How is my Credit Score Determined?

A credit score plays an important role when you apply for a loan or any line of credit. It’s a three digit number which is used by the banks or lenders to evaluate whether or not they should sanction your loan. It is important to understand what your credit score is before applying for a loan, so that you have an upper hand in loan negotiations i.e. interest rates, processing fees etc.

Imagine you have applied for a loan and your loan gets rejected. You have been told to apply for a loan after you build a good credit score. Many questions will cross your mind like, what is my credit score?  How to check cibil score? How do I improve it? Now this is the tricky part! A credit score is a compilation of a lot of factors associated with your financial things.

Today we will set sight on how a credit score is determined,

Payment History

The most important factor which contributes to your cibil score is your payment history. It accounts for 35% of your score. It is a compilation of factors like : your account information, any default payments, how long the default payments are carried forward, if you have filed for any bankruptcy in the past, etc. If you would like to see a good hike on your cibil score, you should make regular payments to the lenders and make sure you do not have any default payments.

Your balance payments

The credit bureaus have each and every financial detail of yours. They monitor your financial activities on regular basis. Your credit score also gets influenced by the amounts owed by you to the banks or lenders. For example, you have a credit card and its limit is around 1 lakh rupees, imagine you have spent a fortune on the same and when the due date arrived, you converted a lot of transactions into EMIs. This way you have blocked your limit at the same time you owe a lot of money to the bank and the same is reported to the bureaus. It contributes a whopping 30% to your cibil score! It’s better to spend less rather than spending more and facing financial instabilities

Length of Credit

Building a good cibil score is a lengthy process and you need to start somewhere or the other. Once you have applied for a loan or any other financial product like a credit card your transactions start getting recorded with the bureaus. Various accounts have different accountability to your score. For example, if you applied for a home loan, the loan account will be active for at least 15 years. On the other hand a car loan lasts maximum for 5 years. Let’s take a credit card for example. It does not have an account expiry date and you can use the same, until the time you don’t want to close it. It contributes 15% to your credit score. In any case, do not close your credit card account, as that will influence your score under payment history section.

Number of inquiries

We understand there are a lot of financial products available in the market. Some of them so mouthwatering, you would definitely like to get it. Did you happen to know, for each financial product inquiry; your cibil score is being checked? The more inquiry you make with the bureau, the more your chances are to get your cibil score down. As there are a lot of products in the market, only go for the product which is tailored to your need and try making fewer inquiries with the credit bureaus.

Types of Credit Used

There are various credit accounts with which you can be associated with. The cibil score is also determined with the types of credit accounts you hold like, loan accounts, credit cards, etc.

This is just tip of the iceberg as far as credit score goes. It is important to know all these factors and how they contribute to your cibil score. But what’s more important is how you are managing your finances. The more you are financially responsible, the more you have chances of getting a loan without any hassles.

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The Credit Report You Haven’t Seen Yet, May Scare you

People who are careful about their physical health usually go in for an annual health check-up, just to make sure that everything is fine. Similarly people who take their financial health seriously should keep an eye on their credit score and report on a regular basis. Your credit report shows a complete record of all the credit accounts. Your credit score is calculated based on the information in credit report. Depending on how you manage your credit and how you handle the payments the credit score determines whether you are a worthy borrower. Checking your free CIBIL report every year helps in keeping your financial life in order. It helps in making sure that all information recorded about you is true and up to date. It helps in uncovering frauds in a timely fashion before the situation goes out of control.

Many people do not care about credit reports until they find a need for a new loan. Many people just check their report before finalizing a car loan, to see whether their credit profile is strong enough to help them bargain for better interest rates. If you are one such individual who hasn’t paid attention to your credit report till now, you may be in for a big surprise. You may find entries in your report that may give you a shock of your life.

Errors in CIBIL report are quite common these days. Such errors are capable of bringing a huge dip in credit score if not corrected on time. Identity theft cases are already on the rise. If someone is using your name to commit a fraud or if someone is charging credit card expenses in your name you may not even be aware of it until you check your credit report.

Finding out that your credit profile is in a mess at the time when you are seeking out a car loan is quite scary. To avoid such a situation one should regularly order the CIBIL report and check it for accuracy.  Check whether you recognize all the loan accounts and credit card accounts that are opened in your name. Ensure that you recognize the transactions made using credit card. If you spot any accounts in your report that you have not opened, any transactions in the billing statements that do not belong to you, or any collection notices that you do not recognize then it could be an identity theft case that may ruin the credit rating.

