The 4 Things That Affect Your Credit Score

It’s foolhardy to underestimate the significance of CIBIL score. You might be earning a sizeable income and have multiple assets to your name, but if your CIBIL score is not up to the mark, you can lose the very chance of obtaining a personal loan, home loan, or rather any other type of credit from a bank.

Fortunately, it’s never too late to start caring about your CIBIL score calculation. So, if you want to become more careful with your credit usage, it can help to learn about the top 4 things that affect your CIBIL score:

  1. Payment History

Late payments are often the biggest reason behind a low CIBIL score. These include credit card bills, loan EMIs, etc.

When you don’t pay your credit card bills, etc. on time, it reflects irresponsibility towards money management. Moreover, it shows that you can’t be trusted with credit. Thus, credit rating companies such as CIBIL, Equifax, etc. can deduct a large number of points from your score.

If you want to increase credit score in the fastest way possible, then just start paying your bills on time. Set up reminders on your phone if need be, but make sure that you don’t delay a single payment ever.

  1. High Credit Utilization

Credit utilization plays a big role in CIBIL score calculation, but what’s it exactly?

Credit utilization is the ratio of the amount of credit you spend every month on average to the amount of total credit available to you.

For instance, if you have 2 credit cards, with Rs. 50,000 credit limit on each, then the total credit available becomes Rs. 1 lakh. Now, if your monthly expenditure with the cards is about Rs. 60,000, then the credit utilization ratio becomes:

60,000/100,000 = 0.60 = 60%

If your credit utilization ratio is high, then it can have a negative impact on your score. Although the exact threshold varies from one credit bureau to another, usually it’s around 35% to 40%.

So, by lowering the credit utilization ratio you can increase credit score. The following are two ways you can do that:

  • You can stop using your credit cards frequently. Instead, make payments via mobile wallets, net banking, or even cash.
  • Get a new credit card so that the overall limit is increased and the credit utilization ratio is lowered.
  1. Credit Report Discrepancies

When was the last time you checked your CIBIL report? If there are any mistakes in your personal details, banking data, etc. in your report then it can affect your CIBIL score calculation.

To make sure that your CIBIL report doesn’t damage your credit score, it’s important that you go through an updated copy every now and then. The following are some of the things you should look for: unfamiliar credit card/loan accounts; discrepancies in payment history, personal details, etc.; and false tags such as “settled account”, “defaulting”, etc.

  1. Too Many Loan Requests

When you need a personal loan or a home loan on an urgent basis, then it’s natural to assume that submitting multiple applications to multiple banks can greatly increase your odds of getting an approval from at least one lender. However, nothing can be further from the truth.

When you send out the loan applications at the same time, credit bureaus sense an urgency in this behavior which is not good from the lender’s perspective. Thus, your score could take some damage by this.

In other words, rather than increasing the possibility of you getting a loan, sending multiple loan applications around the same time, can, in fact, lower your odds even further.

If you really want to make sure that you get a loan in the first few attempts, then you must check your CIBIL report first. If it’s all good, you can get a loan without a problem. If it’s not, then you can improve it first, and apply for the loan only after that.

So, these were the most common things that can affect your CIBIL score. Be sure to adjust your credit behavior accordingly so that no only you can prevent your score from any damage, but rather increase it even further.

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Length of Credit History vs. Late Payment History, where do you stand?

All of us would have had history as a subject in school. And many of us would also have cribbed about why to learn about something that has gone past. However, the fact is that history is something that all of us have a lot to learn from. We can improve our present by reviewing our past. Goes without saying that our present is an outcome of our actions in past and studying our past does help us in taking better decisions at present.

You must be wondering how is this related to your credit profile. It indeed is. There are two important historical trends that make or break your credit score. In fact these two have the potential to either put you at a position where you are able to save lakhs of rupees or can become part of the loan defaulter list. The two important historical trends that we are referring to here are “length of credit history” and “late payment history”. Let us look at these two important aspects and how do they impact your credibility.

