There Is a Big Difference Between Credit Report and Credit Score

This title may seem a bit absurd to you but it is not. Both seem to be similar terms, both are recorded by CIBIL and both are used by lenders to assess your credit worthiness. Yet, there is actually a difference in your credit score and your credit report. It will be easy for you to understand the difference after you have read this article.

Imagine this. You have appeared for an exam regarding your debts taken and how you have used your credit card etc. Your score is the number of marks you have obtained in the exam. Your report gives an account of your performance in words throughout the year, your answers to questions in the exam and also your teacher’s comments. When you apply for a new loan, it is like you have applied for admission to a new institution and the principal of that institution would like to read your previous report card first. She then looks at your score, which are your marks and your answers and teacher’s comments. Based on this she decides whether to give you an admission or not. There could be no simpler explanation than this.

It is true that you may have a score of 700 but your loan application may be rejected due to reasons in your Credit Information Report. While it is important to increase credit score, it is equally important to make sure you have a good credit report backing it.

One of the main difference is that your report contains data for atleast 36 months where as your score is calculated according to past 24 months’ data.

Your Credit Score

Your CIBIL TransUnion Score or, as commonly referred to, your credit score, is a three digit number which is calculated according to a proprietary formula using information given in your credit report under the “accounts” and “enquiries” section. Your credit report is a worded document that holds factual information. CIBIL uses this information to calculate your score. Your score may be anything between 300 & 900. The higher the score, the better it is while the lower the score the poorer it is considered.

Primarily these are the factors that affect your score. They are:

  1. On time Payments: Incase you have a record of always paying your loan instalments or credit card dues on time, then you will be rewarded for your diligent behaviour with a higher score. Details of such payments are recorded in the CIR in a schedule, showing month wise payments you went past due. This schedule is maintained for 36 months.
  1. Unsecure versus Secured Loans: Your score is higher if the fraction of secured loans like home loan or car loan or loan against property, is higher than unsecured loans like personal loan, credit cards or education loans, in your total debt portfolio.
  1. Number of “Hard Enquiries”: Once you apply to use a credit facility, you authorise the lender to withdraw your CIBIL report. Whenever a lender draws your credit report it is termed as a “hard enquiry”. The more the number of such enquiries, the poorer will be your score because it shows that you are constantly in need of more credit and are not able to handle the funds wisely.

A glance at your score is enough for a future lender to make judgements about your credit past. A lower score will make the lender assume that you have not been responsible with your payments, you have more unsecured loans or that you are always seeking fresh credit. How many of such assumptions are true, the lender will find out by reading your report in detail.

A score of “NA” or “NH” means, either your credit history is not six months old or that you have had no credit relationship for atleast the last 24 months.

Your Credit Information Report

This report is the power house of information on your credit history. The CIR records previous information and is periodically updated by CIBIL as per the information received from its members.

  1. Using more credit limit: There is no direct bearing on your score if you use the entire credit limit. But it does impress upon lenders that you may come under huge debt burden by using more credit.
  1. Income to EMI ratio: The thumb rule is that the total EMIs paid by you should not exceed 50% of your Income. Incase you are at a limit of 50% already then lenders will not sanction further loans to you. So even if you apply for a small personal loan and you may have a good score, based on this eligibility criterion, your application may be rejected.
  1. Disputes: Incase you find any discrepancy in your report you can raise a CIBIL dispute. But if you are not happy with your score, you cannot raise a ticket on CIBIL.
  1. Consumer Dispute Remarks: This field has been recently added to the credit report. Here the customer can choose remarks for accounts where a flag has been raised. Such remarks will be available on the report for atleast a year.
  1. Details recorded:
    1. Under the “Accounts” section of your report, the date of last payment, payment frequency (for eg: monthly) and Actual amount paid are recorded for every credit account.
    2. Information about all the loan accounts is maintained under “Accounts” section of your report. Details of total credit limit, sanctioned limit, rate of interest and outstanding balance are all recorded and updated periodically in your credit report. Details of collateral are also recorded in the report.
    3. Information regarding all “hard enquiries” is recorded under the “Enquiries” Section of your report.
    4. Loans on which you are a guarantor, an add-on card holder, status of accounts (closed, settled etc) are all recorded in the credit report.

Summary

The long and short of it is that even if you have a favourable score, you may face a rejected loan or credit card application due to unfavourable factors in your credit report. It is only vital and advisable that you plan your finances in such a way that both the elements are taken care of.

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