From January 2017, the Reserve Bank of India made it mandatory for all credit rating agencies to provide a credit report without any cost once a year when a request is made. This means the agencies have no obligation to provide a report themselves, thus if you need a report then you have to expressly make a request as per the guidelines laid down by the agency to get it. Well, does this guideline by the RBI actually translate into free credit score for all those who require?
How to Get Your Free Credit Score?
There are four credit agencies that provide credit reports for individuals in India and each has a different process for getting a credit report. Let us have a look how you can access your free credit score from each one of them:
- Transunion CIBIL: If you want to get your free score from CIBIL you can do so by visiting the website where there is a link at the bottom of the home page for getting a free report. It’s a three step process, the applicant needs to fill a form where basic details need to be filled and then answer a few additional questions for authentication purpose. Post the details being verified the applicant can access his/her report.
- Crif High Mark: They also have a link for getting the free score; it is on the left side bar of the home page. The first step is to fill in basic information, here the information required is more detailed, after filling the form the applicant chooses his/her order, then they authenticate themselves, after which they can download their report.
- Equifax: If you follow the link that is displayed for getting a full free credit report you are directed to a set of guidelines where you are instructed to download an app for the same. The applicant will need to login to the app using a temporary PIN, authenticate themselves and login again after 24 hours. You are given four attempts to answer three questions related to your credit history; once you have completed all steps successfully you get the report on your phone. Those who do not have smart phones can get the report by sending a scanned copy of an identity proof and address proof along with the application form at the mentioned email id.
- Experian: There is no separate link for a free credit report but once you click on the link for getting a report, it takes you to a form where you fill in details as required, get an OTP and then generate a password. After this, you can almost immediately access your report.
So is it Really the Age of Free Credit?
Yes, it is the age of free credit. Each organization has a different process, for some, it is slightly cumbersome and for others, it may be simple and quick. Irrespective of that fact, all rating agencies do provide a free credit report almost immediately or after some delay. If the process is followed the applicant can access their reports if they wish to do so.
Since there are four rating agencies, effectively one can get four credit reports in a year which makes one report each quarter. In case someone wants more reports than that (which is unlikely) then the option of getting it free might not be there.
So what does it mean for you?
Being updated about your credit health has many benefits. It allows you to spot any errors in the report and get them rectified if required, you can improve CIBIL Score by assessing the reason for it being low, and looking at report can also help you detect signs of any identity theft if it happens. Checking your report has many positives, now it costs nothing and it also does not lower your score.
So it’s up to all of you out there to make the best of the situation and stay credit healthy by checking your credit score regularly and that too without paying anything!