What Do the Credit Score Numbers Mean?

A credit score plays an important role when it comes to opting for a loan or a line of credit like a credit card. Credit scores are used by lenders and various Non-banking financial services to evaluate your capability to avail a loan and make decision whether they can offer you a credit. The score is a result of your payment patterns, any default payments, any past settlements and many more.

There are many different scores which are available in the market for the lenders like Experian, Equifax and so on but Indian banks and non-banking financial services companies prefer CIBIL as their lead bureau for credit scores. Credit Information Bureau India Limited also known as CIBIL was founded in year 2000. It helps providing credit information to Indian banks to filter loan applications.

There are different categories of cibil score which helps boost your loan application and also gives you added benefits while availing a loan. The score ranges from 300 to 850, each financial transaction either contributes or downturn your cibil score.

Today we will sight the score breakdown and help you to understand what the credit score mean,

Score 0-349

If your credit score is between 0-349 this means you have no lending record. Many of us think to make our purchases on cash and do not take loan for any purpose but a no cibil score is equivalent to a bad cibil score. Always try getting small consumer loans from time to time and make regular payments on the same to see a great hike on your score. This will help you get started with the process and in future if you need a bigger loan like a home loan or a personal loan you will be able to avail a loan with ease.

Score 350-650

If you are in this category of credit score, most probably you have made a lot of financial mistakes like not paying your dues on time also if there is a settlement in your account. This will definitely hamper your chances of getting a loan in future. If you have not made a payment on time the transaction remains in your report for at least 5 years. A low cibil score will always pull you backwards from financial harmony, if you need help with repairing your credit, you can always approach a financial professional.

Score 650-699

This is termed to be a safe zone and you need to work hard to reach in the good score range. If you are in this category it is much likely you will get a loan but chances are you will need to pay much higher interest rates as compared to other options available in the market. Try not to default any loans further and you credit score will be up in no time.

 

 

Score 700-759

This category is called the safe category. In general terms you can easily get a loan from any lender without any hassles. This indicates that you make all your payments on time with almost no defaults and also your credit balances are low. If you are applying for a loan, you will get high priority as compared to others and you can also negotiate on the interest rates offered by the bank.

Score 760+

We can say that, very few people achieve this milestone. You can be in high demand between lenders if you fall in this range category. This credit score range means you have financial integrity and do not default your payment even by mistake. You have a long history of line of credits without a single default. They receive the best offer available in the market and also can negotiate with the lender on interest rates, processing fees and so on. It is really hard to achieve this breakthrough, but is even harder to maintain the same.

A credit score states a lot about you when it comes to financial integrity and how you manage your loan funds. It is a ladder you can use to achieve financial milestones and achieve an easy credit in desperate times, but the same factor can be the worst nightmare of your life and can haunt you for a very long time. Borrow responsibly and repay well to live in financial harmony.

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4 Things which look harmless but can hurt your score

A credit score affects one’s financial life in numerous ways. We all know that missing a credit card payment or loan EMIs will damage our credit profile. But there are some things that look harmless but can have a drastic negative impact on our score. Avoid these financial decisions to avoid unexpected surprises.

Co-signing a loan – If your friend or a family member is not able to qualify for a loan, you may not find any harm in co-signing a loan in order to help him. However one needs to understand the financial implications of such a decision. Co-signing a loan has almost the same effect on your credit score as signing a loan oneself. The co-signed loan account will appear on your credit report like any other debt. By co-signing a loan you become legally responsible for paying the loan EMIs if the primary borrower fails to do so. If the primary borrower makes a late payment or misses a payment altogether then it will affect your credit profile as well. Co-signed loans are considered while calculating your debt to income ratio even if they are being paid on time. It reduces the lender’s perspective of how much you can afford to pay back and hence reduces your ability to borrow funds. So if you are planning to apply for a home loan in near future it is better to avoid co-signing for others.  If you do co-sign a loan and take a risk of its implications it is imperative that you check your credit report and score regularly. Keep track of how the co-signed loan is affecting your credit score.

