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The Ultimate Guide to Credit Score (find free credit score and make banks beg you to take loans)

What’s the official credit score range?

I really need to raise my credit score fast!

I’m confused! Is my credit score high or low?

I want a loan but am afraid to apply because of loan rejection due to low credit score!

Does this sound like you?

If it does, don’t worry. You’re not alone.

Many people face these same problems, fears and confusions like you.

But you don’t need to worry or dwell in confusion anymore. mymoneykarma is going to light the way. In this epic guide, we are going to show you:

  1. Credit Score Range and What It Means For You

  2. What Makes Your Credit Score Go Down?

  3. How Do Big Fluctuations Happen?

  4. Calculation and Monitoring of your Credit Score

  5. What are Credit Reports?

  6. The Application Process for Obtaining your Credit Report

  7. Reading a Credit Report

  8. And much more!

Your Free Credit Score - What the Heck Is It and Why Should I Care?

For as long as credit scores have been there, people have worried over it. After all, unless you’re born with a silver spoon, you’re going to need a loan sooner or later. And hey, even the rich need loans.

The point is to order to get loans, you need to show you have the capacity to pay it back. More importantly, you need to show how you have handled your previous loans, if any.

We’re not going to lie to you. Finding your free credit score and making sense of your credit report yourself can be very confusing. Even grizzled credit report reading veterans find it hard sometimes!

But it doesn’t have to be that way. We’re here to help you out. Read on!

What Is a Credit Score?

A credit score is the measurement of your creditworthiness, which means your ability to pay back loans on time.

It is a 3-digit number representing your ability to pay back loans. Its range starts from 300 and ends at 900. You should always and constantly strive to get the score closer to 900 because that’s when you’ll get the best loans.

When we say best loans, we mean the credit cards with a large credit balance, loans with low interest rates, friendly and flexible terms, and more. When your score is closer to 900, it shows lenders you have been a responsible borrower, and giving you a loan won’t be risky for them.

Conversely, the further you are from 900, expect less loans to be given. This is because a low credit score shows you were not a responsible borrower. Perhaps you had:

  • missed payment 

  • defaulted on a loan

  • taken too many loans within a short time

By the way, when we say try getting your score towards 900, understand you cannot realistically reach 900. No one has. The maximum you can hope to reach is around 850, which is an excellent score by the way.

Credit scores are calculated by entities called credit bureaus.

There are 6 credit bureaus in India:

  1. TransUnion Credit Information Bureau (India) Limited 

  2. Equifax

  3. Credit Rating Information Services of India Limited 

  4. CRIF High Mark

  5. ICRA (formerly known as Investment Information and Credit Rating Agency of India Limited)

  6. Experian

Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian are the three main ones. They take into consideration several factors like your credit history, number of credit inquiries, repayment records and others.

Your credit score is checked by banks other lenders whenever you apply for a loan or credit card. They check your creditworthiness every time before giving you loans and credit cards.

The higher your credit score, the better your loans are, and vice versa. High credit score enables you to get discounts and preferential pricing on interest rates, which people with low score can’t hope to get!

If you have a high score, you can use it as a bargaining chip while shopping for credit. Lenders will give you high preference over others.

Speaking of credit scores, here’s how to get your free credit score in 5 easy steps!

5 Steps To Get Your Free Credit Score today

Ever wondered “how to know my credit score?” 

In this section, we’ll show you to do just that after you use the credit score login at mymoneykarma.

5 steps to get your free credit score today 1. Go to mymoneykarma website.com 2. Click on the credit score tab at the top of the page.3. Click on the credit score tab at the top of the page. 4.Give your Personal Details like name,birthdate,phonenumber,PAN number and PIN Code. 5. Click on Get My Credit Score button

Well, that’s it. In just 5 easy and simple steps, you can get your free credit score from us. If you approach entities like credit bureaus instead, you may have to wait a long time for the same.

However...why on earth are we giving you your credit score for free? Do we have a shrewd motive we’re not telling you about?

We’ll clear up this mystery next.

Why Is mymoneykarma Giving Me Free Credit Score?

