Waiting nervously to hear about your loan application status? Wondering how financial institutions decide who to approve or reject for credit? We are rated through credit scores, which are calculated by credit reporting agencies based on our credit history and financial position and using their own proprietary models.
For instance, every person who’s had a debt and good repayment record may or may not have a favourable credit score. There are also other parameters that are assessed. Continue reading to understand what it is and how to level up that score.
What is credit score and why is it important?
A credit score is a number that tells lenders about a person’s overall credit standing and their past payment habits. Lenders use credit scores to decide if a person is credible to receive a new loan or a credit card. Typically, when evaluating credit scores, lenders look at your debt repayment history, status of outstanding debt including credit type, period, and amount, as well as any recent applications.
Your credit score is important because it makes or breaks your credit applications. In other words, your credit score is your “report card” for a bank to review when you apply for a loan or a credit card. Having a good score is the key to getting a loan or credit card application approved on favourable terms and conditions.
Where can I find my credit score?
Bank Negara Malaysia’s (BNM) Central Credit Reference Information System (CCRIS) generates credit reports for individuals. You may obtain your CCRIS report in person from any BNM service counter, or download it from the eCCRIS portal. To register for an eCCRIS account, you will need to make a visit to a BNM office near you. Watch this video for the steps to register.
You can also obtain your credit score from CTOS, a credit scoring agency. You can sign up for an account to access a free basic report. Both CCRIS and CTOS are used widely by financial institutions.
What makes a good credit score?
CCRIS reports don’t tell you if your credit standing is good or bad. CTOS, on the other hand, has a scoring tier that assigns a good/bad meter. This can be useful for the layman who just really wants to know if their credit application will be approved.
At the end of the day, lenders use the information in these reports to evaluate applicants based on their own internal benchmarks for what constitutes a good score.
How can I improve my credit score?
Here are ways to keep your score in top shape:
Make payments on time, on or before the due date. It reflects your credibility when you’re overdue by two months or more.
Avoid mass applying for credit. You risk leaving a record of potential rejections. Find out what the borrowing requirements are and choose the one that best matches your financial standing.
Pay-off smaller outstanding debts in full. This helps to ease your existing financial obligations and hence appears more favourable in the eyes of lenders.
A bad score can be fixed, but having no score is also bad because creditors cannot profile you and decide if you would be a good borrower. Even if you may not need it now, building a line of credit could be useful for future situations when you might need to apply for a loan.
Start building a healthy credit history now with the above tips. Your future credit score will thank you.
This article is brought to you by CIMB as part of our ongoing efforts to raise the level of financial literacy among Malaysians. Financial knowledge and understanding are key to making well-informed and meaningful financial decisions that will improve all our well-being. This, in turn, achieves CIMB’s purpose of advancing customers and society.