Be Credit-wise: Protect your Finances during Uni

University is a time of discovery. However, among all the new and exciting things that any student is experiencing, financial independence and responsibility is probably one of the toughest to contend with. Banks and service providers are invariably keen to offer special student rates and packages. It can be very tempting to over-extend yourself and the consequences of doing so can be long-lasting. So here are a few tips to stay on the financial straight and narrow while at uni.

Surprisingly perhaps, the prospect of a student loan should have little long-term impact on the future. University life is increasingly expensive, with tuition fees only going in one direction. However, you shouldn’t be wary of taking out a student loan to ease the burden. It may be challenging to pay back, but it’s important to know that a student loan is not included in your credit rating. This rating is important in the long-term as it is probably the basic calculation by which a potential lender will decide whether to grant you a loan or not. A student loan should not form part of this assessment and it is easy enough to check whether this is actually the case. You can get a free credit report by visiting If you find that a student loan has been mistakenly recorded, then you can take steps to correct this.

There are also some other important steps to take as a student in order to secure a healthy credit rating. You may find yourself being offered credit cards, mobile phone offers and more, often at a special student rate. If you do decide to take advantage of these offers, it is imperative that you pay the bills on time. Late or even worse, outstanding payments, even on a dedicated store card can be noted on your credit report. A credit report is a record of your financial reliability and you must avoid anything that might call this into question. Late, or unresolved payments are likely to do exactly that.

The same rule of thumb must be applied to all domestic costs as well. Living in rented accommodation with friends is one of university’s great life experiences. However, there are pitfalls too and it is important to make sure that all house bills are paid on time. All utility bills are likely to stay ‘on record’ and so if you paid even a single water bill late, you might find yourself paying the consequences on your credit report. The easiest way to ensure that this doesn’t occur is to set up direct debits for all your bills. Charges will then automatically be deducted from your account. It is also important to note that if previous tenants were not as reliable as you and paid bills late, this will not count against you on your record.

The final practical step may sound innocuous, but it’s worth doing. It is advisable to put yourself on the electoral roll at your parents’ home address. The electoral roll is as close a record as you can get to proof of a permanent abode. Potential lenders are looking to assess your reliability when they view a credit report and evidence that you have a permanent place to live is an excellent start. Hopefully, it will be another step towards a good credit score, easing your path to future lending.

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