Well, to tell you the truth, it’s actually not much of a mystery at all.

Here’s why we do it:

We feel everyone should be in complete control of their finances, and one way of doing it is to stay updated on your credit score. That’s why mymoneykarma has arranged to enable you to check your score for free before applying for any credit or loan.

If your score is high, you’ll get the best loans. You can even leverage a good score to ask banks for better terms and conditions like more benefits and lower interest rates.

However, if you have a poor credit, you should not ask for loans right now. This will lower your score even more. In such a situation, it is better to focus on raising the score by paying back debts on time before asking for new loans.

Now, let’s come to the most important part: knowing about the credit score inside out.

When it comes to this metric, many people are confused. 

In the next section, we’re going to cover it comprehensively. 

The Enigmatic Credit Score Range and What It Means

Your credit score is a 3-digit number which basically measures your creditworthiness.

Creditworthiness is a fancy industry jargon that refers to your ability or probability to pay off loans. It is very important to lenders. After all, they need to know how likely you are to pay off their loan. Will you pay it back on time with interest, or are you likely to default on it or miss payments repeatedly? All this can be gauged from your credit score.

The range of a credit score is from 300 to 900. However, the maximum anyone can reach is 850.

The higher your score is, the more and better loans you can get from lenders since you’ll be seen by them as trustworthy.

A Brief History of the Credit Score

So who developed this bothersome thing called credit score?

You can credit (or blame, as per your situation), Fair Isaac Corporation from the USA. It’ll be interesting to know this company is known as FICO, which is synonymous with the credit score in the USA by the same name.

Probably the easiest way to increase your score

Everyone is looking to increase their credit score as fast as possible.

Well, while there’s no magic trick to do it, and nor is there anything to guarantee it, there is a simple and proven way to increase your score in a short time.

One of the simplest ways to do so is by maintaining a history of paying all your bills and loans on time. At the same time, one should keep their debt low.

Why is credit score so important?

Sorry, but there’s no other way to put this difficult truth: You may or may not get new loans and credit cards.

It all depends on your credit score.

If you have a low score like 640, you’ll be considered a subprime borrower. During such a stage, lenders may give you new loans, but the lending rate can be very high compared to other borrowers. Because they see lending to you as a risk, they place a high interest on the loan so they can get their principal amount back in a short time. This offsets some of the risk.

On the other hand, if you have a score above 700, lenders are more likely to readily offer loans to you. Well, they may not exactly be queuing outside your home, but at least you’ll still be getting the best loans with the best interest rates. When you get low interest rates, it means you pay less for the same loan compared to a subprime borrower of the same loan, for instance.

Your credit score determines your ability to give a downpayment or initial deposit while buying/renting:

  1. Smartphones

  2. Apartments

  3. Utilities

A credit score range you can trust

Confused about credit score range?

We don’t blame you.

Credit score range can be tough to fathom as different creditors may have their own range. For instance, many lenders say scores above 800 is excellent. Other opine scores around 850 are ‘excellent’.

However, it’s time now to break out of the bubble of confusion. Here’s the credit score range sheet you can finally trust: 

Credit Score Range Sheet

Components of Your Credit Score

Your credit score is determined by 5 factors, namely: 

  • Payment history

  • Total amount owed

  • Length of credit history

  • Types of credit

  • New credit 

Weightage of your credit score components

Think of the credit score as a pie.

credit score criteria weightage percentage

  • Your Payment History tells lenders whether you have paid back previous loans on time.

  • Your Total Amount Owed refers to the percentage of your available credit limit which you’re using. The more amount you own lenders, the less likely you are to get new loans. 

  • Your Length of Credit History is self-explanatory, where longer histories are seen as less risky.

  • The Types of Credit or Credit Mix refers to the mix of various loan instruments you may have. Lenders like to see more variety of loans in your report and score.

  • New Credit refers to the loans and credit cards you’ve recently applied for, having more of which is not seen well by lenders.

3 simple ways to improve your credit score

In case your credit score is low, there’s hope for you yet. Follow these three strategies to up your score. It may take some like such as 6 months, but you will see the results if you do these things diligently. 

