GIVE YOURSELF A CREDIT RATING

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The Independent Online
Do you own your home?

Yes: 40 points No: 0 points

Are you the registered bill-payer for the telephone?

Yes: 20 No: 0

How old are you?

Over 60: 0 45-59: 25 30-44: 20

21-29: 5 Under 21: 0

Are you married?

Yes: 10 No: 5

What is your job?

Senior management: 15 Middle management: 10

Blue collar: 5 Part time: 2

Self-employed for more than three years: 5

Self-employed for less than three years: 0

None: 0

How long have you lived at your current address?

Over 5 years: 20 Over 3 years: 10 Under 3 years: 5

How long have you been in your job?

Over 5 years: 20 Over 3 years: 10 Under 3 years: 5

Have you regularly missed any credit card, HP, store card, personal loan payments in the last three years?

None: 40

From a total of 40, subtract the following:

One month: 2 for every payment missed

6 months plus: 5 for every payment missed

Have you had any county court judgments made against you in the last seven years?

No: 20 Subtract 5 per county court judgment

What is your monthly income?

pounds 1,500 or more: 20 pounds 950 to pounds 1,499: 10 pounds 724 to pounds 949: 5

Under pounds 725: 0 None: 0

Do you have bank or savings accounts?

Current plus savings: 10 Current or savings: 5 None: 0

Add up your monthly bills for water, electricity, gas, mortgage, rent, telephone. What share of your monthly earnings after tax are they?

Over half: 0 Over a quarter: 15

Under a quarter: 30

Are you registered to vote?

Yes: 20 No: 0

Have you applied for credit elsewhere in the last three months?

Less than three times: 20 More than three times: 10

Compiled with help from JW Mortgage Solutions 01202 310668.

How did you score?

165 and over - You shouldn't have a problem.

150 to 165 - There are some companies that specialise in lending to people who might have had problems in the past - but there could be a cost. The riskier they think you are, the higher the interest rate is likely to be.

Under 150 - You will find it difficult, even impossible, to get loans from ordinary banks, building societies or hire-purchase companies. You might also find it difficult to apply for a mobile phone, mail order catalogues or even cable TV!

n This is only an example of how a credit score might look. Each bank, building society, utility company, or anyone lending you money or selling you anything on credit will have its own way of assessing you and your credit-worthiness.

If you have failed the test, it might be worth checking out the information held against you (call Experian, 0115 976 8747). If it is wrong, it can be changed fairly easily. But if you have made financial errors in the past, the information cannot be removed legally. Never use a credit-repair agency - it's a waste of money.

n As a general rule, high-street banks and building societies tend to be the strictest. So they may award fewer points than the maximums you can score in this test. They may also use other information that you provide for them to assess you.

n Mortgage brokers will scour the whole market and help pick out the best loan for you. They may be able to grant you a loan when others will turn you down - whether it is because you have had payment difficulties in the past, county-court judgments, bankruptcies, or even arrears on a previous mortgage.

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