How to improve your credit score

There is a misconception credit score is about how many assets someone has but it is more about paying bills on time (File/Getty)
There is a misconception credit score is about how many assets someone has but it is more about paying bills on time (File/Getty)

A bad credit score is a silent killer, a number that stops people from getting a loan when they apply for credit.

New research from Credit Simple has looked into the credit scores of more than 2.2 million people and found the most likely factors that point to someone having a good credit score. The research found the credit score averages differently across certain areas of the country.

Things like credit card, mortgage and utility bill repayments all contribute to a person's credit score.

Now that we know where the number comes from, let's work at getting it higher.

1. Get married

Research shows that 60 percent of those living in areas with a high average credit score are married, but those with lower scores tend to be single.

In low scoring areas, more than 50 percent of people aren't married.

Mr Scognamiglio says this gives credit providers the belief married people are more likely to have a healthy credit score.

"When we looked at the attributes of Kiwis who had high credit scores, marriage stood out as a major factor. It seems there's a level of stability that comes from married life and that's reflected in the credit scores of these couples," he says.

2. Have two or three kids

The statistics also point to a parents with a certain number of children being credit-worthy.

"Having two to three children seems to be the magic number for maintaining credit health, but having more than three, or one or no kids, means you're more likely to have a lower credit score," Mr Scognamiglio.

3. Get a degree

The third stereotypical indicator that leads to someone having a strong credit score is having a university education.

A white-collar career path is another indicator.

"People in high-scoring areas are more likely to have education qualifications, and a higher proportion with honours, masters and doctorates.

"Areas with higher credit scores are more likely to have a high proportion of professionals and managers, while lower-scoring areas have more labourers, machine operators and drivers," says Mr Scognamiglio.

4. Quit smoking

While the percentage difference is smaller, the statistics show smoking is not helping increase your credit score.

"We found only 7.5 percent of those living in high-scoring areas are smokers, compared to 15.5 percent in low-scoring areas."


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