  • Pay your bills on time

  • Ask for a higher credit limit

  • Don’t close off your old credit accounts

7 Reasons to Start Caring to Check Your Credit Report

Remember the time when you got your first job after showing your educational certificates and records?

Well, your credit report is something similar.

  • Want a loan? You need to show your credit report.

  • Need a credit card? Pray your credit report is top notch!

Whenever asking for any type of loan or credit, your credit score contained in the report can either make or break the deal.

People’s lives are very busy now. It is one of the reasons why they pay less attention to their credit report which is actually so important for them! Ignoring it can bring many problems.

Your credit score may be impacted and you may not even notice, leading to a swift downward spiral of your credit score. On the other hand, keeping track of your score can help you in getting a car, a house and other loans.

Most people also do not think about their credit score till they need a loan, within which time there are already some problems pulling the score down. Did you know: there are even people who have never checked their credit scores...ever! Others avoid checking due to the fear of seeing a terrible score.

Are you one of them?

We admit checking your credit score isn't as easy as checking your bank balance at an ATM. However, one should still check it regularly. Nowadays, it’s possible to get digital versions of the report from the credit bureaus.


6 reaoons to check your credit report and score regularly 1. Know your score 2. you can Keep a good credit score 3.you can ensure accuracy 4. there won't be any unpleasant surprises 5. get quick insights into what hurt and increase your score 6. know from beforehand which loans and credit cards your qualify for

10 Things That Are Dooming Your Good Credit Score

Ever checked your credit score and got the shock of your life?

Credit score on a swift down spiral and you don’t know the reason?

Well, it might be just a single reason, or it can be a combination of several ones. Fortunately for you, we’re going to show you the 10 potential actions that can, or already are, dooming your credit score.

 

10 things that are dooming your credit score 1. Being late on your EMIs, 2. Ignoring your Dues. 3. Your Accounts are charged due to the non-payment of bills on time.(this is devastating to your credit score!) 4. having your accounts sent to a collections agency 5. Filing for bankruptcy (This is Equally Devastating.) 6. Closing old credit cards with an outstanding balance is maxed out.(This makes your Credit Limit drop all the way to )! 7. Closing Off your Old Credit cards.(it shortens your credit history and damages your credit score double damaged!) 8. Apply for Multiple Loans and Credit Cards within a short Span of time. 9Not Having several types of credits or loans

So the next time you see a dip in your score, don’t panic. Take a deep breath and get a free report from a credit bureau. From there you can see what is affecting the score, which can be any of these above factors.

Speaking of credit bureaus, that’s a separate topic. 

Fortunately, it is next on the list!

Who Calculates Your Credit Score? (Hint: Not the CID!)

Your credit score is calculated by institutions called credit bureaus, also known as credit information companies. In India, there are three main credit bureaus, namely TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian.

So, here’s how it all works:

  • Whenever you make a transaction, the lender sends its details to all credit bureaus. But why do lenders send this information? That’s because of an RBI mandate under which they have an obligation to do so.

  • So, the next time you ask a bank for a mortgage or some other form of credit, the bank approaches any of the above credit bureaus for your updated credit score.

  • When credit bureaus receive your data from banks and other lenders from whom you have taken some form of credit, they start collecting more data about your financial and spending habits and history. This information is neatly processed into a document called Credit Report.

Now you may be thinking what on earth is a credit report.

A credit report is a detailed history of your responsible repayment habits. It is a record of your credit history, in short. When it comes to your credit report, it is smart to check it regularly.

But since there are different credit bureaus, don’t they show different scores for the same person? 

Do I Get Different Credit Scores from the Credit Bureaus?

It does not matter from which credit bureau a lender approaches the information. Your updated information is the same at all of them. All of them are equally authoritative, although they may vary by a few points.

The computation process may be slightly different at each of the credit agencies, but actual calculation will be more or less the same. This is because they get their information and data from the same source: your creditors. 

The Secret Recipe of Your Credit Score Calculation

As you have seen, there are three main credit bureaus in India. All of them calculate your credit score based on several factors like your repayment history, credit history, credit mix, and other factors.

