What is Credit Score?
A Credit Score, also commonly referred to as CIBIL Score, is a 3-digit number that represents how well you have managed credit, like a home loan or personal loan or your credit cards, in the past. It is primarily a measure of your ability to borrow - calculated basis your past behaviour with credit.
Simply put, your credit score shows lenders whether you are a reliable borrower or a risky one, and the likelihood of you repaying a new loan responsibly.
When you apply for any kind of loan or a credit card, the lender bank or NBFC takes a close look at your credit score and credit history that is maintained in your credit report. Your credit score is calculated out of 900. The higher your credit score, the more likely lenders are to approve you for new credit. Usually, a score of 750 and above is preferred by lenders.
CIBIL or Credit Information Bureau (India) Limited is a credit bureau that maintains and calculates your credit score. While CIBIL is the oldest, there are three other credit bureaus that provide you with your credit report - Experian, CRIF High Mark and Equifax. Each credit bureau calculates your credit score independently on the basis of your credit information that is provided to them by banks and NBFCs on a regular basis. Each credit bureau has its own model for calculating your credit score; hence, your score from each bureau is likely to vary.
On Paisabazaar.com, you can check your credit score for free, with monthly updates. We have a partnership with multiple credit bureaus, including CIBIL, that enables you to check, track and build your credit score – At absolutely zero cost. Please note that checking your credit score does not have any impact on your score.
Your credit score is the first thing that a lender looks at while evaluating your loan application. In case your CIBIL score or credit score is low, the lender might reject the application without even considering it further.
If the score is high, the lender will look into other details to determine if the applicant is creditworthy. Thus, a good credit score increases the chances of your loan application being approved.
However, your credit score is not the only factor considered for a person’s ability to secure new credit. Lenders also take into consideration your debt to income ratio, employment history, profession, etc. before approving/rejecting the application.
Your credit score depends on a lot of factors that a credit bureau takes into consideration while calculating your score. These factors depict your credit behaviour in the past and are reported to Banks and NBFCs every time you apply for a credit product. Some of the key factors that influence your credit score are:
Loan Repayment History: Timely payments can boost up your credit score and help in improving it significantly. Defaulting on your EMIs or making late payments negatively affects your credit score. Your loan repayment history has a high impact on your CIBIL score calculation.
Duration of Credit History: The duration or age of your credit history also affects your credit score. If you have used credit cards/loans for a long period of time and made timely payments on them, then it's a sign of disciplined credit behaviour. It has a medium impact on your credit score.
Number of Hard Inquiries: Every time you apply for a new credit product, the lender makes an inquiry about your credit score. Such inquiries by lenders and financial institutions are known as hard inquiries. Too many hard inquiries may negatively affect your credit score as it shows you to be credit hungry. Multiple hard enquiries at the same time may have a considerable short-term impact on your credit score.
Credit Utilization Ratio: The ratio of the credit amount you spend to the credit amount available to you is known as the credit utilization ratio. You should try to refrain from utilising more than 30% of your available credit on a regular basis to have a good credit utilization ratio. Even though having CUR in the range of 60-70% barely has an impact on your credit score but having a high credit utilization ratio or maxing out your credit limit frequently indicates a higher dependency on credit and a potentially high repayment burden, which may negatively impact your credit score.
Credit Mix: If you have taken different kinds of loans like personal loan, auto loan, home loan and have responsibly paid it back, it shows your ability to handle different kinds of credit. Also, if you have taken too many unsecured loans like personal loans, it shows you are credit hungry and are too dependent on credit. This may work against you. However, credit mix has a low impact on your credit score and it’s unlikely that a lender will reject you just because you do not have an optimum mix of credit products.
Other Factors: Apart from the above 5 factors, which are primary in calculating your CIBIL score, there are other factors like errors in your credit report, lack of credit history and inability to fulfil your role as loan guarantor may have a very low negative impact on your credit score.
After the pandemic, most lenders have raised the eligibility criteria for approving a loan. Today, most lenders consider a credit score of 760 and above from CIBIL or any credit bureau as an excellent credit score. It becomes relatively easier to get the loan or credit card application approved if you have a CIBIL score of 760+.
Every credit bureau uses its own formula to calculate your credit score. Thus, your score may vary from one credit bureau to another.
