Mastering the 5 Rules of Good Credit Health

A credit score is a key factor that is considered by lenders before approving any kind of loan. Even interest rates are also based on the credit health of the individual. So if you aim to achieve a perfect score you must master the 5 rules of good credit health.

Always pay your EMIs and credit card bills on time

Lenders essentially check your credit score to analyse your likelihood of paying back the debts. A good payment history is the key to establishing a good credit score. A responsible and reliable behaviour boosts your credit health. A single missed payment can cause a drop of a hundred points in your credit score. Defaults that are more than 90 days late are the ones that affect the credit score the most. So always pay your bills on time. It is always better to set payment reminders or enrol in automatic payments. Make sure you pay at least the minimum amount on the credit card bill even if you face a cash crunch in a particular month. All late payment records make their way to the credit report and affect your credibility in the eyes of the lender. In case you accidentally missed a payment you can call your lender to explain the situation. He may agree not to report the information to the bureau if you pay the bill and bring your account current.

Keep your credit utilization levels low

The amount of debt that you owe as compared to the overall credit limit determines your credit utilization ratio. Experts recommend that one must keep the utilization levels to below 30% in order to improve CIBIL score. The easiest way to ensure this is to pay off the entire outstanding balance at the end of each month to free up the credit limit. But sometimes the ratio is calculated using the balance outstanding at the time the bill is generated. If one charges too many expenses to the card, the credit utilization ratio may be high even though the entire bill amount is paid. In such a case it is wise to make payments twice a month.

Some other ways of improving the ratio is to request the card issuer for a credit limit increase. One can also open another card and keep low balance on it. This will increase the total credit limit available for use and improve one’s credit utilization ratio.

Monitor your credit reports

Your credit report is a record of how you handle all your debts and serves as a basis for credit score calculation. Inaccurate recording of information by the bureau or identity theft cases can negatively affect your credit health. Check your credit report from all the major credit reporting agencies regularly to ensure that the information recorded there is correct. If you find any errors in the report you must get it rectified by raising a dispute with the bureau. The bureau usually takes 30 days to investigate the issue and update the credit report.

Be strategic about taking new debts and closing old accounts

Credit scoring models take into consideration new enquiries for CIBIL score calculations. Applying for too many debts in a small period of time will result in a lot of hard enquiries and affect your credit health negatively. It raises a red flag for the lenders signalling that you may be a desperate borrower who may not have the ability to repay the loan back on time. So do not apply for too many loans or credit cards at the same time. It is better to spread your applications over a few months.

Do not close your old accounts as the length of the credit history plays a significant role in establishing your credit health. Having an available credit limit on unused old credit cards helps in keeping credit utilization levels low. Also if you have a good payment track record on an old account, it is good to keep it open so that it affects your score positively.

Consider credit mix

Scoring models also consider the type of credit that a person takes on. A good credit mix of both revolving as well as instalment accounts helps in establishing a good credit rating. So if you show that you can responsibly handle repayments of different types of financing tools like credit cards as well as personal loans it will be good for your score.

Mastering these 5 mantras is the recipe for a good credit score.

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