Reality about Credit Score No one will Tell You

Having a good credit score is no longer an option these days. It is necessary to have a good rating as it determines your creditworthiness and your eligibility for the loan. No bank or NBFC sanctions a loan without checking your credit score. The approval decision, amount of loan and rate of interest at which the loan is disbursed, everything is based on the credit rating of the individual. Let’s look at some important credit score facts that one must be aware of in order to maintain a good score.

Do we have more than one credit score?

There are many credit bureaus in India that receive information from the member banks and financial institutions regarding the borrower’s credit behaviour. These are Experian, CIBIL, Equifax and CRIF High Mark. Each bureau may receive updated information at different point in time, hence the information in their credit reports may vary. The scoring model that the bureaus use to arrive at the score also differs. Hence the score that you get from each of these bureaus may differ slightly.

What does a credit rating of 0 imply?

A credit score of 0 implies that one does not have any credit history till now. The credit bureaus that maintain the record of people’s credit behaviour haven’t received any information about your credit behaviour from the member banks, NBFCs or private lenders. By using a credit card or by taking a loan one can start building a credit history. When you charge your expenses on the card, and make timely payment of bill at the end of the month, the payment behaviour gets recorded on the credit report. Similarly payment patterns of EMIs on loan are also reported by the banks. The information on the credit report forms a basis for calculation of CIBIL Score.

What things one must take care to prevent the CIBIL score from falling?

Make all the payments in a timely manner. Any default or late payment reduces your score by a few points. It is a good habit to pay the entire credit card bill and not roll over your balance to the next month. Paying only the minimum balance helps one avoid the late payment fees, but doing so will not free up your credit limit for next month’s expenses. A high credit utilization level has a big negative impact on your CIBIL score.

Will a poor score haunt you forever?

A credit score is just a snapshot of your financial situation that your credit report shows at a particular point in time. When new information gets added to your report, the score will change too. If you have a low score because of your past credit mistakes, it does not mean that you are doomed forever. With consistent good credit behaviour you can get your credit profile back into shape. Pay attention to the factors that help in improving your score and you can improve your credit

Will becoming a guarantor or a co-signer prove risky for your score?

If you help a friend in getting a loan by becoming a guarantor or a co-signer then you put your credit history at risk. Make such commitments only if you are sure of the other person’s repaying capacity. If the borrower does not make timely payments you will be responsible to clear the debt. The loan will be considered your liability. If you fail to make payments on behalf of the borrower then your credit score will take a hit.

Checking your own score will not affect your score negatively

When you order your credit report from any of the bureaus it is considered as a soft inquiry and it does not affect your credit score at all, no matter how many times you check. In fact one must check the credit score regularly. It not only gives one an understanding of one’s credit standing but also helps in uncovering mistakes or errors on the part of the bureaus. However if a lender or a card issuer checks your score to base their approval decisions, it is considered as a hard enquiry and may impact your score for a short term by a few points.

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