All you ever wanted to know about CIBIL Credit Scores

by Manshu on November 27, 2012

in Credit

This post is written by the CIBIL Consumer Relations team.

I’ve been in touch with CIBIL to help put together a comprehensive FAQ and they’ve been gracious enough to send an extremely detailed post on the usual questions that people have about CIBIL and will also be answering any questions that you may have. Please go through the FAQ written by the CIBIL team themselves, and post any questions that you may have.

1.      What are the different factors that affect your credit score?

An individual’s credit score is calculated based on the information in the “Accounts” and “Enquiries” section of the CIR. There are various attributes that go into developing the score. Major factors are:

  • Credit Utilization: How much credit are you using? Are there are too many high balances, outstanding etc?
  • Defaulting: How many accounts are past due – how much and by how many days? What is the account status? Is it written off or closed or settled etc?
  • Number of enquiries: Every time you look for additional credit through multiple lenders, an enquiry is made by those lenders to access your credit score. So it is not the most prudent practice to just shop around (i.e. fill up multiple loan application forms) to enquire about loan rates & eligibility from multiple lenders. As all this is reflected in your CIBIL report and gives an indication that you are “credit hungry”.
  • Type of credit availed: How old is the loan account or credit card account?  What type of credit do you have?  Is it secured or unsecured? Do you have a good mix or balance of credit or is it all credit cards /personal loans?

2.      Which factor has the maximum weightage on your credit score?

The CIBIL TransUnion Score is derived after keeping multiple factors in mind. The payment pattern (across loan categories) plays a crucial role in determining the credit score. But this should not be looked in isolation when you are trying to improve your Credit score. Do keep the factors listed above in mind to ensure your overall credit health improves and thereby improving your chances of getting a loan/credit card.

3.      What is the difference between the CIR that you can buy for Rs. 154/- and the CIBIL TransUnion score for which you pay Rs. 470/-?

 

A CIR or the Credit Information Report contains all your credit details from across Banks and financial institutions. This is a summary of your credit history and based on this, the CIBIL TransUnion Score is derived.

But by paying Rs 470/- you not only get the CIR but the CIBIL TransUnion Score as well. Just to give an analogy, a CIR is like a report card but a CIBIL TransUnion score is like the overall marks/grade that you get. It distills all the information in a CIR and returns a score value which quantifies your credit and financial health.

So by just looking at your Credit Score you can get a quick and better sense of your financial standing. It not only gives you an overview as to how you compare vis-à-vis other prospective borrowers but also helps you better understand your chances of loan approval because the credit score is the first credit screening tool used by a lender.

f your credit score is high, they then start the process of evaluating your loan application. It is important to know that 80% of the loans approved are for individuals with a credit score of above 750. With just a CIR you will not be able to effectively gauge your chances of loan approval in the manner the CIBIL TransUnion Score (and CIR) can.

4.      What does DPD stand for? What does it mean when DPD is 000 and what does it mean when it has a number next to it?

DPD stands for Days Past Due. This is reflected in your Account Summary section under Payment history of your CIBIL report. There is a due date by when the payment should be made for every Loan EMI/ Credit card bill. DPD indicates deviation, if any from the payment cycle. This plays an extremely critical role and should be monitored regularly. Anything other than “000” or “STD” is considered negative by the lender. Below are the types of asset classification that can appear in the DPD section:

 

DPD Denotes Explanation
STD Standard Payments are being made within 90 days
SMA Special Mention Account Special account created for reporting Standard account, moving towards Sub-Standard
SUB Sub-Standard Payments are being made after 90 days
DBT Doubtful The account has remained a Sub-Standard account for a period of 12 months
LSS Loss An account where loss has been identified and remains uncollectible

On occasion you may also notice “XXX” reported for your DPD on a certain account which implies that information for these months has not been reported to CIBIL by the Banks.

If there is a number in the DPD column, then it means that the payment is late by that many days. So for example if it is 050, then it means the payment is late by 50 days. If it is 000 then it means the payment is as per the due date, so there is no deviation or late payment.

5.      How long does it take for records in CIBIL to get updated after I clear a credit card that’s gone for settlement?

