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Credit Score plays an important role when you apply for a credit card or loan. It is a 3 digit number that reveals the creditworthiness of an individual to banks and other financial institutions.
Credit Score is calculated using your credit history, which contains information such as your payments history, number of loans or credit card used by you, etc. In India, there are 4 major Credit Information Companies, namely CIBIL, Experian, Equifax and Highmark.
A high credit score increases your chances of getting a loan or credit card and a low score completely ruins it. Banks do not like to give loans or credit cards to people with a low score because they do not trust them with their money. Despite having a low score, if you get a card or loan, then your credit limit may be low or you might have to pay a very high rate of interest. To prevent this, you must improve your credit score.
Table of Contents
There are different ways using which you can repair your credit score. Some of them are as follows:
One of the important things that you must do to improve your credit score is check your credit report. Doing this will help you in identifying errors in your report. If you find mistakes in your report, you must get it rectified immediately. As the credit score is calculated based on the information mentioned in the credit report, it is very important for you to ensure that this report is free of errors.
If you have any outstanding credit card bills or loan, you must pay it off immediately to repair or improve your score a bit. Payment history is one of the factors that is taken into consideration while calculating the credit score. If you have a history of delayed payments, then your score will be low and vice-versa. It is a good idea to activate payment alerts or auto debit facility to ensure that you always pay your credit bills or EMIs on time. Also, avoid paying only the minimum amount due on your credit card always as it will increase the outstanding balance of your card. Try to pay the full bill to keep the outstanding amount low.
It is another major factor that is considered while calculating the credit score. The amount of credit that is available to you versus how much of it you are using shows your dependency on credit money. It is advisable that people keep their credit utilization below 30%. So, if you have multiple credit cards, keep a check on how much money you are using on credit. Also, try to find a credit card issuer who will accept multiple payments in a month.
Some people tend to remove old accounts or deactivated accounts or accounts with negative history from their credit report to make it look good. Some even try to get their old debts removed from their reports once they pay them. This may not be a very smart thing to do. Agreed that negative things are bad for the score, but they are automatically removed from the credit report after a period of time. Getting old accounts removed may harm your score a lot as they may have a good repayment history. Also, if you have paid your debts, then you should keep them in your report as they will improve your score and also show your creditworthiness.
Many people whose scores fall drastically are ones who do not plan their finances well. If you apply for too many credit cards just to increase your credit limit, but are unable to pay the bills off on time of all of them, then you will be left with a huge outstanding balance and history of delayed payments that will decrease your score by a lot. Also, applying for unplanned loans can leave you in a very bad financial state, if you are not able to repay them. Thus, it is important to plan credit and apply for a credit card/loan only if it is absolutely required and when you are sure that you will be able to repay the amount you borrow.
Credit score cannot be repaired in a day or two. It requires time, patience and planning. Once your credit score improves, try to not make any mistakes that will harm it. If you do not have a credit score at all, then try to build it by applying for a regular or secured credit card.
There are two kinds of inquiries that can be performed- a hard and a soft inquiry. A soft inquiry is when you check your own credit. When potential employer looks through your credit, or if any checks are carried out by financial institutions (which you already do business with), these are called soft inquiries. Soft inquiries do not affect your credit score.
A hard inquiry is what happens when you apply for a credit card, or a loan. Hard inquiries that take place once in a while will not affect your credit score.
However, many of these within a short time span will affect your credit score. Banks will take this to mean that you require money because you have a facing financial problem.
If you have too many debts that are, you could actually use this to your advantage. You can take out a debt consolidation loan from your bank or a credit union. You can them simply pay them off. You will only have to make one payment. Keep in mind that if you can a lower interest rate on your loan, you can pay down the debt faster.
Another way to consolidate many credit card balances is balance transfer. Some cards often have a promotional period during which they charge 0% interest on the balance on your card. However, the balance transfer fee can cost you between 3% to 5% of your amount.
Once indebted, you are under close watch by financial institutions. No transaction made by you in the credit market will go unnoticed, and the same is recorded and maintained in your Credit Score. The scores may range anywhere from 300 – 900, 300 meaning you have an appalling score and 900 meaning that you’re every lender’s dream customer.
Although simple to comprehend, there are a lot of myths revolving around it. Here are 10 facts regarding Credit Scores.
Do you think a good Credit Score is essential only for obtaining a banking product? Not surprisingly, it is equally important for less perceptible requirements such as getting an employment offer and even renting a vehicle. Many people are aware of the concept of credit rating system. A credit score is basically a three-digit number that assesses how likely you shall be to repay a mortgage. It utilises data from credit reports to comprehend the risk of bad debts. A credit report is a detailed description of your credit history. There are few more companies in Indian which do the same task- CIBIL TransUnion, Equifax, Experian and High Mark.