Length of credit history

The length of your credit history means that how long you have been holding a trade line. This is one of the most important aspect reflecting on your credit report that makes your healthier on credit front.

To explain it better, let me put you in a situation. Two known people approach you for Rs 10,000 each. One of them has been known to you for a few years now and you are aware of his history of borrowing money  few times and also about his commitment to repay as soon as the salary gets credited. The other one is a new acquaintance who has joined office about 2 months back and you do not have much awareness about his past. Who would you be comfortable in lending your hard earned money? I am sure your answer would have been the first one.

Similarly the length of credit history reflecting on your CIBIL report helps in establishing a comforting factor with the underwriter of the lending institution. A person who has enjoyed credit facilities from various banks for years v/s a person who is new to credit makes a lot of difference in the process of evaluation.

But the loans keep getting closed over a period. The fact also remains that you would want to pre-close it in case you have some funds available with you. So how to manage the length of credit history? Do not close that old credit card that you may feel has become obsolete in terms of its features. Continuing with that credit card will only help in keeping your credit scores healthy.

Late payment history

While the underwriter evaluates your loan application, the way you have managed your credit in past becomes the single most important factor that can lead to approval or rejection of the application. How have you faired against the payments would lead to impacting the outcome.

Again referring to the above example, if the first person who you had known for a few years had only paid other friends after some follow up or has had defaulted on even one friend’s loan (while paying the others in time) you would be skeptical on extending him with financial help. Just like you, even the structured lending institution would be apprehensive of giving a line of credit to an individual who has had default reflecting on the bureau report. Thus it becomes very important that all loans and credit card payments are happening in time without any delay.

Your length of credit and your repayment history are the two most important pillars of your credit profile and must be maintained. In the absence one may not have access to funding at the time of need.

Is a ‘Perfect’ Credit Score Even Possible? Or It’s a Myth?

The credit score is globally accepted as a signpost to a person’s credit worth. Banks and financial institutions consider this three digit number as a hallmark of your repayment capability. They gauge the risk factor associated with each loan application considering the credit score of the applicant.

In India CIBIL score is primarily considered as the benchmark of a person’s credit score. Credit Information Bureau of India and TransUnion CIBIL Limited are some of the other names of CIBIL which is the premium credit agency of India. It is country’s first credit bureau which modeled a systematic credit scoring system for banks and financial systems.

The CIBIL score is calculated between 300 to 900 points, wherein 900 is the perfect score while 300 is the lowest score. The more closer an individual or a business is to 900 CIBIL score, the better is their credit worth in the eyes of a lender. According to CIBIL 80 % of people with 750 or above points are granted loans by banks.

It is worthwhile to consider here if a good score a guarantee to loan approval? And for that matter, is it practical to get a perfect credit score such as 900 CIBIL points? Is it even possible to attain the perfection or it is just a myth?

It is not possible to state an absolute calculation on what causes low CIBIL score and why. So, let’s find out what compounds a CIBIL score to reach to point of understanding for this query.

Credit score calculations factor in too many aspects which are not absolute in nature and may vary from person to person. Every individual and business vary in terms of their credit worth and so does the impact of their financial moves.

However we can inscribe 5 common factors that affect credit score calculation globally:

  1. Repayments
    To maintain a good credit score, timely repayment of loans and credit bills is a must criterion. Indeed it is one of the key factors that define the stature of your score. According to CIBIL reports discipline in credit repayment can boost your score by 30 to 35 percent. Thus diligent repayment could be your first step towards the perfect CIBIL score.
  2. Credit utilization ratio
    As important it is to repay on time as is to keep a check on your credit accounts. You should always ensure that you do not overuse the credit limit offered to you. Those who exhaust their limit every month are less likely to have a good score. Lenders assume that you are short of cash and your financial situation might be not be as sound for a perfect score. So, using more than your credit limit has a negative impact on your credit report. Indeed it is recommended to limit your credit use far below 30% of total approved limit.
  3. Query
    Always ensure that you do not make multiple queries in a small period of time. Every time you make a query for loan or a credit card, it is marked on your credit report. Frequent queries
    on your report signify credit hungry nature and thus make you financially less strong.