First of all, it is commendable that you have taken the first step towards improving your credit health by clearing the dues. Once the payment has been made, the same will reflect in our records once the concerned credit institution updates us with this information. This is normally done on a monthly basis and you start building a positive credit history. Once the CIBIL records are updated, you will notice your CIBIL TransUnion Score will gradually start improving over time (provided everything else is on track as well). But do not expect the change to happen overnight. Just ensure you continue to monitor your credit health and be diligent about your credit payments and you will notice a positive change in the months to come.

6.      It seems that a credit card going into settlement is a major negative factor, what can I do to improve my credit score if I’m already in this situation?

Yes, a credit card going in to settlement is viewed negatively by lender and impacts your credit score unfavorably. But don’t be disheartened, you can start improving your credit score by simply paying off your debt and not opting for more until your score improves. Also, don’t forget to follow the simple guidelines stated below:

  •  Repay your loans on time. Financial discipline coupled with prudent credit management and a good payment history will ensure that you enjoy all the benefits associated with having a good credit record
  • Making your payments on time will have the most significant impact on your credit record. It is important for you to maintain appropriate, reasonable and affordable levels of credit and ensure regular and timely re-payment of loans
  • Keep your total debt under control. If your total borrowings are significantly high, use some of your savings to repay some of your debt where possible.
  • Investigate your options in order to reduce your interest and other credit related costs, to make your debt burden easier to manage
  • When you are seeking a new loan or credit card, do it in a relatively short amount of time. You don’t want to have your report show that you are constantly looking for credit!

 

7.      On my credit report, I see that some credit cards are listed as “settled” whereas some others are listed as “written off”, what is the difference between the two?
Settled means where you would have made part-payment (in consent with the lender) against the total outstanding. Once this part-payment has been done that means there is no outstanding against your name by that lender. You will notice your amount over due and current balance would have changed to zero.

When you are not able to make payments against the outstanding loan/credit card amount for more than 180 days, the lender is required to “write-off” the amount in question. The lender then proceeds to report this on your CIR.

Some lenders (as per their credit policy) when enquiring an individual’s CIBIL report may not grant loan/credit card to those individuals whose accounts have been settled or written-off. It is always advisable where possible to have a clean account status.

8.      If I have a credit card and I don’t use it at all, does that affect my credit score in any way at all?

It depends on the other credit accounts you have. If you already have many credit cards and loans then it is advisable to close it. But if you just have a one or two credit cards, then there is no negative impact on the credit score. On the contrary there can be a positive impact, as it shows under-utilization of credit (as long as your credit limit is not used). But ensure you continue to monitor the credit card despite the fact that you are not using your card. As many a times, credit cards come with an annual fees etc which may miss your attention as you are not tracking or using that card. This may result in non-payment which can then have a negative impact on your credit score. It is advisable to be vigilant and monitor your credit report on a regular basis.

 

9.      I have a score of more than 750, and I’m still not getting approved for a credit card, what can I do?

Purchase your updated CIBIL TransUnion Score (and CIR) and check for the following points-

  • Check if Account status for any account is written off or settled- If there is then (where possible) pay off the debt and regularize the account.
  • Check for outstandings or payment irregularities- Check if you have missed any of the payment and the outstanding balance has increased. We recommend you to pay the balance at the earliest.
  • Check if there is high utilization of existing credit cards i.e., if there is maximum utilization of the credit card limit set against the cards. If this is the case then you can start by paying off your balances as and when you can to keep the overall utilization less.  Also moderate the use of credit to the extent possible.
  • Check if you are over-leveraged when compared to your income- Typically your total borrowing capacity is 50% of your net monthly income. If the current EMI is already 50% or more, then first pay-off your existing debt before applying for new credit.
  • Check with the lender for the reason your credit card is not approved and then look for areas of improvement/correction.

 

10.   How much time does it take to get rid of the effect of one default? I defaulted and cleared off my credit card in 2011 but my score is still low.

If you have cleared off your dues don’t forget to check your CIBIL report again to ensure the credit card issuer has updated the revised status of your account with us. Go through your CIBIL report in detail to ensure everything mentioned is accurate and your other payments are being made as per schedule. It is also advisable to avoid any new credit till your credit score has improved. Once everything is in order, you will notice that your CIBIL TransUnion score will gradually start improving.

 

 

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