My aim is to buy house in three years time So I started searching for the ways I can get mortgage for the house. I found out that I need good credit score to get mortgage along with other things such as down payment and regular income. Then, I learned that credit card can be used as tool to increase the credit score and build credit history.

I am quite well-off financially and do not necessarily need the credit card to do any shopping (so I did not have any). I keep on top on my finances all the time so there is no excuse for missing payment of the credit card.

I have been approved Barclaycard UK (my first credit card) with 34.99% APR with the credit limit of £1200 that includes cash limit of £350. So my question is if anyone can tell me how much I should spend ideally (minimum and maximum amount) to increase my credit score though I can easily pay the full amount on time. What kind of things can I buy with the credit card?

Even though, some people would say that you do not need a credit card to get mortgage but I learned that having a credit card and having it used wisely over a period of time does make a difference; when my cousin who had everything except credit card was refused twice for the mortgage. So I want to prepare for it early.

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    The marked duplicate and its answers relates specifically to the USA, whereas this one is specifically about the UK and the answer states explicitly "Credit card use in the UK is different to the USA". Shouldn't it be left open? – GS - Apologise to Monica Sep 2 '14 at 12:35

Credit card use in the UK is different to the USA. This can be used to your advantage. Firstly though, let me say this: always pay off a credit card balance IN FULL each month. Otherwise, you undo any good and creat some bad signs on your credit history.

A credit file is a history of your behaviour with borrowed money. It ignores your income and looks only at when you borrowed money, how much and did you repay in full, partially, on time, not on time... I'd recommend getting a free credit report at "Noddle" rather than paying £2 to one of the major scorers.

Here's how I use a credit to maintain a good rating, so same steps to build a good score: get a credit card that is practically useful (eg. a Santander cashback card and get money back on fuel purchases). Use it only for a certain purpose and do not spend more than 40-50% of the credit limit they give you, paying off in full each month.

This means that your credit report will show that you are a prompt repayer (meaning 'trustworthy'); you don't spend up to the limit ('responsible').

6-12 months of this behaviour and your credit "picture" will look very attractive. Miss a payment and it'll stick out like a sore thumb as your credit report doesn't have many entries. And using a practical card means you may actually get some money back for the stuff you spent on anyway...

As an aside, many mortgage lenders now look at affordability so make sure your accounts are tidily used. One current account for direct debit bills and another for miscellanoeous spending means the statement you hand in to the bank is very responsble looking. And definitely live on less than you earn - saving the difference as a healthy mortgage deposit. This will qualify you for a mortgage much more than a well-used credit report.

Hope that helps and good luck - a house you can afford is a home; a house you can't is a curse!


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    This is good advice. Just to add that you will have the option to set up full repayments monthly by Direct Debit, so then you don't even have to worry about missing a payment. I do all my grocery and other shopping on a card and have it paid off in full every month. – Vicky May 27 '14 at 10:55
  • As an aside, Barclaycard currently offers complimentary access to Experian credit score, as part of your account benefits. While I'm not 100% certain that this is not fudged for the benefit of Barclaycard themselves, I'd consider Experian fairly reliable and I've taken out their services in their own right myself and found them fairly detailed and accurate. – Tom W Jan 30 '17 at 14:26

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