Shopping comes naturally to us humans. Be it clothes, shoes, home supplies or phone covers for someone like me, we all get a shopper’s high when we spend on things we can show off or we actually need. If given a shopaholic’s way, we’d be shopping 24×7 on everything money can buy. Except, we can’t. Well, we all aren’t Jeff Bezos, right? We need money in our pockets (or banks) to buy things we’d love to show off.
Over the years, credit card and EMI gained popularity as people liked the ‘shop and pay later’ factor or ‘shop and pay in chunks’ factor. The former one has tagged many people as debt-ridden simply given the fact that they fail to pay on time or pay at all. But for those who aren’t spendthrifts, some purchases are imperative. Maybe you are buying a laptop but you also have to arrange your brother’s wedding – such circumstances come announced.
Taking credit simply means giving back the loaned money on time. But many can’t do so which then affects their credit score. Regular credit card users must be aware of this term but if you are someone who’s getting their first credit card, this article will guide you in every way. I will also put emphasis on how to check credit score for free which ensures that the purchase of your next item is done without any hurdles. So let’s jump right into it!
How to Check Credit Score for free in India
Before we get into how to check credit score for free, you should know what a credit score is. A credit score is a 3-digit number that varies anywhere from 300-900. Your credit score is determined with the help of the credit bureaus, which are licensed by RBI. Ordinarily, moneylenders such as banks and non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) are of the view that a credit score of 750 and above as excellent. Keep in mind that every credit bureau put into effect its own algorithm to calculate credit scores.
The various criteria through which your credit score is calculated are 35% payment history, 30% amount owed, 15% length of history, 10% new credit, 10% types of credit used. If you don’t pay your bills on time, your credit score will keep deteriorating. This is a very simple way to keep your credit score intact.
Credit System In India
India follows four credit information companies that are licensed by the Reserve Bank of India. You know that credit score defines your creditworthiness. But what is the system that calculates whether or not do we qualify to purchase products on credit? Your credit score is sourced from two main factors: Credit Report (Banks, government, credit card companies, collection agencies, etc.) and Credit Bureaus. This section is handled by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) which has licensed four companies, known as Credit Information Companies. These include the Credit Information Bureau (India) Limited (CIBIL), Experian, Equifax, and CRIF High Mark.
The most common of the four companies is the CIBIL credit score. Those with no credit history will have a score of -1. If the credit history is less than six months, the score will be 0. A CIBIL credit score takes between 3-6 months of regular credit activity to generate a viable credit score.
How to Check Credit Score
Commonly known as the CIBIL score, online websites are your best bet to check the credit score. Back in 2017, RBI made it mandatory for all the four credit information companies to provide people their one free credit score and credit report every year. Follow the steps given below to check your credit score:
Step 1: Launch your browser and log on to the CIBIL website.
Step 2: Create your account if you are new or else click on the ‘Member Login’ option if you are already registered. For those who aren’t, you’ll have to fill out the necessary information such as name, contact number, email address, ID number, and click on ‘Accept and continue.’
Step 3: You must answer all the questions correctly that are regarding your loans and credit cards. Your CIBIL score will be calculated based on your answers. Your credit report will now be generated.
Step 4: You will get suggestions for several paid subscriptions, that is if you need more than one report in a year. If you are looking for just a one-time report, then select ‘No Thanks’ at the bottom of the webpage.
These were the main steps to calculate your credit score. The following steps go in-depth:
Step 5: If you chose a subscription, you’ll have a user ID and password. Now log in to your account. To continue, you’ll need to authenticate via your email ID.
Step 6: You will receive an email on your registered account. Click on the link and enter the one time password you just received.
Step 7: You will now be prompted to change your password and login again.
Step 8: After you’ve logged in, all your personal details will be auto-populated by default. If the details are incorrect, kindly provide accurate information. Now enter your contact number and click on Submit.
Step 9: After you submit this form, you will receive your CIBIL score on your dashboard.
Ensure that you check your credit score more than once. You must monitor the ups and downs in your report as the banks, financial institutions and various credit agencies renew the report on a monthly basis.
How to Improve/Maintain Your Credit Score
Your credit score can be improved if it’s deteriorating and maintained if are too worried about it. The following steps will ensure that your credit score never dwindles.
- You must always pay your dues on time. Lenders don’t prefer people who pay late.
- You should keep your balances low. You should spend reasonably so as to not use too much credit.
- You should maintain a healthy credit mix. It means that it is better to have a healthy mix of secured, such as home loans, auto loans, and unsecured loans, like personal loans, credit cards. Make sure you don’t have any unsecured loans as it may be viewed negatively.
- You should apply for new credit in moderation. Lenders shouldn’t see you as someones who’s always seeking excessive credit.
- You must monitor any of your co-signed, guaranteed and joint accounts on a monthly basis. If you are a part of co-signed, guaranteed or jointly held accounts, you are held equally answerable for missed payments.
- You must review your credit history regularly, throughout the year. If you want to avoid a rejected loan application, you should monitor your CIBIL Score and Report on a regular basis.
How to Get a Loan Despite Having a CIBIL Score of 0 or -1.
Having a friend working in a bank always helps but if not, you can always speak to a bank executive who’s in charge of sanctioning loans. Explain your eligibility as a paying candidate with the help of some proofs, such as a letter from your employer, income proofs, etc. You’ll have to explain to the bank that your CIBIL score of 0 or -1 doesn’t reflect your creditworthiness.
If the bank approves your loan, your responsibility is to pay it off without missing a due date. If you follow this pattern of paying on time, this will reflect in your CIBIL TransUnion credit report. Paying on time will not reflect on your CIBIL score but will also save you from multiple fines that badly affect your credit score.
Believe it or not, most banks use this method to determine a user’s creditworthiness. The user can have 6 months of borrowing history or better, no history at all.
How is a credit score calculated?
The credit score is calculated as – 35% payment history, 30% amount owed, 15% length of history, 10% new credit, 10% types of credit used. The most prominent factor in determining your score is the record of whether you’ve paid your bills on time.
What is considered a good credit score?
In a range between 300-850, a credit score of 700 or above is commonly considered good. A score of 800 or above on the same range is deemed to be excellent. Remember that most of the credit scores fall between 600 and 750.
What hurts your credit score the most?
Following are the bad habits that deteriorate your credit score:
- Missing a loan or card payment.
- Payment history accounts for 35% of your FICO score.
- Credit utilization accounts for 30 percent of your FICO score.
- Maxing out a credit card.
- Applying for too many credit cards.
- Collections and charge-offs.
How long does it take to build credit?
It really doesn’t take a long time for your credit score to develop. Experian, which is one of the major credit bureaus, believes that it takes between 3-6 months of regular credit activity to generate a viable credit score.
What bills affect credit?
You’d be surprised to know that payments like rent and bills aren’t reported to credit bureaus. So even if you make those payments on time, you won’t get “good credit” for it. But, if one of the mentioned bills is overdue, it might end up hurting your credit, if the company you owe sends the bill to a debt collector.
Maintaining the credit score can be quite challenging but not impossible. Ensure that you follow everything written in this article for an ideal credit score. As I mentioned earlier, BankBazaar, CIBIL, and Bajaj Finserv are the supreme source to know your credit score. Don’t fall for ad-pop-ups that claim to check your credit score for free as your personal details might be compromised.
Did you think this article helped you in any way? Let us know in the comments below. Shoot any questions you have regarding the credit score. Also, don’t forget to share this article with your fellow spendthrifts so that they can monitor their CIBIL score.