 

Closing old credit card accounts – Sometimes in an effort to clean up credit reports and take control of one’s finances, people close their old credit card accounts that they no longer use. But doing so affects the score negatively. Credit utilization ratio that is a major determiner of CIBIL score is calculated by dividing the total credit card balances by the total available credit limit. Closing old credit cards, reduces your available credit limit and hence increases your utilization levels. This has a major negative impact on the credit score. Length of the credit history also affects one’s score. Old accounts help in raising the average age of your accounts that is good for the credit score. Closing them will reduce the average age of accounts and lower your score.

Paying off an old charge offs- It may be hard to believe but yes, paying off old charge offs can actually reduce your score than increase it. Charge off accounts are those that you haven’t paid and the lender no longer expects any further payments on them. Payments on these accounts will reactivate them and make them appear more current. The collection agency may report it as a new debt than a written off debt. As new accounts have a greater weightage during the credit score calculation, paying written off accounts can bring a drop in your score.  Make sure you do not do any such mistakes before applying for a home loan. Even a few points of score can affect your home loan approval process.

Pushing credit limit- We all know that credit utilization has a major impact on our credit score. That is why it is advised to keep this utilization level below 30%. But what many don’t know is that paying off the balance in full each month may not necessarily mean that you have low utilization levels. If you are in a habit of maxing out your card often you may have high utilization levels that maybe affecting your score negatively. The balance that is used to calculate the credit score is your last statement balance. So if you have charged an amount close to your limit, you will have a high credit utilization ratio. Such over dependence on credit impacts your score negatively.

People who have been diligently paying off their debt obligations can also have a low credit score if they make some of the above mistakes. If you find yourself in such a situation do not despair. You can still apply for loans for bad credit where lenders do not just go by a theoretical evaluation of score. They weigh several other factors to determine your eligibility. So if you are an otherwise responsible borrower, but your credit score took a hit because of the above reasons, you can easily get approved for loans for bad credit.

What is the Lowest Credit Score One Can Get?

Credit scores have caused a lot of anxiety in recent time. Whether you wish to apply for a credit card, take a loan to buy a car or house or refinance your existing loan; a minimum credit score criteria is a major hurdle that needs to be crossed. Lenders base their approval decisions on the score that you have attained. That is why people are consciously making efforts to increase their CIBIL score.

If you haven’t been paying attention to your score you may be wondering what could be the worst case scenario with your credit profile. What is the lowest credit score that you can get? While a credit score range depends on the credit scoring model that a specific bureau uses to calculate the score, in most cases this number lies between 300 and 850. So theoretically your score can go as low as 300, though it happens rarely.

There are several situations that may cause the score to sink to the bottom. Items like bankruptcy, judgements and tax liens on your credit report are some major causes. Apart from these, information regarding overutilization of credit, late payments, missed payments, and accounts that go into collections also find their way to the credit report and cause your score to plummet. A credit history with a combination of these causes will result in a rock bottom score.

So if the credit score is above the 300 mark, does that mean that you can sit back and relax? Not at all! A score between the range of 300-550 isn’t considered a very good score by the lenders. Each lender has his own threshold mark based on the amount of risk that he is willing to take. You will find it hard to qualify for loans with leading financial institutions if your score is below the 600 mark. So if the score fails to satisfy the minimum threshold limit for most lenders, then you will need to resort to bad credit personal loans. These loans are given at a very high rate of interest to cover the high risk financial behaviour of the borrower.

Can you do something to increase your score? The good news is “yes”. A credit score is a snapshot of your past credit behaviour. If you start doing positive things that are good for the score, it will start showing improvement in a few months time. To begin with, you can get a secured credit card. Here you will be required to deposit an amount that serves as your credit limit. Since the issuers do not check the credit score, this card is easy to obtain even with a low score. Use the card for small expenses every month and make timely payments. You can also take a bad credit personal loan and start making timely payments to build positive history. As new positive information gets recorded on the credit report the effect of old negative information starts diminishing.