An excellent credit score enhances your chances of being pondered for a mortgage, especially for a home loan. You are more likely to get lower interest rates on mortgages and may negotiate a lower insurance rate. The current home mortgages can be refinanced to a lower interest rate. Bankers may offer a lower processing fee and a flexible repayment option.
One of the most useful features of a credit card is the convenience of paying as well as getting the security. Thanks to these two factors, we have been witnessing a massive growth of credit cards. However, even though credit cards come with the convenience of buy now pay later, you have to make sure to be particular the repayments. A bad repayment history takes a toll on your credit score in a big way. Let’s understand how is your credit score calculated:
• 35% - Payment History
• 30% - Credit Utilisation
• 15% - Age of Credit History
• 10% - Type of Credit
• 10% - Credit Inquiries
All the aforementioned factors affect your credit score but the payment history and credit utilisation hamper your credit score the most. Let us now understand how credit cards impact these two factors.
The chances of missing out on credit card payment are usually high and therefore you should be extra careful and remember the due dates. If you are not able to keep up with the payment due dates, it is better to come up with a simple foolproof way to avoid delay. You can either give standing instructions to your bank to pay off the bill from your savings account on a particular date. If you miss the due date or pay only the minimum due, your balance will accumulate interest. Any subsequent purchases on your credit card will also accumulate interest from the date of purchase. You also lose out on your interest-free period. Late payment of non-payment of bills hampers your credit score and brings it down.
You should first learn how credit utilisation is calculated. Majority people are not aware that the higher your credit utilisation ratio, the larger effect it has on your credit score. As per experts, you should use only 20-30% of your credit limit. If you constantly spend a high percentage of your credit limit, say 60-80%, your credit utilisation ratio takes a hit. It’s important for you to keep the ratio low as it enhances your credit score. One way to tackle high credit utilisation ratios is to use multiple cards. As you already know that the 30% of your credit score comprises your credit utilisation ratio, you should be extra careful while using your credit card and always keep an eye on the credit limit.
It must be noted that improving your credit score take time and patience and it cannot happen overnight. You have to follow certain discipline and work towards your financial goals to achieve the desired credit score.
Although not many people can access your credit report, a few individuals and institutions who legitimately requires it may have access to it. If a company has a genuine business requirement with you, it is safe to assume that they have access to your credit report and score. Here’s a list of some of the institutions and individuals that have access to your credit report.
Banks – Quite naturally, banks can gain access to your Credit Report to gauge your credit worthiness. You don’t necessarily have to have a credit card for banks to have access to it. Your credit worthiness may be examined if you’re applying for a loan or even opting for an overdraft facility as this is considered to be a line of credit as well.
Creditors – Anyone willing to loan you money will have to determine your credit worthiness before they put their faith in you. Credit card issuers and mortgage lenders are amongst a few that fall in this category. Determining your credit worthiness helps the creditor gauge if you’re capable of repaying the loan and helps the creditor determine the terms and conditions of the same. Generally, the better your credit score, the more likely you are to get a loan approved and attain favourable terms when it comes to repayment and interest rates.
Insurance Companies – Statistically, it shows that individuals with poor Credit Score are more likely to file a claim. Insurance companies often measure your credit worthiness to determine how much they need to charge you for a new policy.
Employers – Several employers now use credit reports to judge an employer’s honesty and integrity when it comes to finance. It can also be used to assess the risk of bribery pertaining to an employee as people with a lot of debt are more susceptible to bribery. In some cases, the reports can be a decisive factor when it comes to promotions and demotions.
Government Agencies – Government agencies who have a legitimate requirement to pull up your credit score may do so. In the event that you’re applying for government benefits, court order, conducting business with the government, or any such instance, the government may pull out a report to understand your financial standing.
In its latest global economic forecast, Fitch lowered India's growth forecast to 6.6 per cent for the current fiscal (FY20). It was earlier projected at 6.8 per cent. The growth outlook has been reduced owing to manufacturing and agriculture sectors showed signs of slowing down over the past year. In its latest Global Economic Outlook, the global rating agency retained its GDP growth forecast for the next fiscal (2020-21) at 7.1 per cent and 7.0 per cent for 2021-22. According to Fitch credit rating agency, the government’s income support scheme aimed at farmers and easing of regulatory policies and benchmark interest rates by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) could help India’s economic growth gain momentum, reported the Mint.
India's GDP growth declined for the fourth consecutive quarter in January-March, with the economy expanding by 5.8 per cent, down from a cyclical high of 8.1 per cent in the March quarter of 2018. The credit rating agency also stated that the RBI has cut interest rates by 0.25 per cent, third time this year owing to weak growth momentum and contained inflation. "This is the lowest growth outturn in five years. The slowdown over the past year has been driven by steadily cooling activity in the manufacturing sector and, to a lesser extent, agriculture. Weaker momentum has been mainly domestically driven, though export growth has also faltered more recently," Fitch said. Fitch expects another 25 basis point cut later in 2019, which will push the policy repo rate down to 5.50 per cent.
