How To Improve Your Credit Score

It’s hard to overstate the value of having great credit. Like a master key, it opens the door to a wide range of opportunities! Everything from mortgages to car loans become easier to acquire. Ultimately, thanks to the financial savings on interest you encounter, an awesome credit rating is your golden ticket to an improved financial situation.

However, it’s important to recognise that credit scores aren’t set in stone (this can be a good or a bad thing, depending on your personal circumstances). Far from being fixed, they’re in a state of constant flux, shifting up or down depending on a wide range of factors.

Aside from the usual approach, like on-time bill payments, avoiding multiple loan applications, and cancelling unused credit cards, there are other ways to improve your credit score. Getting approval is not guaranteed, however, here are some tips to increase your credit score and keep it looking good.

It’s never too late to turn your credit rating around, even if you have a bad credit history.

Access & Monitor Your Credit Report

You have to know and understand any problem before you can solve it, right? That’s why the very first step to improving your credit score is to access your free credit report. With this free report, you’ll be able to check your credit score as it stands and see (among others):

  • Your repayment history
  • Your public record (including things like court decisions and bankruptcies)
  • Any debts overdue by 60+ days (i.e., “defaults”)
  • The number of times someone, like a loan officer, has checked your credit (too many inquiries can damage your score)

Your credit report shows all the positive or negative factors that contribute to your score. It gives you all the information you need that allows you to make it better. Your credit file includes things like your identity information. Your full name, gender, date of birth, address, employment history and driver’s license. It also includes your public record. Things like court decisions, bankruptcies, writs and summons, and debt agreements.

Your monthly repayment history is also in the file. This is the section that examines your credit accounts. Accounts such as your credit cards, loans, mortgages and other credit. This might also include how many times your credit has been accessed. You want to limit how many times companies or rental companies or loan officers access your credit. Too many credit inquiries can damage your credit.

Under soft pull check, specialist lenders can also evaluate your loan application. This way, lenders can have an overall idea of your financial status and it won’t go on your credit file. Otherwise, this could have a negative effect on your score.

Credit bureaus such as Experian, Equifax, and Illion can help you monitor by providing your credit report for free. Keep in mind that credit score differs depending on the credit bureau.

*Extra Tip: Keep A Consistent Home Address

It’d be harder for the lender to track you down — which would affect your score negatively, if you change your residence too often. If you’re planning to make a loan application, you should stay in the same place for a few months.

Pay Your Bills on Time

When financial times are tough, paying your bills is never easy. However, it’ll definitely make a major difference in the quest to increase your credit score.

Missing monthly payments is the main reason peoples’ credit rating suffer, and lenders are much less likely to offer someone a loan if they can’t trust them to meet repayments on time. If you miss a payment of more than $150, you receive a black mark on your credit report. And it doesn’t go away.

Overdue payments remain on your report for five years, but one overdue payment won’t kill your credit, late penalties only make matters worse. As your debt increases, your ability to repay it takes a hit. This leads to more missed payments and a vicious downward spiral developing.

Paying your bills on time sounds harder than it is if you budget for them carefully. Setting up automatic online payments is the most effective way to make your repayments on time, every time, without having to think about anything! It’s the best way to do some credit repair too.

Most online banking is a free addition to a checking account. And some banks will give you a checking account for free.

Once you have an online banking account, you can quickly set up automatic payments to most of your bills. If your bank doesn’t allow online bill pay, most credit cards will allow you to enter a bank account number and set up automatic payments over time.

Now, some credit card companies will only allow you to either pay the full amount or the minimum payment each month. In that case, set up the minimum payment and try to pay off the rest as soon as you can. Only paying the minimum payment will cause you to rack up more debt as it doesn’t cover interest fees.

*Extra Tip: Pay Bills BEFORE Their Due Date

If you struggle with keeping enough money in your account, you can also choose to pay bills early. In some cases, it’s also easier to throw money at a bill while you have it than wait for the due date to arrive to find out you can’t pay it.

Be Careful with Credit Cards

Many people who struggle with bad credit view credit cards as something akin to the devil! Yet that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, having and using these little pieces of plastic is a fundamental way to build credit – you just have to be sensible about it. Setting up a budget is essential for credit cards to prevent you from inadvertently using your entire limit before you’ve realized it.

The issue comes down to paying off whatever debt you accrue. Your credit cards will soon work against you if you start missing those monthly repayments. By transferring funds straight into the account to pay it off, you should stay clear of trouble and enjoy the many rewards of buying things on credit instead.

Another related factor to consider is the number of credit cards you have. Although they come with many benefits, less is sometimes more in terms of how many you should use. Why? Because lenders see frequent applications for new cards as a sign of financial distress. That’s why it’s worth waiting until you actually need another card before adding a new one to your wallet.

*Extra Tip: Keep Your Unused Accounts Open

Now we know that having multiple cards on the go at once can spell trouble, it might be tempting to close any credit accounts you no longer use. But don’t do it just yet. Assuming there’s no debt on them, keeping unused cards in your wallet is one of the simplest and easiest ways to improve your credit rating.

10 Easily Forgotten Monthly Expenses - Cigno Loans

Consolidate Your Debts

Having multiple accounts open that owe money is a recipe for disaster. Not only can you expect your credit rating to fall but having to make repayments on numerous debts at the same time can also take a big financial toll. That’s where something called debt consolidation comes into play.

