Ten common credit misconceptions

20 Nov, 2023

Introducing the ten credit misconceptions, TotallyMoney CEO, Alastair Douglas comments:

“For decades, banks have kept people in the dark about the information they have access to, how they use it, and why they make the decisions they do. These decisions can have a life-long impact, from scuppering somebody’s chances of getting their first mobile phone contract, to worsening the terms offered when buying their first home.

“The genuine lack of transparency has led to credit confusion, monetary myths, and people having to second guess how the system works. They need access to their own financial data, to be told what it means, and how it works. Only then will everybody have the tools they need to unlock a life of more choices.

“To help set the record straight, we’ve debunked some of the most common myths to help you create financial momentum and make your credit score soar. You can also download the free TotallyMoney app, which can help you better manage your finances and unlock a life of more choices.”


? 1. There is no credit blacklist

Two in five (40.9%*) people believe there is a credit blacklist — but the truth is there isn’t one.

Alastair Douglas comments:

“One of the most common, and costly of myths people have been led to believe is there’s a credit blacklist. However, neither you nor your address will find itself on a central database of borrowers excluded by the banks. But if you have slipped up in the past, filed for bankruptcy, or have a CCJ, you might only have access to a limited number of offers. That’s because your information is stored on your credit file, and they might see you as a risky borrower and therefore treat you with greater caution.


?️ 2. Get on the electoral roll

Only 43.1% of adults are aware that being on the electoral roll can impact their credit score

Alastair Douglas comments:

“Being registered to vote can have a significant positive impact on your credit score, but more than half of adults aren’t aware of this. Being on the electoral roll can act as a vote of confidence — because banks can verify who you are and trust you’ll be able to repay what you borrow. Plus, if you’ve been at the same address for a while it can make you appear to be more settled and stable.”


? 3. Criminal records aren’t visible

Almost half of adults (46.4%) think that a criminal record could impact their credit score. However, it’s not visible to lenders and can’t impact your score.

Alastair Douglas comments:

“A criminal record won’t directly impact your ability to access credit, but nearly half of adults think it could. And while fines can impact your finances, they won’t be visible to lenders either.”


? 4. You’re free to check your report

One in five people (19.3%) wrongly believe that checking your credit report can negatively impact your credit score.

Alastair Douglas comments:

“Your credit report contains the information banks use when deciding whether or not to let you borrow money — and remember, it’s your data and you should never pay to see it or use it. It’s also important to know that checking your report won’t negatively impact your score — in fact, it’s quite the opposite, as people who check it regularly have on average a better credit score. You can also make sure that all the information is correct and up to date, putting yourself on the front foot when it comes to making an application.”


? 5. What you earn doesn’t impact your credit score

43.9% of people surveyed believe their earnings impact their credit score — however, how much you earn doesn’t appear on your credit file.

Alastair Douglas comments:

“Two in five adults think that the amount of money they earn impacts their credit score. And while it may give you some more financial freedom, income doesn’t show up in your credit report. However, it will be considered when banks are deciding who to lend to, as they’ll need to be able to make sure that you’ll be able to repay the money you borrow.”


? 6. Student loans aren’t seens as loans

One in four (24.3%) of people believe a student loan can impact their credit score — but they don’t.

Alastair Douglas comments:

“Student loans don’t appear on your credit report, and therefore aren’t used by Credit Reference Agencies when calculating your credit score. However, student loans might be considered by banks when running affordability checks, and could therefore impact your ability to borrow. That’s because the lender will need to make sure you’re able to keep up with repayments, and if you’re repaying other loans and credit agreements, you might find it harder to meet any new commitments.”


? 7. Seek debt advice without a worry

17% of people wrongly believe that seeking advice can impact your credit score

Alastair Douglas comments:

“There are a number of free, impartial debt advice providers out there, who could help you better budget and manage your money — and the good news is that it won’t impact your credit score. However, debt management plans can show up on your credit file and might impact your ability to borrow because it’ll show that you’ve struggled to keep up with payments before.”


? 8. You could be given a different offer to what you applied for

Only 46.2% of people realise they might be given a different credit limit to the one they apply for

Alastair Douglas comments:

“Regulators require lenders to only provide 51% of successful applicants the advertised product. This means you could be offered a very different card to the one you thought you were applying for, including one with lower limits, and higher APRs. However, this can be avoided by looking out for offers which are pre-approved and guaranteed. That way you can apply with confidence and bank on getting exactly what you wished for.”


? 9. Avoid using credit cards to withdraw cash

Only 44.3% of people are aware that using a credit card to withdraw money from an ATM can incur added fees and higher interest rates.

Alastair Douglas comments:

“If you need quick cash and are thinking about putting your credit card in the ATM then think again. These transactions come with extra fees, often with a higher APR, and they can make it more difficult to borrow in the future. They can be particularly costly if you’re making multiple, smaller withdrawals, as you could pay £3.46 just to withdraw £10.”


⚡ 10. Prepayment meters no longer cost more

More than half (52%) of people believe prepaid energy meters are the most expensive way to pay for your energy — and although they used to be, they’re not any more.

Alastair Douglas comments:

“More than half of adults believe prepaid meters are a more expensive way of paying for energy than Direct Debit. However, on July 1st this year, the government scrapped the prepayment meter premium, making energy fairer for three million households. So while”