What do I do if I have bad credit?

First of all, don’t panic! Bad credit ratings can be given for many different reasons and lots are easy to fix. It could be if you are new to credit or you’ve missed or been late with payments. It could also be a result of CCJs or bankruptcy.

There are lots of things you can do to improve your credit rating. And here at Asda Money we’d like to offer you a few handy dos and don’ts:

Do use a free Eligibility Checker – as the name suggests - they are free! Ours is quick and easy too - and won’t leave a footprint on your credit file. Use the Asda Cashback Credit Card Eligibility Check.

Do check your Credit File – there may be inaccuracies. Write to the credit reference agencies and explain your case and get any mistakes corrected.

Do register to vote – credit reference agencies check the Voters’ Roll. If you’re on it, it will help to improve your score.

Do use a credit builder card – also sometimes known as a credit card for bad credit. With the Asda Cashback Start Card, you’ll be able to re-build your credit rating. Providing you pay on time, stay within your credit limit and don’t withdraw cash, you should notice a positive change within 6-12 months. How to apply for a credit card with bad credit? Check out the Asda Cashback Start Credit Card for starters.

Don’t apply for credit too often – spread out your applications over time. Too many searches in a short time will adversely affect your rating. And prioritise, too! If you’re looking for a mortgage and a new credit card – get your mortgage sorted out first.

Don’t miss a payment – set up Direct Debits so you know you’ll always be on time with your minimum payment at least.

Don’t mix up your finances with a partner – sounds harsh, but if your partner has a poor credit history, keep your finances separate. If you split up with a partner you’ve previously held a joint mortgage or bank account, write to credit reference agencies and formally “disassociate” yourself.

Don’t use your credit card to withdraw cash – lenders generally view this poor money management and it will generally cost you even if you pay off the statement in full at the end of the month.