Does Credit Score Retires?

Credit rating is a continuous process that begins with the first loan or credit card one takes in their name. Subsequent to that all information related to cards and loans keeps on getting updated in the credit report. The credit score is calculated based on the cumulative information on each loan and card. There are five basic parameters that determine the credit score of an individual. So does credit rating have validity? Does a score retire after a specified time period?

Understanding Credit Scores:

Before we understand whether a credit score retires or not it is important to understand the calculation process for it. Repayment history, credit utilization ratio, loan tenure, credit inquiries and credit mix are the five factors that influence the credit rating.

Repayment records about all loan dues and card dues is reported in the CIR, this is done month on month so as long as a loan is running or a card is active, information on them will keep getting updated. Regardless of the fact whether a loan runs for 15 years or 5 years the record will keep getting updated for that duration. So what happens when the loan is repaid? After that repayment record are not updated but the loan status whether closed or settled is reported in the CIR.

The same applies to the credit utilization ratio too, this information is also continuous as the card would be used on an ongoing basis and this information will also be updated monthly and the score would reflect that too. Hard enquiries (when a prospective lender asks for an applicant’s score) would be reported in the report as and when an enquiry is made. Information about credit mix and loan tenure is also dynamic in nature and would depend on the individual’s treatment and nature of their debt.

So Do Credit Scores Have Validity?

No, credit scores per se do not have any validity and they do not retire. Credit rating calculation is a dynamic process and gets updated as and when there is a change in parameters (that impact the score) whether positive or negative. However the information that is part of the score calculation has a specific validity and will cease to impact the score after a specified time frame. Repayment history for 36 months is included in the report and only repayment records for past 36 month are included in the score calculation. The more recent information has more impact on the rating. Thus if a default or delay is made more than 36 months back its negative impact will not be felt after this time frame.

Hard inquiries for two years are included in the report however when score is calculated only inquiries made in the last year are factored in. So all inquiries made in the past year will have an impact on the rating; older enquiries will have no impact whatsoever on the score calculation. So anyone who wants to improve CIBIL score should avoid making loan applications without a sufficient gap between two loan applications.

Information about “settled” or “written off” loans stays the longest on a report and this account status must be avoided at all costs. Any “settled” or “written off” loan raises red flags for all future lenders as they may feel that you cannot be trusted as a borrower. This information stays on the report for seven years, thus the validity of this information is seven years.

As we discussed before, information related to loan tenure and debt mix is dynamic. If a loan runs for its full tenure then it is considered good for the rating as a deeper credit trail is good for the credit health. Secured loan and unsecured loan mix is also a factor when the rating is calculated, a bigger proportion of unsecured loans is not good for the score. So as and when the loan proportion changes its impact will vary on the score.

Thus credit scores do not retire and have no validity but some information that is used to calculate them may have some validity and may become redundant after a specified time period.

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