UK comparison website Confused.com has released details of the names most likely to have a great credit rating in Britain – and the worst.
Having recorded data from thousands of website users over the past year, the site has listed the five best and worst names for men and women, as well as the best and worst surnames.
- For men, the highest-ranking names are Brian, Alan, Ian, Peter and Robert.
- Among women, the top five most likely to have a good credit history are Helen, Susan, Julie, Elizabeth and Joanne.
You may notice the names least likely to have problems with debt are also more traditional names, commonly associated with people middle-aged or older. The reasoning behind this trend is that older people generally tend to have better credit histories than their children and grandchildren, having been brought up in a time when the emphasis was on saving, not spending, and avoiding debt by living within their means.
- The worst-ranked names for men are Daniel, Lee, Matthew, Steven and Christopher.
- The lowest-ranked for women are Lisa, Victoria, Emma, Nicola and Claire.
In contrast to the top-rating first names, all those listed in both the men’s and women’s bottom 5 are commonly found among Britain’s Gen X and older Gen Y. This could be due to the fact that younger generations are more likely to borrow rather than save, as many in these age groups have grown up seeing debt as normal. While it may be a generalisation, it’s probably fair to say that credit histories are more likely to be worse among younger people, who are often less financially astute than their elders. And obviously, younger generations have had less time and experience in order to build up a positive credit history and learn from past financial mistakes.
However, there was no real disparity between the five best and worst surnames, with all names in both groups being in the top 50 most common British family names.
- Best surnames include Edwards, Lewis, Wright, Evans and Jones.
- The lowest-ranking last names are Thompson, Johnson, White, Clark and Williams.
Confused.com compiled the data from its free online Credit Card Matcher tool to produce the findings. The site allows customers to check the likelihood of being accepted for a credit card before submitting an application.
The report also looked at rankings by postcode. The location with the best-ranked residents, SL4 in Slough, is unsurprisingly one of Britain’s most exclusive and the home of both Windsor Castle and elite boys’ school Eton College.
How to build a good credit report (regardless of your name)
Despite the site’s findings, a customer’s name obviously isn’t a factor in securing credit. Whether you’re a Brian or a Daniel, maintaining a good credit history can be broken down into a few simple steps:
1. Establish a credit history. This can be through small steps, such as a mobile phone plan, broadband or pay TV account, or opening a low-limit credit card – something to show potential creditors that you have experience paying bills and debts and can be responsible. Of course, this only works if you follow the step below.
2. Pay your bills on time. Although it seems obvious, forgetting to make a payment can affect your rating, especially if it happens more than once.
3. Show lenders that you have job stability and a fixed address. Swapping jobs and suburbs on an unusually frequent basis sends a message that you’re unreliable, and that you may pose a financial risk if you miss repayments and your creditors can’t locate you.
4. Build a positive relationship with your financial institution. Don’t overdraw your account, make repayments on time, and show that you’re a model customer. Although lending decisions are ultimately made according to bank policy and not necessarily the personal opinion of the banker handling your application, that banker may be more likely to help you find alternative solutions if they consider you a good customer. And remember that although banks and credit unions may seem like they’re just out to rip you off, if you need help with budgeting and saving most employees are happy to assist you.
5. Australia uses a negative credit reporting system, and because of this just paying off a bad debt won’t wipe it. Once a debt is sent to a collections agency, it’s on your report for 5 to 7 years even after you repay it. The report will also list all details of credit and loans you’ve signed for, details of defaults and infringements, and more serious problems such as bankruptcy, court judgements, and personal insolvency agreements. So it’s recommended that you get a copy of your personal report and go over it for any errors.
6. Anything you do find that’s incorrect should be referred to the creditor in question, and if they can’t resolve it, the Financial Services Ombudsman or Privacy Commissioner. Don’t waste time with ‘credit repair’ agencies – they can’t change any information unless it is proved to be wrong, and this is something you can instigate yourself without paying a third party.
It’s never too late to start establishing or fixing your credit profile, even if you’ve made mistakes in the past. Rather than a name change, a solid financial reputation will always be your best asset when it comes to getting finance approved.