All of the bureaus are licensed by the RBI. While each of them may have different algorithms for credit score calculation, your score is the same at all of them.

Let us look at the components of the credit score in more detail:

  1. Payment History: Payment history accounts for a large part of your credit score. It covers all of your previous payment data, showing whether or not you have paid back your previous loans and installments on time.
    This includes EMIs, bills, credit card monthly payments, and others.
    Because of this, it is best to avoid missing payments since they devastate your credit score. This includes bankruptcy and tax liens. Payment History has a High impact on your credit score.

  2. Credit Exposure: You may know Credit Exposure as the Credit Utilization Ratio, as it is more popularly called. Credit Utilization Ratio applies only to credit card users. It is the ratio of the amount you have borrowed from the bank to the amount you are allowed to.
    So, for instance, if your Credit Limit is Rs. 100 and you borrow Rs. 50 from the bank, your Credit Utilization Ratio is 50%. This will affect your score, but not in a good way,
    “But why?” you ask. “I didn’t even borrow all the money which is set apart for me by the bank!”
    You see, this is not how these things work!
    It is true you borrowed only a part of the whole credit limit. However, you have borrowed a large part of it. That is the most important point at play here.
    When you borrow a large percentage, banks see you as someone who takes loans more often and is desperate for funds. As this is seen negatively by them and reported accordingly to credit bureaus, your credit score goes down.
    Ideally, your credit utilization ratio should be less than 30%. This is another important reason to check your score regularly. Credit Exposure has a High Impact on your credit score.

  3. Age of Credit: This refers to the age of your credit accounts, in addition to good repayment behavior and a long credit history. Closing old credit accounts is looked down on, and that’s why your credit score can go down. Age of Credit has a Medium Impact on your credit score. Closing old credit accounts also decreases your total credit limit.

  4. Credit Mix: You may think your credit score may be fantastic since you just have two loans, but you may soon see the score has fallen just a little bit. This happens because you have the same form of credit.
    For instance, you may have two loans. Banks and lenders want to see more variety, such as a mix of secured loans, unsecured loans, and credit card loans.
    Credit Mix has a Medium Impact on your credit score.
    Want to check your credit score? Want to make more sense of your Credit Report? mymoneykarma helps you out. Just click here and we’ll take care of you.

Your Credit Score Is NOT Enough to Get a Loan!

Read that again.

Your Credit Score is not enough.

Confused?

Confuddled?

Then what is enough???

Calm down. We’re going to tell you that next.

Your Debt to income ratio.

In short, your Debt to Income ratio is the ratio between your income and your debt. For instance, you earn Rs. 100 per month. For all your loan EMIs and credit card bills, you need to pay Rs. 60 per month. You need at least Rs. 20 for basic survival. However, you need another loan.

The bank calculates its EMI to be Rs. 30. However, it sees you practically can’t afford another loan (your Debt to Income Ratio is 60% in this case).

So in the end, you don’t get another loan, at least until you focus on repaying the other loans completely.

Beware! These Things Make Your Credit Scores Go Down!

There are several others factors as well, factors from which you’ll do well to stay away from -

Beware ! These Things make your credit scores go down! 1. Being late on your Credit Payments. 2. Completely Ignoring your loan sues/Credit Card Bills 3.Getting your Account Charged Off.4. Having Your account sent to collections 5. Filing for bankruptcy 6. When you request to close a credit card that has an outstanding balance 6 closing old credit cards

Ever wondered how frequently your credit score can fluctuate? We’ll learn all about the next.

Credit score fluctuations: Just how often can my credit score fluctuate?

As credit scores change slowly over time incrementally, it can be hard to detect unless you see the credit report regularly.

Now, if you are wondering why there has been a sharp fall in your score over time, there can be several reasons for that. 

  1. Firstly, delinquency hits credit score pretty hard. For instance, you take a loan but when it comes to paying the monthly EMIs, you often get late as much as 30 days.

  2. Secondly, there is the credit utilization ratio, which refers to your credit limit and the portion of debt you have taken from it. Increasing the debt causes the credit utilization ratio to rise. This makes your credit score fall.

