Things You Must Know About Top-Up Loans

Mr. Arora took a home loan with a 15-year tenure at an attractive interest rate. However, after 7 years he realized he felt the need of renovating his house. So, just like most people he thought a personal loan would be a good idea to cover the expenses and started looking for a good deal. Unfortunately, he couldn’t find a personal loan with an affordable interest rate even though he didn’t have a problem of a bad CIBIL score or bad credit history.

With the burden of this loan already on his shoulders, Mr. Arora desperately needed to arrange the funds for his home renovation in a way that it didn’t burn a hole in his pocket. This is when his friend told him about it.

What’s a Top Up Loan?

A top-up loan is a small loan you get on top of your primary loan- mainly a housing loan. The interest rate on a these loan is usually smaller than a full-fledged personal loan. Moreover, you can also enjoy tax benefits with a top-up loan.

The following are some of the things you must know about top-up loans:

  1. Qualification

These loans have their benefits, but just because you are repaying a house loan, it doesn’t mean that you automatically qualify for them. Your lender will inquire about your reason for a it and will make a decision at their discretion.

The following are some of the good reasons:

  • Medical expenses
  • Home renovation
  • Land purchasing
  • Education expenses
  • Business Expansion
  1. Collateral

Since a top-up loan is provided on the basis of a primary loan i.e. a house loan you don’t need to provide security for the same. The bank uses the house as collateral. However, this means that even after you have repaid your loan you have to wait until you have repaid the top up loan as well to get back the rights to your house from your bank.

  1. Interest Rate

The interest rate on a top-up loan is 1% to 2% higher than the housing loan. However, it’s still lower than most personal loans available. You may also get to pay a smaller processing fee.

  1. Tax Benefits

If you are using it for acquire/renew/construct/ or repair a property then you are eligible for tax deductions on the amount paid for the principal amount and the amount paid for the interest on the loan as per Section 80C and Section 24 respectively.

Top-up Loans Conditions

Although the eligibility criteria for a varies from one bank to another, the following are some general conditions:

  • You should be availing a home loan from the bank/ financial institution.
  • Most banks require you to repay the home loan for 6 months to 12 months, or even more before you can apply. They do this to assess your repayment habits. Thus, you should not have a low CIBIL score or bad credit report. If that’s the case, you must take measures to CIBIL score before sending an application.
  • The usual permissible loan amount is calculated on the following basis:

permissible amount= 70% to 80% of the market value of the property- loan balance

So, if your house is worth Rs. 50 lakhs in the market and the pending debt is Rs. 25 lakhs, then you can only get a maximum of Rs. 10- 12 lakhs through it.

  • Many banks limit the tenure according to the outstanding term of your current loan. So, if your loan term ends in 9 years, then the maximum length of top up loan tenure would be 9 years.

If your credit history is good and you don’t need to improve CIBIL score then availing a top-up loan is an excellent option over others such as personal loans, etc. This is because the process of a top up loan is simple and easy. Moreover, you don’t have to offer another property as collateral with them.

Does credit card limit has any impact on your credit score?

A good CIBIL score ensures that you can have an easy access to financial services in times of need. You can qualify for loans at a low rate of interest as a good CIBIL rating demonstrates that you are financially stable. There are several factors that go into the calculation of a credit score. Though different agencies have different credit scoring algorithms the major influencing factors for all of them include the payment history, credit utilization ratio, length of the credit history, type of accounts and new credit.

Credit utilization ratio has a strong correlation with the credit score. This ratio depends on two factors. Your total outstanding balance and the credit limit. A credit limit is the maximum amount that will be extended to you by the lender. You cannot charge more than that amount within a stipulated period of time. If you do not know your credit limit, you can either sign in to your credit card account to view the limit or call and ask the card company.

The credit utilization ratio is calculated by dividing the total outstanding balance on all revolving accounts with the total credit limit. For example if you have a credit limit of Rs 3,00,000 and your outstanding balance at the end of the month is Rs 2,40,000, your credit utilization ratio is 2,40,000/3,00,000 i.e 0.80. This means that you are using 80% of the available credit. This high ratio is a strong warning sign of credit risk. It indicates that either you are living beyond your means or you are experiencing financial difficulty. Your profile is considered risky as you may have trouble making future payments. Hence a high utilization will bring your credit score down. If your outstanding balance is only Rs 30,000 then the ratio will be 30,000/3,00,00 i.e 0.10. A low utilization ratio is a sign of financial soundness as you are not using too much of available credit. This works in favour of the credit score. Hence the credit card limit directly affects the credit utilization ratio and therefore the credit score of an individual.

Does a low credit limit translate into a low score?

If you have a low credit limit, it does not necessarily mean that you will have a low credit score. If you pay your credit cards in full each month before the due date and do not carry any balances your credit utilization ratio will be zero. In this case the amount of credit limit will not have any effect on the score. It is always a good idea to keep the credit card balance as low as possible in relation to the total credit limit. If you do so you can keep the overall credit picture healthy even if your limit is not too high.

Should you request for a credit limit increase to raise your score?

 

If you are looking to improve credit score, then a higher credit limit will definitely be a good thing. You can either request your current credit card company to raise your limit or apply for a new credit card. Even if the amount owed by you remains the same, a high limit will result in a lower debt utilization. It is suggested to keep the utilization below 30% if you are trying to improve credit score.

 

When a card company extends your credit limit it increases the amount of debt you can incur and gives you greater buying power. Just make sure that a high limit does not tempt you to increase your spending, otherwise the whole purpose of getting the limit increased will be defeated. Take into account your saving goals and exercise financial discipline. Use the limit only when you really need it. If you are not careful you will carry more balances each month and that will translate into paying more interest to the card company.

 

Will closing a credit card account affect my credit score?

It is never a good decision to close old unused credit cards just for the sake of cleaning up your credit profile as far as credit score is concerned. That’s because closing a card will reduce your total credit limit available and increase your credit utilization ratio.

Your credit card limit surely has an effect on the credit score. But it is only one piece of the puzzle. If you are trying to improve credit score it is necessary to look at the bigger picture. Paying down outstanding balances and maintaining a clean track record of on time payments also go a long way in enhancing your score.