mistake (which does happen more than you’d think), you
can clear it up and get your report back to normal. You may be like me where you miss a
payment which will impact your rating, then at least this will give you the nudge to sort it out.
What’s Your Borrowing Power?
The reality is, most people who care about their credit report are people who plan on
borrowing money. They want good products and value for money, so the better the number,
generally the cheaper the loan.
With TotallyMoney, not only do you learn about your financial history and what the situation
is right now, but you also get to see what your borrowing power is, and what big companies
would think of you if you were to apply.
The reason this is important is that if you were to apply for a credit card, for example, and
were then rejected – it could harm your chances of being accepted for credit in the future.
It will also let you know of any products you could be eligible for (of course, you should
always shop around for the best offers).
It’s Not as Bad as You Think it Is
Or you know what? Maybe it is. But putting your head in the sand doesn’t help and just adds
a level of stress and guilt to the equation.
As for me, I don’t understand it, but my credit rating was good! Maybe a slip up now and
then isn’t the end of the world if you’ve been careful for years.
If you’ve never checked your credit rating, or haven’t done it in months, do it now. It’s free,
will take you all of two minutes and it’s good for your financial health.