  3. Thirdly, there is also a fall when you pay off all your credit card debts at once. In such a case, however, the drop is slight and temporary.

The Real Reason There Are Fluctuations in Your Credit Score Worse Than Donald Trump’s Reputation

Working on credit score is not for hotheads. 

You can’t expect it to scale up by a large margin within a few months. That just does not happen.

If your credit score is as low as 500, it won’t jump to 800 in two months. Well, maybe in your dreams but it does not work in the real world. 

When working to increase your score, you have to be very patient.

No one can say when you’ll reach your target score, for instance from 740 to 800. However, one thing is for sure: you will reach that level if your efforts are consistent.

As you know by now, your credit score is dependent on the credit report made by credit bureaus. What happens is sometimes when you order your credit score from more than one bureau, you may see a slight difference. This difference is fine, as long as it is not huge.

To know how your score changes over time, it’s important to know how often you’ll see updates. To get these updates, you need to check credit reports regularly. 

Here’s what happens. Your creditors send data of your dealings with them once a month to the credit bureaus. Which is why you may see a slight change each month depending on the updated data.

An Expert Tip to Monitor Your Credit Score

As you know by now, your credit score changes regularly. Experts advise you check your credit score just once a year. Others say it’s enough to check twice a year. However, the right answer is once per quarter. It means you have to check 4 times a year.

when you monitor the score regularly 1. You can know beforehand your financial stability and situation before  applying for any kind of credit. 2. You can Avoid credit applications as you'll only apply when you will certainly qualify. 3. you will be able to identify and dispute any errors in the credit report   4.mymoneykarma

You can get a report free from each of the credit bureaus. That amounts to three reports. The fourth one you’ll have to buy. But don’t worry! It’s not expensive. On the contrary, for a nominal amount you can get a report from any of the three bureaus.

Getting four credit reports allows you to keep a hawk-eye view of what is happening to your credit score, such as Inquiries.

Yes, we’re going to cover Hard and Soft Inquiries next, both of which are crucial for your credit score health.

Hard Inquiry vs. Soft Inquiry 101

In some of the previous sections, we have talked about you checking your credit score and credit report. You may already know this action has no effect on your score whatsoever.

In this section, we are going to go deeper into the details of Soft Inquiries and Hard Inquiries.

When you yourself or a potential lender asks credit bureaus for your credit report, it generates an Inquiry. According to the type of Inquiry, your credit score won’t or will be affected.

There are two types of inquiries: 

  • Hard Inquiry: A hard inquiry takes place when a lender with whom you have applied for some form of credit decides to ask for your credit report. They do this so as to gauge your creditworthiness. This type of inquiry brings down your credit score (damn it!), but it’s temporary. 

  • Soft Inquiry: A soft inquiry is when you ask the credit bureaus to check your credit score. It also includes instances of credit card companies and lenders checking your score in order to pre-order you for their offer. The best thing about soft inquiries is that they do not affect your credit score at all!

Now, it is just the proverbial tip of the iceberg. There’s much more to know about hard and soft inquiries.

Hard Inquiries

When you apply for loans or credit such as an auto loan, mortgage or credit card, the lender of those financial instruments checks your credit report for the score. The lender approaches any one of the credit bureaus for this. Since these practically are actual credit applications, these are considered to be hard inquiries. As such, your credit score is affected adversely.

How do Hard Inquiries affect your scores?

When there are too many hard inquiries for your credit score within a short span of time, your credit score slides down faster than you can imagine.

This is because a lot of hard inquiries in a short time makes potential lenders sit up and take notice. It upsets them. Too many hard inquiries adds to multiple new credit accounts. Opening so many new credit accounts in a short span of time only shows you are having problems in paying bills and require new loans to stay afloat.

Therefore, hard inquiries are bad for your credit score as no one likes giving loans to those who are in perpetual need, no matter how much it helps their cause.

There is a silver lining to this dark cloud though. Credit bureaus consider the possibility you were just rate-shopping, and not actually applying for loans. Thus in this case, multiple inquiries about a particular kind of product like home loans are considered to be a single inquiry. Thus, this has only a small effect on your precious credit score.