It is possible to have a CIBIL score of 760 or above and have a credit score from another bureau below 700 at the same time. Hence, it’s important that you keep a tab on credit score from multiple bureaus. It is advisable to check your credit score once every 3-4 months at least.
Let us have a look at the credit score range that most lenders and bureaus consider while evaluating your credit applications:
Please Note: The credit score range mentioned above is only indicative and may vary from lender to lender and from one bureau to another.
Though credit score is not the only thing that lenders look at when considering a loan or credit card application, it is arguably one of the most important ones. Maintaining a good credit score comes with several benefits that include:
- Greater chances of your loan applications being approved, as a high credit score indicates higher creditworthiness and lower risk for the lender
- You are more likely to receive lower interest rates on loans
- You can get easy and quick approval for your loan and credit card applications
- Access to pre-approved loans based on your eligibility
- You can avail higher limit on your credit cards
- Discount on processing fees and other charges
There can be a number of reasons for a low credit score. Some of the main factors that can lower your credit score are:
- Missed or late payments of credit cards and loan EMIs
- Maxing out your credit limit or having very high credit utilization ratio regularly
- Errors in your credit report can also lower your score significantly
- Frequent or multiple hard inquiries for credit can also damage your credit score
- Closing the oldest credit account if other credit accounts are relatively new (It reduces the age of credit history)
- Settling the loan or credit card account instead of paying it in full and closing the account.
A low credit score can make it difficult for you to get your loan or credit card applications approved. You can take the following steps and adhere strictly to it to improve your credit score again:
- Start paying your loan EMIs and credit card bills on time. Do not miss payments under any circumstances.
- Reduce your excessive dependency on credit and keep your credit utilization ratio below 30% regularly.
- In case of errors in your credit report, get it rectified at the earliest from the credit bureau. For this, you should check your credit score regularly through Paisabazaar and if there’s a fall, do check the report for errors.
- Avoid applying for multiple loans or credit cards very frequently. It is advisable to wait for six months from availing the latest credit instrument before you apply for credit again.
- Avoid closing your oldest credit card. A longer credit history helps lenders take credit-related decisions with more confidence.
- Keep a good mix of secured (eg. home loan, car loan, etc.) and unsecured credit (personal loan, credit card, etc.) in your profile.
- Seek expert advice from Paisabazaar’s Credit Advisory Services to improve your credit score significantly.
Apart from the fact that Paisabazaar.com offers CIBIL score for FREE, there are several other benefits that you can avail after checking your credit score from Paisabazaar.com. Below are the ways in which Paisabazaar.com can help in building and maintaining a good credit score:
Free CIBIL Report: You can download the CIBIL report for FREE and can also compare your credit score from other bureaus for free.
Lifetime Free Tracking with Monthly Updates: We offer Free monthly credit score updates that enable you to check and track your credit score seamlessly.
Multi-Language & Platform Support: Paisabazaar.com offers credit report in English, Hindi, Marathi, Telugu and Kannada to help consumers understand their credit reports in their preferred language. Also, you can access your credit report through multiple platforms like Whatsapp, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, etc.
Chance of Approval: Paisabazaar.com has introduced a unique ‘Chances of Approval’ feature, wherein the customer is matched with the most suited lender on the basis of their credit score and other eligibility factors for a particular credit product. So, when you apply for any credit product from Paisabazaar.com you will see your Chance of Approval with each lender marked as Excellent, Good, Fair, etc. basis your credit score and eligibility.
Credit Advisory Service: We offer Credit Advisory service to help consumers build, improve and maintain a high CIBIL score for easy access to formal credit.
Q. Why does my CIBIL score keep changing?
Ans. Any change in any of the credit score factors can bring a change in your CIBIL score. Thus, little-noticed factors, such as late payments and maxing out your credit cards, as well as more noticeable factors that include a new home loan or car loan can also change your credit score.
Q. I have a high salary and low credit utilization ratio but I was denied the loan. Why?
Ans. A lender first looks at your credit score while considering your application for a loan. If your credit score is low, it will not approve your loan application even if you have a very high salary or very low credit utilization ratio.