Immediately report such cases to the creditors who are reporting the fraudulent information and dispute these errors with the credit bureaus. You may also put a fraud alert to the credit report so that no new accounts are opened in your name. Follow up with the bureau till the item is removed from the report.

You should even get small errors like misspell name or address rectified. Such small errors, if not rectified on time, may become a reason for a bigger problem later on. If you want to protect your financial life you should take the complete onus of ensuring that your report is showing true and correct information. To get the errors fixed you can submit a dispute to the credit bureau through email. The bureau will contact the original source of information to verify the details. You may even send supporting document as proof to both the bureau and the creditor to speed up the process.

Apart from errors, even true information in the credit report might take you in for a surprise. Many a times, it is only when you see your credit report and analyse the factors that are bringing your score down do you realize your mistakes that you’ve been doing in the past.  A review of correct information like late payments helps in realizing that small mistakes can prove disastrous for the credit score.

With millions of consumer records being processed every day, errors in credit reports are bound to happen. If you want to avoid unpleasant surprises at the time you need your score to be at its best during loan approvals, monitor the report on a regular basis. It will help you uncover problems before they become difficult to manage. Order your free CIBIL report today.

Mistakes to be avoided when trying to improve CIBIL score

A credit score is something that reflects your credit history and thus it is something that cannot be built or destroyed in haste. A lot of factors contribute in making or breaking your credit rating. Being a responsible borrower is the simplest way to having a good cibil score; but if you have not done that then you will have to work on trying to get a better score. While there are certain things that can help you build your score, there are some other aspects that can pull it down. So here is a look at few things to avoid if you are looking at improving your score.

  • Excessive Use of Credit Card: Credit cards are a great convenience but their use may often be criticized as one can easily go overboard and regret it later. However one may think that if they manage to pay their full dues on time the credit card usage will never cause a problem, but this notion is wrong. Using your card judiciously is important if you are looking at improving your score. This means that you need to limit your credit card expenditure per cycle to 40% or less of the sanctioned cared limit. This is known as credit utilization ratio and this needs to be calculated per card wise as well as for all cards put together in case of multiple cards. High credit utilization can harm the score as the user appears to be credit hungry.
  • Making too Many Inquiries: When you apply for a loan, the lender seeks your CIR from the credit agency which is known as a hard inquiry. Each hard inquiry is recorded in the CIR and impacts the score negatively. Thus if you truly require a loan then make sure you research well before you actually apply for a loan. This will ensure that your loan application is not rejected which will eliminate the need to apply for a loan elsewhere. So for example if you want to buy a new car and need a loan for it, then carefully research about car loans Check which lender offers loans at what rates, what is the LTV ratio, what are the documents required, at what credit score they are willing to offer loans and so on. You should then approach a lender who you know meets your requirements and who will be willing to lend to you based on your rating and profile. Refrain from making unnecessary enquiries.
  • Settling an Account: Consider an example to understand this aspect. Priya is looking at improving her credit score so that she can apply for a home loan next year. She goes through her CIR and spots an old credit card debt; she decides to take care with an aim of improving her score. She got in touch with the credit card company and she paid the dues after some negotiation. Hoping to see her score improve she got her CIR but was dismayed that it had reduced further. If you are as confused as Priya that why did this happen then we have an explanation. When you pay old dues then the fate of your score depends on how this repayment is reported. If the account is reported as settled then it could mean trouble as it will raise a question mark in the minds of all future lenders about getting their money back in full. If the debt is reported as simply being paid then it will have an opposite impact.  
  • Guaranteeing a loan without thinking: Sometimes an applicant may find it difficult to get a loan on his/her own due to lack of proper documents, low score, not meeting the eligibility criteria and so on. In such a scenario they may ask someone to guarantee their loan. Well this can definitely ease out the problems for the person seeking the loan but may cause the guarantor to land in a tricky position without realizing so. If the applicant fails to pay his/her dues on time then the guarantor may be asked to do soon. What’s more each delayed payment can harm the score of the guarantor as well. So though you may be servicing all your loans on time you score may still be low because of a loan you guaranteed. Thus if you plan to guarantee a loan, do it after being sure about the applicant, you own ability to service it in case the applicant fails to so and also after you are sure about its impact on your own credit score.

Often small things can cause your score to dip. Thus make sure you steer clear from the above mistakes if you want to be credit healthy.