However, do remember inquiries are not the only reason you can be denied credit. In fact, that rarely happens. Criteria like payment history, credit mix, credit utilization ratio and types of credit are even more important.

How long do inquiries affect your credit report?

The bad news first: hard inquiries stay on on credit report for more than 2 years.

Now for the good news: Their impact on your credit score decreases over time.

Don’t worry even if you have several hard inquiries just within a few months. For a potential lender, on-time payments and low credit utilization ratio are more important than your number of hard inquiries.

While you yourself can remove hard inquiries from your credit report, it is possible only if a company pulls your credit in error, or has done it without your permission. In such cases, you need to ask the credit bureau to remove this instance from your report file. 

All about Soft Inquiries

A Soft Inquiry is developed when:

  • You check your own credit score and report.

  • You give permission to outside agencies like potential employers to check your credit report.

  • Lenders, credit card companies, insurance companies and others check your credit report to give you a pre-approved loan.

Who can see your report’s Soft Inquiries?

Normally, only you can do so. However, there are exceptions.

Others who can view it are: 

  • Insurance companies who can see the inquiries of other insurance companies

  • Debt settlement companies who are authorized by you to view your report, that will also be shared with your current creditors

Soft Inquiries simply have no effect on your credit score. These are only for future reference and cannot be disputed.

Only a few outsiders, and only those who have your permission, can view your soft inquiries. These are not taken into account when calculating your credit score.

Now that we have learned both about Hard Inquiries and Soft Inquiries, let us learn about:

How to manage the Hard Inquiries as to salvage your credit score:

  • Apply for loans only when you really need it

  • Try removing the dispute by a certified letter, addressed to the credit bureaus. Explain why you want to dispute the inquiry, the name of the company than initiated the Hard Inquiry without your permission, and that you want it to be removed. Include your updated credit report and highlight those items you are disputing. State the reasons clearly. 

  • If you don’t want to write such a formal letter, you may just want time to do its work. Hard Inquiries are not permanent. They may take a few years, but fall off your credit score in time. 

Next up, credit reports. Here we are going to tell you what it is, why it is useful for you, and finally, how you can get this valuable document. 

Credit Reports - Where it all comes together

By now, you have a fair idea of credit reports. You know what they are, why they are important, who develops them, and how you can get them. However, there is still much more to learn about them. And that, my friend, is the purpose of this section!

What are credit reports?

Credit Reports, simply put, summarize your credit history.

It tells of your:

  1. previous loans history

  2. whether or not you have paid them back on time. 

In other words, it measures your credit worthiness.

Remember that word: credit worthiness.

Now, coming back to the subject of credit reports, it also contains detailed information such as the types of loans and your credit accounts, along with your personal information such as name, date of birth, address, PAN card number, and more.

Credit Reports are useful not just for your potential lender, but also for you. On your credit report, you can see: 

  • detailed information of the last credit check by a lender

  • mistakes in the report which you can dispute

  • which points in the report are negatively affecting your credit score

  • actions which are having a positive effect on your credit score

Where to get your credit report from?

You may already know by now, but it begs repeating, especially when there is information which is not given elsewhere on the web.

You can get your credit report from the three main credit bureaus in India, who are also called Credit Information Companies or CICs.

Now, not all CICs offer you your report for free. There are some from whom you’ll need to buy it.

However, every single time lenders want to check your credit score, they have to pay a fee.

Needless to say, lenders check your credit score every time you apply for a loan or credit card.

Where do CIC’s get all your information from?

You may now be wondering where on earth these CICs get your information from.

Well, that’s no mystery.

They get your financial and personal information from the various financial institutions like banks from whom you have taken loans, or have applied for one.

Credit reports allow lenders to minimize defaults in repayments by knowing beforehand who has a bad credit history. Even though your credit score is not the only factor in getting a loan, credit reports do have significant weight and are considered to determine your eligibility. 

Why are they so important?

Credit Scores are important both for you and the lender, as we have discussed earlier.

For the lenders, it is a measure of your creditworthiness.