 

  1. Credit mix
    Every time you borrow or use a credit product, the lender undertakes a risk. They charge interest rate to cover up this risk. When you borrow against a property or some other collateral the risk is substantially reduced and thus you are offered a better rate of interest. With this said, I hope it is clear why you should maintain a right credit mix of secured and unsecured loans. Too many unsecured loans restrict your score.
  2. Length of credit

The length of credit history also affects the score. The older is the good history the better effect it will have on your credit report. Thus those who have older history are rated better than new borrowers. This is also why when you close an old credit card with good history, it affects your score negatively.

 

Knowing these factors you can ensure a good score during all the seasons of your life. If however you target the perfection, you need to frequently check your credit report and monitor every activity that hurts your score.

Employers Are Using Credit Checks for Hiring, Hope you are not missing on Good Jobs!

A CIBIL report is like a financial report card that keeps track of your borrowing behaviour. It details the loans that you have taken, your payment patterns and other details relating to your credit history. This information is for sure useful to the banks who use it to evaluate your credit worthiness before granting you loan. In fact the CIBIL score and report have become an integral part of most bank’s loan approval process. But is this information of any use to your prospective employers? It seems very unlikely that your employer would be interested in knowing such details. He should only be concerned about your education qualification, experience, skills and aptitude required to do the job successfully! Right? Wrong!

You may be surprised to hear this, but there are quite a few companies especially in the financial sector who check the credit history before hiring an individual. You may think that your financial health has nothing to do with your capability to perform a job well, but some employers think differently. So next time you go out looking for a job, you need to worry about one more thing apart from your resume and interview preparation; that’s your CIBIL score and report. This practice of reviewing the credit history as a part of employee background check was prevalent in many western countries. Slowly this is gaining acceptance in India as well especially in the financial sector. It will not be long when companies across all sectors will use this as a standard practice.

For what kind of roles is credit check more prevalent?

Positions with financial responsibility, senior executive positions and roles that require handling of confidential or sensitive data usually involve credit checks. Many private sector banks like IndusInd, Standard Charted and DBS bank check the CIBIL report as a part of the thorough background check that they perform before offering a job. Such checks are usually performed for hiring for sensitive roles in an organization.  The rationale behind these checks is that if a person has defaulted on loan payments or not settled credit card dues since long, he may not be considered suitable for handling customer’s funds. Employers use this data to judge how responsible and financially stable you are.

So if your credit report is not in good shape, now is the time to work on improving CIBIL score. As the job market is becoming more and more competitive, companies are analysing the candidates profile more deeply to select the most suitable person for the job. A low CIBIL score may hinder your chances of getting hired for your dream job.

A CIBIL report which shows 100% credit utilization, significant levels of debt, late and missed payments and delinquencies indicates the irresponsible attitude of the individual. If the report shows many settled dues, bankruptcy, foreclosure then you may be seen as an individual with bad intentions. Companies refrain from hiring such individuals as they believe that poor financial health of an individual will have an adverse effect on his or her performance levels at the job. On the other hand a good CIBIL score and report is associated with honesty, integrity and responsibility towards one’s obligations.

What and how can the employer check credit details

Your credit score and credit report are two different things. Your report does not display the three digit number. Your employer can only check your credit report and not your score. Secondly, they cannot do a credit check secretly behind your back. They can do so only after seeking permission from you. The employer will ask you to authorize him and give a written consent to allow him to have a look at your report. So when you sign the authorization documents, you will know that your credit profile will be evaluated. You may refuse a credit check, but then the employers may reject your job application on the grounds that they were unable to complete their screening process.

If you have negative information on your report what should you do?

If you have questionable items on your report, inform the employer before hand as to what they can expect. You need to be prepared with an explanation for the negative record. Companies would want to know how you took charge of the financial situation when you were faced with adversity. Explain what you did to rectify the situation.

