Credit Score: Everything You Need To Know & Get Credit Score For Free

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What is a credit score?

A credit score is a number in the range of 300 to 900 assigned to a borrower by credit bureau agencies like CIBIL, Experian, etc. which helps a financial lender like Bank, Housing Finance Company or Non-Banking Financial Company to analyse the repayment history of his past loan accounts and decide upon his eligibility for new loans or credit cards. A good credit score has benefits like less documentation, quick loan approval and low interest rates.

How to Read a Credit Report?

A credit report consists of an individual’s credit score, a detailed credit information report that has loan level details, demographic and other details like employment, Income etc. The credit report comprises of details of one’s loan/credit accounts like credit cards, vehicle loans, home loans and also any other form of credit which you one has availed from a registered lender / financial institution. The Credit report consists of the following sections: Credit Score, Personal & Contact Details, Employment Details, Loan/Credit Account Details & Loan/Credit Enquiry Details. A credit report enables one to keep a track of all their loan accounts in past & present and thus help one in planning their financials. A credit report can seem difficult to understand at first glance but if the report is read section wise & one understands the significance of each section, then it becomes much easier to understand the entire report as a whole. We have simplified each section below:

  • Credit Score

    The credit score is an indicator of a person’s current credit health which in turn helps lenders to calculate their loan eligibility. It is a numerical value calculated using a formula which quickly helps to decide the credit eligibility of the person without having to go through individual loan details & their repayment track record. This value is dependent on past & current loan/credit behavior and credit enquiries made by the person. Different Credit Bureaus have different methodologies to calculate this score but the underlying factors on which this score is calculated remain more or less similar for all the bureaus. The score ranges from value 300 to 900 with 300 value indicating worst credit profile & 900 the best. All scores above 700 is normally regarded as good scores.

  • Personal & Contact Details

    This section contains individual identity details like full name, gender, date of birth, PAN number, Aadhaar number, Voter Id, Passport number and contact details like residential address, office address & telephone numbers

  • Employment Details

    It comprises of Monthly/Annual income & occupation as reported by the member financial institutes of credit bureau.

  • Loan/Credit Details

    This part of report consists of credit facility details like name of the lender, type of credit facility, opening/closing date, last date of payment, loan amount, current outstanding & month on month payment track record.

  • Loan/Credit Enquiry Details

    Whenever a Financial Institute enquires for the credit report of a person who has applied for a credit facility in that institute, the Bureau records this enquiry along with the enquiry details and the same is reflected in the Loan/Credit Enquiry Details section of the report. However, the enquiry done through this Free Credit Report page of Home First is considered as a soft enquiry and will not reflect in this section.

FAQ’s

The credit bureaus work on the principle of reciprocity i.e. from time to time the member Banks & other financial institutions i.e. NBFC and Housing Finance Companies (HFC) provide Credit Bureau Companies with an individual’s inquiry and repayment records, which is reflected in their credit report. In this way with the help of lending member Banks, NBFC’s & HFC’s, the base date for credit reports and credit scores are collated. The 4 Credit Bureau Companies in India are TransUnion CIBIL, Experian, CRIF High Mark, and Equifax.

Checking or enquiring about one’s Credit Score is of two types. Hard Enquiry and Soft Enquiry.

Soft Enquiry – When you on your own enquire for your credit report or when a financial institute enquires about your credit report so that they can pre-approve an offer, such an inquiry is termed as a soft inquiry. Your credit score is not impacted by soft enquires and also the same inquiry does not reflect on your credit report.

Hard Enquiry – When a financial institute to whom you have applied for a loan/credit, evaluates your credit report in order to decide whether they should lend you or not, it is termed as Hard Enquiry. Your credit score is impacted by Hard Enquiries & the same appears as a part of inquiries made by you in the credit report.

No. Your Credit score/report is confidential and is your own private data, that you alone or a couple of approved entities are permitted to access based on your consent. These entities or institutions can get access to your credit report only under specific conditions, for example when you apply for any kind of loan or credit card facility. This secured information cannot be legally shared with any unauthorized third party. Usually, these entities who are allowed to access your Credit report/score are financial institutions, are trusted members of the bureaus and have to follow certain prescribed guidelines of the regulatory bodies.

No. Experian and CIBIL scores are different, but both serve the same purpose. Both the bureau’s use their own methodology to arrive at the score, however, most of the underlying data is almost similar. Apart from Experian & CIBIL, the other 2 credit reporting agencies/bureaus which are currently licensed to operate in India are Equifax and CRIF High Mark. Worldwide each credit bureau provides its self-generated credit scores and reports to its clients and members.

No. Credit report and score are two different things. A credit score is only a part of the credit report. The credit report is a detailed report which has your entire credit history. It includes detailed information about various loans and credit cards that you have availed till now. Details pertaining to your credit limits of credit card, loan amount sanctioned, loan amount outstanding, credit repayment track record, number of credit checks performed by prospective lenders in the past, and lot more are included. Just like a medical report provides detailed information regarding your physical health, similarly, a credit report provides the details about your financial health and well-being.