20 June 2019
TransUnion CIBIL credit bureau has asked lenders such as banks and non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) to submit borrower’s credit data much faster, according to a report from The Mint. The credit information company has asked banks to submit the credit data of borrowers within a week, instead of 15 days. Harshala Chandorkar, chief operating officer, TransUnion CIBIL told the publication that the credit bureau is taking measures to make sure that they get the credit data at the earliest. They are aiming to receive the data within a week of every month-end, instead of a fortnight at present, she added.
In 2015, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) directed all banks and non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) to become members of credit information companies (CICs) and share all credit data with them. CICs maintain data on borrowings and payment details of consumers on a monthly basis. Thanks to the credit data, lenders are able to analyse the ability of a borrower before sanctioning a loan. CIBIL credit bureau offers CIBIL score to individuals which is a measure of their creditworthiness. The 3-digit number ranges from 300-900. You can check your CIBIL score for free by visiting CIBIL’s website.
25 March 2019
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Shaktikanta Das will hold pre-policy meeting with credit rating agencies and trade bodies on 26 March 2019. The pre-policy consultation meeting is set to take place in Mumbai. The aim of the meeting is to discuss interest rate and steps to boost economic activities. The meeting will focus on discussing the consultation process before the next financial year's first MPC meet that is scheduled to take place on 4 April 2019. Along with the credit rating agencies and representatives of the trade bodies, the meeting will have representatives of the All India Bank Depositors' Association. The RBI governor has been meeting bankers, credit rating agencies, industry chambers, non-banking financial companies (NBFCs), bankers, and government representatives to obtain their views on different aspects of the economy and the measures they expect from the central bank.
Last week, RBI governor expressed concerns over credit rating agencies’ inability to assess credit risk and take timely rating actions. Credit rating agencies have come under the scanner post the IL&FS debt fraud.
18 March 2019
Credit rating agency Moody’s has raised concerns over the new guidelines that have been proposed by the National Housing Bank (NHB) for the Housing Finance Companies (HFC). The credit rating agency said that these guidelines do not address issues regarding the key credit risk of these companies, funding and liquidity. The guidelines only focus on tightening capital adequacy and leveraging norms for housing finance companies. The credit rating agency added that the volatility in the debt financing markets is a key risk for the HFCs because short-term funding is increasing and is used to fund long-term assets. As per the proposed guidelines, the minimum capital adequacy requirement will increase gradually by 1% annually from 12% now to 15% by March 2022. The maximum public deposits that the HFCs can hold will also be restricted up to 3 times their net-owned funds by March 2022. The new rules don’t address refinancing risk for the lenders. The NHB's proposed guidelines will benefit HFCs and lenders to the HFCs, particularly commercial banks, because the guidelines will help limit HFCs' credit growth.
11 March 2019
Credit rating agencies have seen a 25% -30% fall in the stocks in the past year. The fall in the business growth of the credit rating agencies is due to a number of events that has impacted bond issuances over the past few years. Experts have attributed the slowdown to the paucity in capital expenditure, which has not revived the corporate bond market. In the December quarter, the revenue growth trend for all credit rating agencies together fell. It was just 3.8% last quarter on a cumulative basis, as against 5.9% growth for the same period a year ago.
Moreover, the latest Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services Ltd (IL&FS) debt scam has dragged down the buoyant market for commercial- paper issuances. Non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) have been large issuers of commercial paper in the debt market. In FY18, rating revenues of top three rating agencies in India increased ~5% YoY vs. 7% YoY traction seen in FY17. Weak credit growth of the banking system has resulted into slower revenue growth. Past couple of years has witnessed capex in the economy as well as weak investment activity. Bond issuances has also felt the burn due to high interest rates.
1 March 2019
The industry chambers representing a wide section of the Micro and Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME) met the RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das to apprise the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) about the credit and finance issues being faced by MSME. The Federation of Indian Micro and Small & Medium Enterprises (FISME) is looking forward for the Central Bank’s intervention in addressing Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) in MSMEs. The industry body has asked for setting up of a separate track for dealing with non-willful defaulters, classification of accounts into viable and non-viable categories and creation of a viable, revival scheme for stressed MSMEs. In a bid to offer maximum support to MSMEs, FISME suggested for specific support measures for accounts having exposure greater than Rs.5 crore. It has also asked to define the credit rating parameters (CRP) by RBI to bring transparency to the entire process. FISME also stated that MSMEs should be considered at par with financial creditors and their dues should be secured in IBC and guidelines to be issues for Credit Rating Agencies for BLR (Bank Loan Rating). India’s MSME sector contributes to nearly a third of the gross domestic product, accounting for about 45% of manufacturing output and 40% of country’s total outward shipments, as per latest RBI data.