Bottom Line

Having excellent skills for the job is no longer enough to guarantee a placement. Employers have adopted the practice of checking CIBIL report to analyse your trustworthiness and attitude towards your responsibilities. So keep a check on your CIBIL report and improve CIBIL score. This will improve your prospects of landing into a good job when you are competing against other equally qualified candidates.

Buying Your First Life Insurance Plan? Here are Things to Keep In Mind

Life is the most valuable asset for anyone and we all shudder at the thought of losing someone we love or for that matter about the loss that our loved ones would endure in case of one passing away.  Though one cannot do anything about the emotional loss that befalls the family in case of death of a loved one but one can take measures to ensure that they do not suffer (especially in the case of dependents) any financial hardships. This is where a life insurance policy comes in; the right life insurance policy would make sure that the dependants are taken care of financially in the event of death of the primary or sole breadwinner. So what should you keep in mind when buying your first life insurance plan?

  • What Life Stage are You In?

If you are buying your first life insurance plan then most likely you are at a stage in life where you have started working recently or have just started a family. However there may be times when you may have missed getting an insurance policy then; better late than never. Each life stage has different requirements and since a life insurance plan is bought primarily to take care of the dependents you need to keep their requirements in mind. As life stage changes so does the number of dependents and the requirements of the family. Insurance needs will be different for an individual who is recently married, both partners are working and they do not have any kids as compared to an individual who has spouse and two kids to support. As the life stage changes so should the insurance cover.

  • How Much Life Cover Do You Need?

The amount of insurance one needs will be dependent on your life stage, your lifestyle and your liabilities too. It is possible that two individuals who are at the same life stage may have different liabilities and hence their requirements may vary. The rule of thumb says that the insurance cover must be ten times the yearly income but there are various methods of calculating how much cover one should have. If one has a loan to service then that should be taken into account when calculating the required life cover, the number of dependents, their education and other requirements etc also must be factored in.

  • Which Plan Suits Your Requirements

There are numerous plans available to take care of the needs of an individual. Term plans give high coverage at low premiums as they are pure insurance plans. Endowment or money back plans guarantee a saving corpus by paying regular premiums and they also provide insurance cover. ULIPs help in wealth creation, though insurance is also provided but the cover provided vis-a-vie the premium is pretty low.  Insurance premiums are dependent on the age, medical health and of course the amount of cover one seeks. Another factor that may impact the premiums is the CIBIL score! Based on the CIBIL score the company will calculate its own insurance score which will indicate the likelihood of a claim. Choosing the right plan based on your requirement is important; for somebody who has just started working and has no liabilities an endowment plan or ULIP could be an option but for someone who wants maximum insurance at lowest premium the Term Plan is the best bet!

  • How is the Claim Process?

As we said earlier an insurance policy is bought to serve the needs of the dependants in the absence the breadwinner. However the policy would be useless if the family is unable to get the funds when they require or the process is too complicated for the family members to follow.  Thus before buying the policy check about the claims process, what is required, how much time it takes and other important aspects related to filing a claim. Do not forget to check the Claim Settlement Ratio of the company as it will give you a fair idea about how the company is at processing claims; it obviously makes sense to choose a company that has higher settlement ratio.

So if you are looking at buying an insurance policy, do keep the above in mind. Also do not forget to try and focus on how to improve CIBIL score so that you can buy a policy without paying higher premiums. A suitable insurance policy is very important for every individual.

Why does the credit score differ between credit bureau?

What is a credit bureau? How does that work? Does that affect my day-to-day life? We are here to give you a proper insight on credit bureaus and their different styles of credit score ratings.

When you apply for a loan, the bank or the non-banking financial firm will try to pull up your credit report. The credit report will have all that is needed to understand you’re past financial history, your current debts. By having a thorough research on the same the bank then considers giving you a loan or any financial product like a credit card. But from where do the banks get the credit report?

