Is all the hype on credit score justified?

If one had applied for a loan a decade or so back, they would have required the relevant documents, knowing the bank manager or knowing somebody who knew the bank manager and could “introduce” the applicant. Knowing the manager or being introduced to the manager ensured that the lender knew about you being a reliable borrower or a trustworthy person which could not be established by simply looking at the documents. Lenders want to give money to those who can be trusted and this judgment was made in a subjective way in the past and often backfired. Things in today’s times have changed; now this “trustworthiness” or “creditworthiness” can be established in a more objective way; with the help of the credit score.

So What is a Credit Score?

Before focusing on the hype that surround the credit score and if it is justified or not we will try and understand what the credit score is. The credit score is a three digit number that reflects the creditworthiness and also the credit health of the individual. This rating is calculated based on the credit history of the individual; this history must be at least six months old and includes various aspects related to loans, credit cards and other credit behavior.

Based on five main parameters that are namely the repayment history, credit mix, credit utilization, inquiries and loan tenure the credit score is calculated. Amongst the five the repayment history is the most important parameter followed by credit utilization. These aspects are used to arrive at the credit score of the individual. The Credit Information Report which is a detailed contains a lot of information related to loans and the individual apart from the credit score.

Why is it Important?

So now we know how the score is calculated. So, why is it important? The score is important as it lets the prospective lender judge if the prospective borrower can be trusted or not. Let us start from the beginning. When an applicant applies for a loan, he/she submits an application along with the required documents. A financial institute will get hundreds of applications, they want to be sure that they lend the money to the right candidate, a person who can be trusted and is credit worthy. So how do they do this? This cannot be judged by simply look at the documents and the application form. This is what brings us to the credit rating.

The prospective lender will ask for the CIR of the applicant and based on the CIR the lender will decide whether to go on to the next step or not. The score is calculated based on the past credit behavior of an individual, thus the lender can make an assessment whether a person is likely to be a responsible borrower or not or is likely to default based on his past behavior and his current debt obligations.

Each financial institution will have its own set of rules and requirements when it comes to accepting a loan application or not. One of the criterions that the applicant has to comply with also concerns the credit rating of an individual. Thus those who have a score that is less than what is acceptable to the lender will not be sanctioned a loan, their application is likely to be rejected at the first step only. The acceptable credit score varies not only with the lender but also may differ depending on the loan type.

Generally a score of 750 is considered to be good enough to get a loan sanctioned. As per the statistics by CIBIL 79% of all loans sanctioned are to those people who have a score of 750 plus. If you are looking for a loan and have a score below this, it is a good idea to improve CIBIL score before you apply for a loan.

So is thy Hype Justified……

To clarify CIBIL or any other rating agency does not specify who should be given a loan or not, they just collect the data from various lenders and arrive at a score based on it. However, having said that almost all lenders look at an individual’s credit score before deciding whether to lend to him/her or not. Thus getting a loan or a credit card is heavily dependent on a healthy credit rating else your chances of getting a loan approved go down. Even if one were to get a loan with a low score it would be at higher interest rates. So yes the credit score is important and one must focus on keeping it healthy, not for the hype but for your own sake.

 

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