'On the 12th day of Christmas my true love said to me...' '...use your Noddle'

As the busiest time of year is nearly upon us Noddle, the free for life credit report provider, is advising shoppers to shape up their credit rating to ensure that they can get the best deals this year with - the 12 days to credit.

Whether looking for the latest smartphone, tablet device e-book reader or children's toy, shoppers across the UK will be looking to find the best deals this Christmas.  To help, Noddle has come up with 12 top tips, to help improve your credit score.  

Tom Ilube, founder of Noddle said: "The last thing on a shoppers Christmas list this year is most likely checking their credit rating, what they probably aren't aware of is how important this could be, especially at this time of year when shoppers want to get the latest gifts. 

 "A credit report is like your financial passport.  Companies look at your credit report all the time and make decisions about you based on this information, from approving a mortgage application to giving you a mobile phone contract.  We want to make sure every adult in the UK has free access to their personal credit report whenever they want it, not just at Christmas."

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me....

  • A partridge in a pear tree - avoid keeping a high balance on your credit card. Lenders may view it as excessive debt and be concerned about your ability to keep up with repayments.
  • Two - Turtle Doves - the credit history of all financial associations such as a spouse or anyone else you have a joint bank account or loan with can affect your credit rating. Lenders may take both partners' financial histories into account when assessing future requests for credit.  Sever old financial relationships if you are divorced or separated make sure your ex's details are removed from any joint accounts as soon as possible. 
  • Three - French Hens - this might be all you can afford instead of the Christmas turkey if you don't get a hold of your finances, so get in the habit of checking your credit report. It will show you just how much borrowing you have outstanding, financial associations you may have forgotten about, details of financial organisations that may have carried out searches on your credit report and any applications for credit you have made.     
  • Four - Calling Birds - try to avoid missing a mortgage payment this is viewed more seriously than a missed credit card or loan repayments. Talk to your mortgage lender as early as possible if you are struggling to make a mortgage payment.
  • Five - Gold Rings - if you want to get that special piece of jewellery this Christmas settle old debts, don't over stretch yourself and ensure your credit report is correct and updated.
  • Six Geese-a-Laying - if your circumstances have changed - maybe you are expecting your first child  - and you  might struggle to keep up with credit payments,  speak directly to your lenders who might be able to agree a 'payment holiday'.
  • Seven Swans-a-Swimming - get the gift you want this festive season with no fuss and plenty of grace and build yourself a good credit reputation.  Lenders want to see that you have a record of managing credit sensibly, consider taking out a credit card and pay off the balance in full each month and on time, this will help to boost your credit footprint.
  • Eight Maids-a-Milking - after all that hard work, continue to boost your credit score by paying on time or ahead of schedule - a good credit score needs to be built up over a period of time - lenders will look favourably on this.
  • Nine Ladies Dancing - not in my house - make sure you get on the electoral role. Lenders use the electoral roll to help fight identity fraud and confirm a person is who they say they are and that they reside at that address. Update your details after moving house.
  • Ten - Lords-a-Leaping - are you credit active? No. You need to start leaving a positive credit foot print - not having credit cards or loans can actually work against you. Lenders are looking for signs that you are capable of repaying money you have borrowed.
  • Eleven Pipers Piping - start blowing your own trumpet where necessary, if you notice anything on your credit report that could be incorrect or you think you might have been the victim of identity fraud, i.e. you think someone has applied for credit in your name, contact the credit reference agency who will work with the lender to try and resolve the issue.  
  • Twelve Drummers Drumming - bang out those bad habits and get ready for the new year on an upward beat, close down out of date credit cards and make sure to cancel old agreements such as store cards you never use as they still appear on your file. Lenders may be wary about the potential size of your total debt and alarm bells may ring.

Tom concluded, "A good credit score doesn't just dictate what products a consumer can get, but how good they are and if shoppers want to get a head start this Christmas our 12 days to credit will certainly help."