People with an excellent credit score have a long history of on time payments and low balances on their credit card. Since they are at the least risk of defaulting such people can easily qualify for loans at low rate of interest. Even if your credit profile is in a very bad shape you too can aim to achieve a high score, by practising good credit management. Here are some good financial habits that you should follow.

  1. Analyse your report to see where you stand and identify actions that are bringing your score down.
  2. Pay your bills before the due date
  3. Do not use more than 30% of the available credit limit on your credit cards.
  4. Avoid opening unnecessary credit card accounts
  5. Do not close old credit card accounts
  6. Maintain a good mix of revolving and instalment credit.
  7. Check your credit report for errors and dispute if you find any discrepancies.

When you are on your journey of rebuilding credit make sure no new negative items enter your credit report. As new positive information gets recorded in the report you will be able to put all your past problems behind and hope for a bright future ahead.

How to Save Money on Your Loans and Improve Your Credit Score in the Report

Loans are part and parcel of our life these days. Anyone who is financially prudent seeks loans to build assets and lead a lifestyle of their choice. Your ability to borrow is not limited to what you earn every month rather your ability to manage finances is something that defines your credit worth. In fact the colour of your credit report indicates your credit health.

Most of us use multiple credit accounts these days like credit cards, auto loan, home loan, personal loan, to name a few. The appetite for credit is not limited to day to day requirements and many of you would desire more loans such as student loan, travel loan or business loan. You can practically borrow for any purpose these days. However your past credit history define if you could borrow more or not.

Anyone who has a current mortgage or multiple loans would probably be using enough of his credit limit. To borrow more you would need to save on your previous loans and create a gap between what you earn and what you are utilizing. It is important to know how to save money on your loans and improve your credit score in the report.

The higher is the score, higher is your loan eligibility. Thus you should always pay attention to your CIBIL score calculation and assess your credit report at least twice a year. Factors that help your credit score include: regular repayment of loans and credit bills, credit utilization ratio, length and age of credits, credit mix and history of loan queries.

Saving on Loans and Improving Credit Score in the Report
One of the smart ways to increase your credit score and avail better rate of interest on a long term loan is by closing your previous loans. By prepaying your previous loan you would build a good history and boost your credit score.

If you are planning home purchase and need loan for the same, the lender would assess your credit history before offering the loan. With low CIBIL score or not so perfect score your low eligibility is low and you could be offered interest on higher rate.

However by prepaying your previous loan you would be marked as a potentially worthy customer and your loan application would be approved. Likewise prepayment of loan also saves you enough money.

To understand how let’s take an example.

Mr. Rajeev Shukla is an IT professional and he has savings of Rs 1000000 in his bank account. His net monthly income (after tax deduction) is Rs. 80000. He spends Rs 10000 as credit card expense every month which he diligently pays before the due date every time. He pays Rs 6000 as his car installment which is calculated at 9 percent of interest every month. The auto installments are due for next 4 years. He wants to prepay auto loan, but he has 4 per cent pre-payment penalty if he pays before one more year.

Mr. Rajeev decides to prepay the auto loan as he plans to raise a home loan of Rs. 3000000 after six months.

By prepaying his auto loan Mr. Rajeev reduces his debt to income ratio. This leaves additional credit limit and makes him eligible for more loan. It also gives him more flexibility to pay for his next loan installment. If he has additional six thousand to pay for loan installment every month he can either have a bigger loan or reduce the loan duration by having bigger installments. Also he can use this money for raising student loan for his daughter’s higher education.

Now coming on to prepayment penalty of four percent, how would he compensate that additional prepayment charge? By prepaying the loan he actually saved five percent which he would have paid as interest in the due course of time. If he could manage to get a better interest rate on his home loan for next 20 years he would further save.

By prepaying loan you would not only save money but also improve your score and worth. Thus a financially prudent person looks at his money from its worth for his future plans and never values it conservatively on its current purchasing power.