There are four major credit bureaus in India; they are Equifax, CIBIL, Experian and Highmark. Majority of banks and Non-banking financial companies in India take assistance of CIBIL in terms of credit report of the customer.

CIBIL was established in the year 2000, Equifax, Experian and Highmark was granted a license in the year 2010 to enter Indian market and help with the credit rating system.

The scoring styles used by all these bureaus are different as they practice differently and do not want to collude with other bureaus.

 The Scoring System

CIBIL- the score ranges from 300 to 900, 300 being the lowest and 900 being the best. You can opt for a free cibil score from various Internet websites, but if you want a detailed report it will cost you INR 500.  It is not necessary to have a perfect 900 to get the loans sanctioned, every bank have their own protocols and you can avail a loan with a low CIBIL score as well but with a high interest rate. You can get the report within 7 working days once applied.

EQUIFAX- Equifax has a different approach when it comes to scores. Their score ranges from 1 to 999, on that 1 being the lowest and 999 being the highest, they more incline on the corporate side rather than individuals, the major services provided by them are Credit risk and fraud, industry diagnostics, etc. They take 10 days to generate the report. You can get it for INR 400.

EXPERIAN- Experian credit ranges just like CIBIL that is between 300 and 900, 900 being the highest and 300 the lowest. Experian on the other hand and more inclined to collection and money recovery, data analysis and customer acquisition. Usually they take 20 days, but with you a speedy process you can get it within 15 days. This will cost you INR 399 + Taxes.

HIGHMARK- the credit range in case of Highmark is a bit complicated, the score ranges from 300 to 850, but the scores are considered poor, if they are below 640 and are excellent when above 720. They specialize in verification, credit assist, data quality management etc.

The reserve bank of India has mandated all the financial institutions to access the credit scores to analyze if the individual is credit worthy.

You can increase your cibil score by fair practicing, pay your bills on time, do not hand on bad debts. With the perfect CIBIL score you can avail a lot of financial benefits, these credit bureaus also help you analyze how you could improve your credit scores. It only used to happen when credit report is used to determine loans, but now we are taking steps towards using it for every little transactions some sited like,

Screening for postpaid SIM card connections, Credit reports for online sellers, fixing insurance premiums, using the report to analyze prospective tenants, etc.

The credit score awareness is less among Indian people, hence they lack in credit discipline. Many people are unaware of the poor credit score and are denied loans. The bureaus play a vital role for banks for determining the credit worthiness of an individual.

How lenders estimate credit for mortgage loan requests?

Are you facing a financial crunch? Are you in need of urgent funding? You may approach a bank with a mortgage loan request.

Financial crisis is a very common problem. Your existing property can however take care of your crisis. A mortgage loan helps you to raise funds to meet financial shortage. This is a Secured Loan in which you keep your immovable property (home) as a deposit and take money from the lender. The borrower needs to repay the loan via regular monthly installments within a particular period of time.

But before you do that, you must know how lenders estimate credit for mortgage loan requests.

Mortgage Loan Eligibility   

Both salaried as well as self-Employed individuals can apply for a Mortgage Loan.

To avail a mortgage credit, you need to carry out certain minimum eligibility conditions. The following are some of the factors considered by the lenders while determining your eligibility for a mortgage loan:

  • Minimum age: You should be minimum of 21 years of age at the time of the loan application.
  • Annual income: What income is required to qualify for a mortgage loan depends on the lender.
  • Existing liabilities (if any): Your monthly liabilities are taken into consideration (say living expenses, other EMIs and bills)
  • The valuation of your property (to be mortgaged): The lender generally approves 80% of the registered value of your property as the loan.
  • Number of dependents: If you are responsible for the livelihood or upkeep of some members in the family; they are your dependents (spouse, kids, and parents).
  • Total work experience and stability in current job: How long you have been in the current organization or business, your qualification definitely play a vital role in assessing your loan eligibility. Lenders prefer stability of job and prefer those who are employed for at least two years.
  • Proper financial documents: You should have proper and relevant financial documents (pay slips, ITR, bank statements) to avail the loan.