Some lenders will let you buy out your other debts and combine them into a single consolidated loan. By consolidating your debts into the account or credit card with the lowest rate of interest, you can often save a sizeable amount of money. Furthermore, having fewer monthly repayments should make your finances easier to manage. And that in turn should reduce the likelihood of missing them

This helps to boost your credit score as the quicker the principal could be paid off, the quicker you can deal with the balance. There’s a tax break too. So, clear those debts and avoid them in the future.

*Extra Tip: Become a Credit Deadbeat

Also, it pays to be a credit deadbeat. A credit deadbeat is someone who pays off their balance every month. You’re a deadbeat because the bank can’t make money from interest. Not only does paying your balance improve your credit score, it also saves you huge amounts in interest over the long run.

Know Your Negative Impacts

You really need to know what might be negatively impacting your score before you can begin credit repair. There are several things that can impact your credit score in a negative way.

  • Multiple credit inquiries or applications will affect your credit score negatively. The people who check your credit score could include car dealers, rental companies, loan companies and anybody who might offer something on lease. Be careful with anything that requires a down payment. Make sure you ask if they are checking your credit score.
  • Defaults are probably the second highest impact on your credit report. Loan officers want to know you are going to pay them back. They want their money. They aren’t going to give you money if they know you aren’t good to pay them back over time. If you are late on a payment for over sixty days, this tells lenders that you are irresponsible.
  • Court judgements will negatively impact your credit score. This is an area of credit you can repair. Sometimes records can get mixed up. Court judgments could end up on your report when you were never even in court. It’s imperative you check your own credit once a year.
  • Missed payments on your credit accounts are probably the most damaging of all. This is where you should focus your credit repair as missed payments on your credit accounts stay on your file for two whole years. Therefore you want to ensure that no more than one payment is missed per account.

Build Your Bank Loyalty

Becoming pals with your current bank is a good way to build credit over the long run. By doing things like paying your salary into your account, starting a savings account, and using direct debit and bill pay features, you’re providing your bank with a holistic sense of who you are and how you manage your money.

Your checking account won’t build your credit for you. In fact, your overdraft might hurt it. But giving a bank access to your regular financial dealings may impact their decision to give you credit should you want it. This is a good chance for those with no or poor credit history to build their credit future responsibly and often with a better rate than elsewhere.

Effectively, your bank will know how well you have managed your money recently first-hand whereas other banks won’t have access to that information.

Money matters are difficult for everyone but improving your credit score one step at a time doesn’t require pushing a boulder up a hill. Simple, responsible practices demonstrating your trustworthiness with your (and the bank’s) money are enough to improve your score.

If you’ve been wondering how to increase your credit score, then we hope this post has proved useful! Keep the tips in mind and you should be one step closer to making it happen. Trying to get a loan and don’t have time to improve your credit?

Bad Credit Loans in Australia

Having bad credit doesn’t have to be a permanent thing. Foreclosures, late payments, and even bankruptcies will fall off your reports after a certain amount of time. The bottom line is that it’s possible to find lenders who will work with you and your bad credit.

Apply for a loan through Cigno today and they will act as your agent to help you with a bad credit loan. Simply complete our online application form 24/7 for same day loan approvals.

Disclaimer: Please be aware that Cigno Loans’ articles do not replace advice from an accountant or financial advisor. All information provided is intended to be used as a guide only, as it does not take into account your personal financial situation or needs. If you require assistance, it is recommended that you consult a licensed financial or tax advisor.


Ordered by the Federal Court of Australia

The Federal Court of Australia has found that Cigno Australia Pty Ltd (Cigno Australia) and BSF Solutions Pty Ltd (BSF Solutions) have breached the law by engaging in unlicensed credit activity and charging prohibited fees.

In the period from July 2022 to 3 October 2023, over 100,000 consumers have been lent a total of $34 million, and charged fees of over $70 million, under the ‘No Upfront Charge Loan Model’ operated by BSF Solutions and Cigno Australia. At no time has either BSF Solutions or Cigno Australia held an Australian Credit Licence.

The Court also found that Mark Swanepoel (director of Cigno Australia) and Brenton James Harrison (director of BSF Solutions) were involved in these breaches of the law.

With effect from 24 May 2024, the Court has granted permanent injunctions preventing Cigno Australia and BSF Solutions from:

  • demanding, receiving or accepting fees or charges, including amounts of loan principal, from consumers in relation to credit provided under the ‘No Upfront Charge Model’; and
  • engaging in further credit activity pursuant to the ‘No Upfront Charge Loan Model’, including by entering into new agreements with consumers, for so long as they do not hold an Australian Credit Licence.

Cigno Australia was ordered by the Court to, by 5th July 2024, send written communications to consumers who between July 2022 and December 2022 entered into agreements with Cigno Australia and BSF Solutions under the ‘No Upfront Charge Loan Model’.

The Court will later determine whether (among other things) Cigno Australia and Mark Swanepoel ought to pay a pecuniary penalty in respect of this conduct, and whether Mark Swanepoel should be restrained from carrying on a business engaging in credit activity.

Cigno Australia, BSF Solutions, Mr Swanepoel and Mr Harrison intend to appeal the decision of the Court and have filed an application for leave to appeal. If the appeal is successful, some or all of the orders of the Federal Court of Australia may be set aside.

Where can you get more information?

Where to go for further support

You can access legal advice in your state at: Free legal advice –

If you are experiencing trouble with debt, or money worries in general, contact:

  • the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007 or online chat (9:30am to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday).

If you need someone to talk to, contact:

  • Lifeline on 13 11 14 (24 hours) or their crisis support online chat or
  • Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36 (24 hours) or their webchat