Having a high score means you have a healthy and consistent repayment habit, while a low score indicates the opposite. 

What are they used for?

Credit reports tell lenders how creditworthy you are.

For lenders, your creditworthiness is perhaps one of the most important factors. After all, they’re more likely to give you a loan when they are sure of your ability to pay the loan back, in time and with interest.

If a person has a low credit score, it means he or she is not very creditworthy. Most lenders won’t want to risk their money on them. And even if people with low credit scores get loans luckily, such credit shall be accompanied with pretty high interest rates and long repayment periods, which means you’ll end up paying a whole lot of money just because you are plagued with a poor credit score.

Because of this, it is much better to improve your credit score before asking for credit. Those with high credit scores get the best loans and credit cards

Your credit report contains: 

  • Personal profile.

  • Accounts summary.

  • Credit inquiries.

  • Public records.

  • Account history.

  • Credit score (optional)

A credit report is used to find information like: 

  • Creditworthiness

  • Late and missed payments

  • Credit score

  • Loan and credit accounts

  • Reporting errors made by agencies

All of these help lenders make an informed decision. 

It Helps You Too!

Nowadays, you don’t need to wait for a hard copy of your credit report from one of the bureaus. You can buy your report online and download the digital version. (Hey, that saves paper!)

When you check the credit score regularly, you can easily detect any inaccurate information that is bringing your credit score. Thus, you can dispute these immediately and have the mistakes removed.

Now, before we go any further, it needs to be said that the responsibility to check your score and detect mistakes is your own. No credit bureau will do so on your behalf - they process millions of credit reports and scores a year.

In case you are planning to apply for credit cards and loans, you really should get your credit score and the report in order first. This greatly increases your chances of getting the credit.

The Fail-Safe Way to Apply for Your Credit Report

CICs make everything easier for you. Through them, you can get your credit report both online and offline.

However, you can’t just barge in there and start demanding your document!

There are robust processes in place. For a fail-safe way to get your credit report, there are steps you need to follow. More often than not, people make a mistake in one of these steps, leading their application to be rejected.

To start with, you’ll need to furnish some details and documents to get your credit report. They are:

  • Your Name

  • Your DOB or Date of birth

  • Your Address

  • Your PAN card number

  • You Identity authentication

Once you’ve got all these details and documents together, guess what? There’s a bit more work to be done!

  • Go to the CIC’s website. There you can view the report online. You have to give details like your personal information, PAN card or Drivers License and any other needed documents. 

  • You can also get a hard copy. Download the credit report request application form first. Self-attest and scan copies of documents like Driving License and PAN card for your Proof of Identity.

  • Enclose a DD or Demand Draft payable to the respective CIC.

  • Send your documents along with the DD to the address which is mentioned on the CIC’s website. 

Of course, the online process is a lot faster. It is better in another aspect as well. When you apply online, you can track your application for free. The credit bureau or CIC in question will send you a password-protected credit report. If you ask for a hard copy though, you’ll get the report through a courier or through a postal service.

How to Read a Credit Report like a Pro

Your credit report is a very important document. It includes essential information such as:

  • Details of your personal credit history

  • Details of your credit accounts including loan and credit card payments

  • Your payment history, account balance, credit limit, status of loans and opening date of credit 

  • Your new credit inquiries, collection and public records, and filed bankruptcy

Sounds intimidating? Think there’s no way you can make sense of this document?

Don’t worry. You’re not alone. A lot of people find this intimidating.

To help you out, here is a breakdown of the individual sections to make total sense of them.

Personal information: This section contains basic information about you such as your: 

  • Name

  • Address

  • Previous and current accounts

  • Date of birth

You should always check if the information in this main section is correct. Detect anything incorrect. It may happen that your name is misspelt and someone’s else’s credit report is given to you. If you see such mistakes, dispute it to the Credit Reporting Agency or CRA. It is essential that you do so because such things can be related to credit fraud.