Basically after gathering information about your income and debts the lender assesses your credit profile. They determine how much you could afford to borrow. Before prequalifying, they adjudge your ability and willingness to repay the loan.

For ability check, the emphasis is put on your income and job stability. However to check willingness to repay they would ask you the purpose of property use. They would check your credit report to closely study your previous history of meeting any such commitments.

Your credit report speaks volumes about your credit repayment history. Looking into your report if the lender finds the report is plagued with derogatory remarks and red flags, it might reject the loan application. The red flags indicate that you didn’t make timely payment of loans in the past or settled with the bank (that is again did not pay in full). In case there is any delinquency, then a valid reason for the same has to be given with proper evidences. All in all, low CIBIL score literally could scupper your mortgage application.

You are usually entitled to get a Loan Against Property (LAP) up to 80% of the registered value depending on your repayment capacity. It is important to keep in mind that every bank has its own set policy to evaluate your property and assess the borrower’s eligibility to repay the loan.

If you have a good monthly in-hand and you are not servicing any other loan, you are eligible to get 60 times your monthly net income as a loan. However if you seek bigger amount you can use home equity to raise the funds.

So whether you are looking for additional funds to meet educational expenses, marriage expenses, medical expenses or even business reasons you need not worry! If you have a property in your name you can use LAP from any of the banks such as HDFC home loan and meet the financial obligations.

It is important to understand here that there are no fixed rules to estimate the eligibility for mortgage. Each lender would consider an application on individual basis.

Being a borrower however you should do a proper homework and know the amount of loan you seek. You should negotiate as much as possible on loan duration and rate of interest. You should ask the lender if there are any prepayment charges. With a home equity at stake you should not leave any stone unturned to ensure the affordability of the loan.

The Bad Credit Score Survival Advice

A red flag in the credit information report is like a fire in the jungle. You do not know how much damage it would make until it eases off. Surviving bad score is thus not easy. A lot of people might share the tricks of restoring credit score however the truth is, it is easier said than done.

Once ruined it would at least take six months to rebound the low CIBIL score. Many a times the damage stays on your report for years to come. All you can do is pacify the bad history with good history.

Let’s find out how you can cope with bad score and roll over the financial dice in your favor once again.

Seek professional advice on bad credit score survival.
After you come to know about your low score, the first step should be to seek a professional help. When you contact a Credit Improvement Agency, it would assess your credit report and guide accordingly the ways to improve the score.

If however you choose to do it yourself, go for free CIBIL check online and study your report. It will help you understand the gravity of the problem. After studying the report, if you find any errors eliminate them without a delay.

Make a budget and organize your finances
With bad score, your credit worthiness is hurt very badly. You need to take charge of financial conditional and analyze your expenses and incomes. Calculate your net income and know how much you actually have in hands to pay out the debts and installments. You should try to close the expensive cards and accounts first and try to save as much as possible.

Not to mention, you should try to add as much income avenues as possible and try to have some surplus every month. Your sole aim should be to become take your debt utilization ratio to 30% of the limit being granted to you.

Contact your creditors and make a repayment plan
When you have too many debts to manage, you should consider contacting your creditors in a hope to find an option to survive the bad account. Speaking with your lenders may help you find a middle path with lowered interest rate or a new repayment plan.

Raise additional loans to pay off loans / credit cards
After you limit the pressure of debts by closing expensive cards and refinancing of the loans, consider applying for new secured loan to survive the bad credit. You can use the amount to manage your finances and repay diligently all the installments. This would build a good history and gradually improve the score.

Use a co-signor or guarantor to avail low interest loan
When you have bad credit score with red flags in the credit report, it is unlikely that banks would offer you loans at low rate. With bad score you become a risky prospect for the bank and they want to lend only with a certain degree of security. Besides rejection of a loan application further ruins the score. Keeping both the facts in view, you should apply for loans with a co-signor or guarantor.

