Credit score was something that was unheard till almost a decade and a half back. Now it is not only discussed occasionally but it has become almost a necessity if one wants access to formal credit. If one were to approach any bank or financial institution for a loan the first thing that the prospective lender will do is get the applicant’s Credit Information Report (CIR). All financial institutes access the CIR when they want to assess a prospective client but you as an individual if you want to see how your credit health is or you want to know how to boost your credit score by looking at the grey areas in it then should you do it? Will checking you CIR have any impact on it? Is it a good idea to check your score? Well if you have any doubts the ensuing discussion is just for you.
Hard Enquiry V/S Soft Enquiry
To understand whether checking one’s credit rating impacts it in any way let us understand the difference between a hard enquiry and a soft enquiry. When a Financial Institution or a bank ask for the CIR of an individual it is known as a hard enquiry and as the chart alongside shows it has a 10% bearing on the score calculation. When an individual checks his/her credit score then it is known as a soft enquiry and has no bearing whatsoever on the calculation. So checking your own score will not impact the credit rating unlike a hard enquiry; too many enquiries can impact the credit rating adversely. In fact one has the option of getting a free credit score also; you should check you score from time to time owing to the reasons explained in the following paragraph.
Why Should You Check Your Credit Score?
Now that we have established that checking your own score does not impact it negatively let us focus on why is it beneficial to check your own score periodically. Let us assume that you want to buy a new car during the coming festival season and you apply for a car loan; the loan application is rejected due to a low CIBIL score and you end up missing the special discounts.
Checking you score from time to time makes your prepared for a situation when you may require a loan in the future and beyond loans also if you apply for certain jobs. Yes! You read it correct a poor credit rating could hinder your job prospects too just like it hinders the borrowing prospects. Recently in their recruitment advertisement SBI had asked applicants to check their score before applying. If the rating is low due to some reason, being prepared in advance gives you sufficient time to try and increase the score and be ready to apply for a loan and a job too.
Accessing you CIR also gives you a comprehensive picture of your financial health. Thus beyond loans it could help you in financial planning and also course correction if you are too over leveraged, are late in making payments or there is some unpaid due which you have forgotten about. Looking at your credit report you get a summary of all your open loans, their remaining tenure and so on which can help you prepare for your future. Sometimes there may be an erroneous reporting in the CIR which may impact the score negatively although you might not be at fault. An occasional look at the CIBIL Score can warn you of such a situation and you can take timely remedial action.
So to answer the question asked at the start of this discussion; yes one should check their credit score. Checking you score in no way impacts it negatively; on the contrary it can help you by being prepared to deal with any situation and can also aid in financial planning.