Adhil Shetty | Dec 19, 2016 | Deccan Herald
If you’re applying for a loan or a credit card, your lender would look into your credit history. A CIBIL score of 750 or more is considered desirable by most lenders. If you’ve been prompt in repaying your credit card bills and other loans, you should have a sturdy score.
But every now and then, people get a rude shock with their CIBIL score which prevents them from getting a loan product of their choosing. This means that their loan application may get rejected, or they may be offered a loan with a high interest rate.
Your CIBIL score could be low for broadly two reasons — Data in your CIBIL report is incorrect, and that you have defaulted on a loan or have been irregular with your repayments.
The first step towards ascertaining the details of your CIBIL report is to get a copy of it. You can do this for a fee of Rs 550 from the CIBIL website. Your report will be generated instantly and its details will be shared with you on your email.
Now, let’s dive deeper into these two issues.
Incorrect reporting of personal and credit history
*Check personal details: Your CIBIL report carries your personal details such as name, PAN number, contact information, employer’s address, employer information such as salary and occupation.
Next, it carries details of every credit card account or loan account you’ve opened with regulated entities such as banks and NBFCs. Any discrepancy in this data needs to be checked and challenged. Ascertain that the details in your report pertain to you and your own credit history. If you’ve mistakenly been assigned someone else’s credit history — especially an adverse credit history — your credit score would suffer.
*Check repayment details: Next in your report, go through the details of all the borrowing accounts you’ve opened: Credit cards, personal loans, home loans, car loans, etc. You also need to check the monthly repayment details of all these accounts. The CIBIL report would reflect any delays in repayments (as ‘days past due’), defaults, settlements, write-offs, value of collaterals offered, etc. Ascertain that all the details are correct and that these accounts actually belong to you. This data is reported to CIBIL by your lender. If any detail has been reported in a way that adversely impacts your borrowing history, your credit score would suffer.
*Raise a complaint: CIBIL allows you to challenge incorrect reporting through its website. You can also contact them through post. When you access the online copy of your report, you can go over your personal and financial details. Any details that you want to be corrected need to be reported to CIBIL, which will then contact your lending institution for amends. This process may take up to 30-45 days. If the lender accepts the corrections, they will reflect in your report. If the lender refuses to accept your corrections, you will have to get in touch with them directly. This is because CIBIL prepares your report from information received from your lender. Therefore, CIBIL cannot directly change the contents of your report.
Defaults, Delays In Repayments, Credit-Hungriness
If you have neglected repaying your loans, it would hurt your credit score hard. Let’s take a quick look at your options to address this problem:
*Repay loan balances on time: Whether you have loans or credit card dues, always aim to settle them as per your repayment plan. If there are difficulties in repayment, always keep your lender in the loop so that the lending terms may be made easier. With credit cards, always pay the full due amount rather than the minimum amount.
*Don’t be credit-hungry: Don’t apply for too many loans or credit cards, especially within a short time. With application, the lender will check your credit history. Too many queries into your credit history would reduce your credit score since you will be seen as a credit-hungry person. Also, having too many loans at the same time means you will have to manage several EMIs every month, which would adversely impact your liquidity and could lead to default.
*Increase credit limit on card: Try and spend no more than 20% of your credit card limit. For example, if your monthly spending limit is Rs 1,00,000, restrict your spending to Rs 20,000. It means that your credit utilisation ratio (CUR) is 20%, which is ideal. A frequently high CUR would portray you as being in constant need of short-term credit.
Asking your credit card provider to increase your spending limit, or having multiple credit cards, can help reduce your CUR. For example, your increased spending limit could be Rs 2,00,000, whereas your monthly spending is Rs 20,000, thus bringing your CUR to 10%. Also, if you have multiple credit cards, you could divide your spending between them, thus maintaining an optimum CUR on all cards rather than increasing the CUR on a single card.
*Don’t settle: If you’ve defaulted on your payments, your lender may offer you an option to ‘settle’ your loan. This means paying a percent of your principal and interest due, and considering the loan account closed. Taking this option would reflect in your CIBIL history and it would adversely impact your credit score. Any lenders you approach would see that you were unable to repay your loan. Therefore, do not take the settlement option if you can settle loans in full.
*Repay a mix of credit: You should have a history of repaying a mix of short-term or unsecured credit such as credit card balances and long-term or secured credit such as home loan. The timely repayment of a mix of credit instruments would reflect well on your credit history.
(The writer is CEO at http://www.BankBazaar.com)