Account information: For a potential lender, this section of your credit report is particularly important. It contains detailed information of the credit you took in the past, and the ones you have currently. The Accounts information is a highly detailed section, having information like:

  • Date of opening account

  • Current or balance account

  • Name of creditor

  • Highest credit limit

  • Account type: revolving installment or open

  • Monthly payment history 

  • Account ownership: joint or individual

  • Payment status

Needless to say, you need to check this section regularly.

Ever wondered why a balance on this section says you still have pending payments despite you having sent the payment? This is because the balance shown in this section is of the statement date.

  • Public Records: This is an important section, especially for a lender, because it shows information of your bankruptcy and collection accounts. Check the dates on this section as they determine how long they shall affect your credit score negatively.

  • Inquiries: If any agency makes an inquiry for your credit report and score, records of such instances are found in this section. 

For instance, if you have applied for a number of loans and credit cards, these are reflected in your report because they pull down your credit score. However, as you know already, soft inquiries do not affect your credit score and thus don’t come in this section of the report.

Making Sense of the Financial Geekspeak

Reading your credit report for the first time can be very terribly confusing, especially when there is technical jargon involved. In this section, you’ll come across some common terms/abbreviations in your reports. 
NA/NH: You’ll see these abbreviations when you have never taken loans or credit cards. The term means there is little to no information to generate your credit score.

STD: If you have sent all your payments on time, then you’ll see STD.

SMA: Did you delay payments? That’s when you’ll see this.

DBT: No, it does not mean you’re in debt. It instead means your credit information may be inactive/dormant for over 1 year.

LSS: You’ll see this sign when you have defaulted on a loan for a long time, when the lender has written off your loan as a loss, and when it is sent off to a collections agency.

DPD: This refers to Days Past Due, and indicates the days for which your loan account did not get a payment from you.

Written off or Settled: You’ll see this when you can’t make a repayment but agree on a repayment plan with the lender.

Your Company Has a Credit Report Too- Here’s Why!

Just like individuals, companies have credit reports too. Their reports are checked by the government and by suppliers of business contractors and utility.

It’ll be interesting to know utility service providers require companies to submit their credit reports.

On the other hand, these reports are very important for the companies themselves. It helps them to manage market risks by choosing business partners and suppliers carefully. With such information, company leaders can make informed decisions.

Corporate credit reports contain information like:

  • Name of owners and directors

  • Number and names of employees

  • Company’s profit and loss

  • Assets

  • Liabilities

  • Pending court cases, if any

The Real Difference Between Credit Score and Credit Report

These three terms confuse many people, yet these are central to the whole theory. 

This following sheet will hopefully shower some light on the confusion. 

A credit score is a 3-digit number which measures your creditworthiness or your financial credibility. Its scale is from 300 to 900, although the maximum one can realistically reach is 850. Credit scores, contained within credit reports are based on information by your previous and current lenders. Credit reports are made by credit bureaus, and provides an account of all your credit activity. 

Credit reports are chargeable while some CICs provide free credit ratings and credit scores. 

To Sum Up

Imagine this:
You go to a bank, approach the manager, and ask for their card or a hefty loan.

The manager exclaims it is their honor to have the prospects of having you as their customer. As you have a high credit score and a positive history, they don’t have any problem in giving you their best credit card or a premier loan.

You get VIP treatment! In fact, the manager tells you needn’t have come all the way. All you had to do was to call the bank, and they’d send someone with some documents to sign, along with your new card or loan account!

Seems like a dream, right?

Well, it could very well happen!

In this Ultimate Guide, you have learnt:

  • how credit score works

  • how to get a credit report

  • how to get a high credit score

  • how to keep your credit score from sliding down

That is all the information you need to get your score on the increase this year.
As you have seen, there are so many benefits when you have a high credit score. These range from lifestyle benefits to financial ones. 

All the best!

FAQs

  1. How can I check my credit score for free?
    Getting your credit score for free is easy. But we at mymoneykarma go a step further. We give you the credit score, and raise you your credit report analysis. All this is free! Click here to access this benefit.

  2. What is a good credit score for my age?
    Generally speaking, the closer you are towards 900, the better loans and credit cards you shall get.

  3. What is an excellent credit score?
    Credit scores between 800 and 850 are considered to be excellent.

 

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