You can ask your friend, spouse or blood relative with high credit score to become a co applicant or guarantor for you. This would raise the chances of loan approval and that too at normal interest rate.

Use a high worth asset as collateral
With bad CIBIL score each unplanned financial activity would hurt your score further. Besides loan repayment and credit utilization ratio, the mix of loans and length of loans also affect your score. If you have home equity or other high value assets such as Gold, you can use these assets as collateral and raise a secured loan.

Consolidate your debt
When you have too many debts to pay and manage every month, you can consider consolidating them into a big umbrella loan that helps you close all accounts into one. You can consolidate loans as a long term personal loan using your home as collateral. The goal of consolidating loans is to make your monthly repayment affordable and save some surplus every month.

Rent a home/property
Last but not the least you can consider renting your home or part of your home to raise some extra funds and save some amount every month.

Using all these steps you can gradually improve your credit health.

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.

 

Is all the hype on credit score justified?

If one had applied for a loan a decade or so back, they would have required the relevant documents, knowing the bank manager or knowing somebody who knew the bank manager and could “introduce” the applicant. Knowing the manager or being introduced to the manager ensured that the lender knew about you being a reliable borrower or a trustworthy person which could not be established by simply looking at the documents. Lenders want to give money to those who can be trusted and this judgment was made in a subjective way in the past and often backfired. Things in today’s times have changed; now this “trustworthiness” or “creditworthiness” can be established in a more objective way; with the help of the credit score.

So What is a Credit Score?

Before focusing on the hype that surround the credit score and if it is justified or not we will try and understand what the credit score is. The credit score is a three digit number that reflects the creditworthiness and also the credit health of the individual. This rating is calculated based on the credit history of the individual; this history must be at least six months old and includes various aspects related to loans, credit cards and other credit behavior.

Based on five main parameters that are namely the repayment history, credit mix, credit utilization, inquiries and loan tenure the credit score is calculated. Amongst the five the repayment history is the most important parameter followed by credit utilization. These aspects are used to arrive at the credit score of the individual. The Credit Information Report which is a detailed contains a lot of information related to loans and the individual apart from the credit score.

Why is it Important?

So now we know how the score is calculated. So, why is it important? The score is important as it lets the prospective lender judge if the prospective borrower can be trusted or not. Let us start from the beginning. When an applicant applies for a loan, he/she submits an application along with the required documents. A financial institute will get hundreds of applications, they want to be sure that they lend the money to the right candidate, a person who can be trusted and is credit worthy. So how do they do this? This cannot be judged by simply look at the documents and the application form. This is what brings us to the credit rating.

The prospective lender will ask for the CIR of the applicant and based on the CIR the lender will decide whether to go on to the next step or not. The score is calculated based on the past credit behavior of an individual, thus the lender can make an assessment whether a person is likely to be a responsible borrower or not or is likely to default based on his past behavior and his current debt obligations.

Each financial institution will have its own set of rules and requirements when it comes to accepting a loan application or not. One of the criterions that the applicant has to comply with also concerns the credit rating of an individual. Thus those who have a score that is less than what is acceptable to the lender will not be sanctioned a loan, their application is likely to be rejected at the first step only. The acceptable credit score varies not only with the lender but also may differ depending on the loan type.

Generally a score of 750 is considered to be good enough to get a loan sanctioned. As per the statistics by CIBIL 79% of all loans sanctioned are to those people who have a score of 750 plus. If you are looking for a loan and have a score below this, it is a good idea to improve CIBIL score before you apply for a loan.

So is thy Hype Justified……

To clarify CIBIL or any other rating agency does not specify who should be given a loan or not, they just collect the data from various lenders and arrive at a score based on it. However, having said that almost all lenders look at an individual’s credit score before deciding whether to lend to him/her or not. Thus getting a loan or a credit card is heavily dependent on a healthy credit rating else your chances of getting a loan approved go down. Even if one were to get a loan with a low score it would be at higher interest rates. So yes the credit score is important and one must focus on keeping it healthy, not for the hype but for your own sake.