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.
- Analyse your report to see where you stand and identify actions that are bringing your score down.
- Pay your bills before the due date
- Do not use more than 30% of the available credit limit on your credit cards.
- Avoid opening unnecessary credit card accounts
- Do not close old credit card accounts
- Maintain a good mix of revolving and instalment credit.
- 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.