Yes. Your Credit score relies on multiple factors, such as payment history of credit instruments, all current and previous loans/credit cards, number of outstanding loans/credit cards and card utilization ratio. A change in any of these above-mentioned factors can bring about a positive/negative change in your Credit score. In this way, minimal noticeable factors, for example, late payment of installments and maximizing your credit limits, as well as more noticeable factors that include a home loan, vehicle loan or a consumer loan can also change your credit score.

There is no such rule or score cut offset to avail of a home loan. Most of the HFC’s, Banks and NBFC’s do not publish any data with respect to a minimum qualifying Credit score for securing home loans. Home First evaluates the eligibility of a person to avail home loan on the basis of past repayment behavior and evaluates on a case to case basis. Yet one can safely say that a higher Credit score improves one’s chances of a faster home loan approval.

For getting loans or credit cards there is no such evident data available at present which shows what is a decent or good Credit score for getting loans. Credit score range is from 300 to 900, accordingly the closer you are to 900, the better are your chances of availing loans/Credit card. Finally, the decision of sanctioning loans or issuing credit cards solely depends on HFC’s, banks or financial institutions.

Your present lenders report your loan/credit card status to Bureaus periodically. And this information gets reflected in your report after few days. Hence, the chances of having a loan or credit card account closed this month and it still being reflected as outstanding on your report is high. This can also happen if there is an error in reporting by the Financial Institute from where you have availed the loan/credit card.

No one likes to do a business for loss. When banks are advancing new loans or credit cards, they need to make sure that the customers pay back the Loan Amount/EMI’s on time. So by checking your Credit report and score the company will come to know whether you are a low risk or a high risk borrower, and how safe is it to lend you money. Credit score is assessed on the basis of your past loan/credit card repayment track record. It is on the lower side if you have defaulted in any of your previous or ongoing loans i.e you did not pay EMI’s on time which in turn reflects that it is risky to lend you money. Credit Score on the higher side is considered good when you have made loan repayments on time. Analysis of this report determines your new loan quantum, interest rate and various other loan parameters.

Credit score is based on your credit history and it cannot be increased overnight, no matter what a self-styled Credit Score Improvement Agency might tell you. It starts improving by paying your credit card dues and EMIs on time, while also requiring you to reduce your outstanding debt.

No, a Credit Bureau does not have the authority to delete or make changes to your credit report on its own. They are only engaged in collating the data as provided by the member HFC’s, banks and NBFC’s. However, in case of credit report data disputes, a Credit Bureau can make changes to your credit report, provided there is sufficient documentary evidence to show that an error has actually occurred. However, the concerned HFC, bank or NBFC will have to provide the necessary clearance before a Credit Bureau makes such changes.

The processes of computing your score differs from agency to agency, but your Credit Score calculated by different agencies will almost be the same. The underlying data used for calculating the score is same as banks intimate the relevant information to all four agencies. Therefore, no matter which agency a bank picks up to check your Credit Score, there will not be much difference between them.
Many people consider that only CIBIL gives the most accurate score, but that is a myth. The fact is that Financial Institutes give equal weightage to credit scores from all four agencies i.e. Equifax, Experian, Transunion CIBIL and CRIF High Mark.
Home First Finance Company has tied up with Experian, which means that we can help you check your Credit Score for free. Otherwise, it costs a few hundred rupees.

We have listed below a few benefits of checking credit report on a regular basis:

Know your credit standing: With the advent of companies like Home First, accessing your credit score is just a click away. You can check your credit report as and when you want. It is important to keep a track of your credit records as seen by the financial institutes for evaluating your application, whether good or bad. It is better to know your credit score and know where you stand in terms of your credit track record. If your score is low, you can take necessary steps to improve it. On the other hand, if your credit score is high then, you can focus on maintaining it and getting a good loan bargain, whenever required.

Keeping credit report accurate: Checking your credit score can help you check if information reflecting in your credit report is accurate or not. If there is any error in credit report, get in touch with that particular Credit Bureau or the lender company to get it rectified immediately.

Keeping the hard inquiries at bay: Whenever you apply for credit card or loan, the lender sends a request to the credit bureau to check your credit report. This is known as ‘hard enquiry’. Frequent hard inquiries and those inquiries that keep getting rejected gives an impression that you are credit seeker and have been struggling hard to get the loan you require. On the other hand, when you check your credit score for your own understanding, it is just considered as a ‘soft inquiry’ and has no impact on your credit score.

Chances of getting better interest rates: Banks tend to offer better interest rates to those loan borrowers who have a good credit score of 750 and above. By knowing your score before applying for a loan gives you the ability to negotiate for better interest rates with your lender.

Improving your credit score: When you have access to your credit report and score you can easily analyze and figure out ways to improve your score and build a good credit report.