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Clean up your credit score

You can be refused credit for a wide range of reasons, sometimes because you are too good a risk and don't fit the target customer profile or it may be the result of either incorrect data being placed on your credit file, or adverse credit history.

Lenders look for a pattern of stability of residence, employment and repayments.

They are a few things you can do which could improve your credit score

1. Get on the electoral register. Some lenders will instantly reject an application if you are not registered on the electoral roll at your current address. It's important to make it as easy as possible for lenders to verify your identify. Tougher money-laundering regulations, and an increase in the level of identity fraud, mean that lenders have an obligation to confirm your identity.

2. Check your record for mistakes. If there is any incorrect data ensure the credit reference agency puts it right.

3. If there is adverse information on the file which you dispute, ask for it to be removed. If the agency or bank refuses, request the right to add a note giving your side of the story or consider complaining to the Financial Ombudsman. You are allowed to ask for a note of up to 200 words to be added to your file, explaining anything that may adversely affect your credit profile.

4. If your credit record reveals that you have missed payments on an account, get it up to date. If possible make regular overpayments. Ultimately, the best way to have a good credit history is to be responsible – paying your bills, loans and credit cards on time.

5. Check linked accounts. Even though your credit report can't be affected by people who you live with, it will be linked to the report of anyone with whom you have joint accounts or other financial arrangements, such as your partner. If they have a bad credit history, that could affect your ability to get a loan.

6. Set up direct debits, so that banks can see you are committed to paying all your bills on time.

7. Close down old accounts. It's important to close accounts which you no longer use. It's become common for people to switch their credit card balances around, but they often forget to close down the old one. This could give the impression that you already have too enough credit to your name.

8. If there are credit searches you don't recall on your account, ask for them to be removed.

9. If you have an outstanding county court judgment against you, settle with the creditor.

10. If you have arrived back in the country after a period abroad, add a note about where you have been, what you were doing and the history of your earlier residence in the UK. If possible, bring a credit report with you from the country in which you were living.