9 January 2019
ClearScore, a UK-based fintech startup is foraying into the Indian markets. In order to offer credit scores for Indians, the startup has teamed up with Experian, one of the popular credit bureaus in India. The credit scores from ClearScore will be available for free for Indians as the startup wants to increase the awareness level among Indians about the importance of credit. ClearScore is foraying in India after its entry in South Africa in 2017. Justin Basini, founder of ClearScore stated that he has invested around 3.5 million pounds in the Indian operations and is eyeing to pump in tens of millions of pounds over the next few years. Founded in 2014, the startup has opened an office in Mumbai and has appointed Hrushikesh Mehta as its India head. The Indian team currently has 25 members. The ClearScore Android app which is available on the Google Play Store will provide details of the credit score and also offer alerts about changes in the score and provide details about how consumers can improve the score.
23 August 2018
UAP Insurance has received a high credit rating for its ‘insurance claim payment ability’. The ratings were given out by Global Credit Ratings (GCR).
UAP has bagged an ‘AA - (KE) rating. The reputed agency that is based out of Johannesburg, is known for its impressive track record. The Insurance company has received a ‘stable outlook’. Gaining recognition for its brand value and competitive positioning in the market, UAP has made a name for itself as one of the stable franchises in an industry that has been deemed highly competitive.
The provider is known to have a moderate to strong liquidity level and the credit rating agency expects the firm to maintain this stand in the days to come.
27 July 2018
A credit score is a numeric representation of your creditworthiness. It is calculated by considering your credit history and repayment behaviour. A healthy credit score gives you a better chance to get quicker approval for loans, lower interest rates, higher credit limit on credit cards and so on. Your credit score is present in you credit report that has all the records of your loans and payments. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has made it mandatory for all the credit bureaus in India to offer one free credit score to its consumers in a calendar year. A credit score of 750 and above is considered by generally considered as ideal by banks and NBFC. Once you get to know your credit score and if it is less than 750, you can evaluate it to know which are the areas you need to work on in order to improve it.
Here are some of the ways to evaluate your credit score
• Look out for defaulted payments: Firstly, it is extremely important to pay all your monthly bills on time. Check if you have not paid utility bills or missed a loan Equated Monthly Installments (EMI). Your repayment behaviour is one of the most important factors that can affect your credit score and bring it down. Hence, make sure avoid delays in making monthly payments of your bills as you may become a defaulter.
• Check if you have a mixed type of credit: It is important to have a balanced credit. This means, you should have a mix of secured and unsecured credit to maintain a healthy credit score. If you have a mixed credit, it suggests that you are capable to handle different credits efficiently. A mixed credit can be a home loan which is a secured and a credit card which is unsecured credit. Having a balance of both the types of credit will help you increase your credit score.
• Did you apply for multiple credit cards? : A credit hungry behaviour is not good for your credit score. Make sure that you don’t encourage hard enquiries from banks as too many queries negatively impacts your credit score. Also, asking for multiple credit cards also suggests that you can taking credit that you may not be able to handle. Hence, choose cards according to your need and then apply to just a couple of them.
• Have you checked your credit report recently?: It is important to do periodic checks of your credit reports as there might be errors in them. If you check you credit score from time-to-time, you can spot the errors and rectify them by raising a dispute with that particular credit bureau.
Keep all the aforementioned points in mind to maintain a healthy credit score.
12 July 2018
A credit card comes in handy in various emergency situations. Moreover, it offers several benefits and discounts to the card holder. However, you should be careful and when it comes to using the credit card as there is a high possibility you will over use it. Here are some easy steps that will help you keep aways debts.
• Do not opt for paying minimum amount due: Minimum amount due is the amount a credit card holder pays to avoid late fee and keep the account active. It is not ideal to pay minimum amount due as you end up paying interest for the credit. Paying minimum dues once a while in a month where expenses might have exceeded is okay, but it should not become a recurring habit.
• Do not default on your payments: It is extremely important to pay monthly credit card bill on time. Late payments will have a negative impact on your CIBIL score and bring it down. Moreover, you will also have to bear the late payment fees.
• Maintain credit utilization ratio: It is important to maintain a healthy credit utilisation ratio. This essentially means, until your credit score reaches 750, make sure to not spend over 50% of your credit card limit.
• Don’t possess multiple credit card: Make sure you don’t have more multiple credit cards as it will become difficult for you to keep a tab on all the expenses. There is a high possibility that you might forget to pay off the bills if you have more than one or two credit cards. Higher the number of credit cards, higher is the risk of delaying the payment.
23 May 2018
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