What Does Your Credit Score Say About You?

Personal Finance · 03 Nov 2017

It’s important to remember that your credit score is more than an abstract number.

It’s important to remember that your credit score is more than an abstract number. Your score tells your credit story - are you reliable, in control and likely to pay your debts on time? Credit scores matter. If you’re in the market for a personal loan, credit card or mortgage a good credit score may open up access to credit - and to opportunity. Sometimes, prospective landlords or employers might even check your score. Good credit scores may even unlock better deals from insurers, utility providers and telcos.

Credit bureaux look at a range of information to work out your score. Your payment history, the amount of money you’ve borrowed and the number of enquiries you’ve made for credit might all affect your credit score. Scores are easy to understand - every person’s credit score is simply a number between 0 and 1000. Although the actual score may just be a number, it’s worth knowing what your number says about you.

800 to 1000

A score over 800 suggests you’re a safe bet for lenders, landlords and service providers. People generally only achieve a score this high if they have a long credit history and a reputation for paying their bills on time and in full every month. Credit reporting agencies sometimes refer to borrowers with credit scores over 900 as unicorns - fewer than 10% of New Zealanders have a score in this range.

600 to 800

A score in this range is strong - just not the strongest in town. You shouldn’t worry - with a score this strong, you should easily qualify for competitive offers from lenders.

400 to 600

You usually pay your bills on time and you wouldn’t think of defaulting on a loan, so why is your score so low? In reality, most New Zealanders find themselves with a credit score in this range, so you shouldn’t feel too concerned. By regularly making payments on time and taking out additional credit where appropriate, you should be able to lift your credit score in time.

Below 400

Your credit score needs work. Maybe you forget to pay your bills or haven’t used credit much in the past. Fortunately, it’s easy to make a start. Remind yourself to make loan and bill payments on time, and use direct debit if possible. Make sure to use your credit card, but don’t max your card out to your credit limit. With good habits, your credit score will rise over time.

If you’re looking to improve your credit score or access better lending rates, take a look at our eBook ‘10 ways to a better credit rate’. It’s full of helpful ways to get on top of your credit.

Next up in Credit Score Bootcamp

Understanding what impacts your score

Read more:

You're more than just your credit score

How to build a good score from the start

Glossary of credit terms

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