Q. I have an 800+ credit score and the credit utilization ratio is well below 10% but I was denied a new credit card. Was this because I took a personal loan last month?
Ans. Applying for a lot of credit products in quick succession represents you as a credit hungry person. So, many banks do not approve your loan or credit card application even if you have a very high credit Q. score and a low credit utilization ratio.
Q. What is the minimum CIBIL score to get a personal loan?
Ans. The minimum CIBIL score required for loan approval varies from one lender to another for unsecured loans such as personal loans or business loans. However, if your CIBIL score is 750 and above, it becomes relatively easier to get the loan approved. Many lenders approve personal loan applications even if the CIBIL score is 650 but they may have to pay high interest on the loan.
Q. Can everyone access my CIBIL Score?
Ans. No. Your CIBIL score is confidential personal information that only you or a few authorized entities (on your consent) are allowed to access. These authorized entities can access your credit report only under specific circumstances, for instance, when you apply for a new loan or credit card. Some authorized entities that can access your CIBIL score/report include financial institutions and banks, who are trusted CIBIL members.
Q. How to check CIBIL score for free?
Ans. You can check your CIBIL score for free every month through Paisabazaar.com which is one of the best platforms to check credit score from various credit bureaus.
As per the RBI’s directives, the credit bureaus shall give access to FFCR (Full Free Credit Report) once a year to everyone whose credit information they hold. You can request for your free credit report anytime once in a year from CIBIL’s official website.
Q. How did CIBIL know about my loans and credit cards?
Ans. All banks and NBFCs are CIBIL members and provide details of loans and credit card repayments to CIBIL on a monthly basis. When you request the credit report, CIBIL accesses these details and calculates the score based on the data provided by the members.
The same logic holds true for credit scores prepared by Experian, Equifax and CRIF High Mark.
Q. Would checking my CIBIL Score lead to its decrease?
Ans. No. If you check your credit report or CIBIL score, it is considered to be a “soft inquiry” and this type of check does not affect your CIBIL score in any way. This holds true even if you’re checking other credit bureau’s credit scores or reports. However, the “hard inquiries” made by banks and financial institutions for your credit report affects your credit score.
Q. Does CIBIL Score affect my chances of getting a new loan or credit card?
Ans. At present, your credit score, whether reported by CIBIL, Experian, Equifax or CRIF High Mark, is one of the key factors that determine your eligibility to get a new credit product. Different banks and NBFCs have different cut-off criteria in providing new credit products.
Maintaining a high credit score (closer to 900) definitely improves your chances of getting approvals on additional credit products.
However, CIBIL score (or credit score) is not the only criteria that determine a person’s eligibility to secure new credit. Lenders also take into account other factors like your debt to income ratio, credit and employment history, their own internal criteria, etc. before making lending decisions.
Q. What is the minimum CIBIL score required for any type of loan?
Ans. There is no evident data available at present regarding the minimum, good or high CIBIL score for getting loans or credit cards. The discretion of providing approvals on loans or credit cards solely depends on banks, NBFCs and financial institutions. However, a credit score of 750 and above is usually preferred by the lenders for approving a credit application.
Q. How do I increase/improve my CIBIL Score?
Ans. CIBIL score is based on your credit history and it cannot be increased overnight, no matter what a self-styled CIBIL score improvement agency might tell you. It starts with paying your credit card dues and EMIs on time, while also requiring you to minimize your outstanding debt.
Q. Why is a credit card account that I already paid off and closed still on my report?
Ans. Your current lenders report your loan/credit card status to CIBIL periodically and these details get reflected in your report over time. Therefore, if you close out a loan or credit card account this month, it might still reflect in your credit report.
Q. What happens if my CIBIL Report has errors?
Ans. In case you find errors in your CIBIL report, like incorrect mention of default in repayments, wrongly assigned loans/credit cards, errors in personal information, etc. you can request CIBIL to correct it through their Dispute Resolution procedure. As part of this process, you will be required to submit supporting documents, such as bank NOC, loan settlement letter and also a nominal fee to get your records updated. Please note, these errors in your credit report may have a minor impact on your credit score, thus it is advisable to get them corrected at the earliest.
You can contact CIBIL customer care through the following means:
- Online: You can contact CIBIL’s customer care online. For this,
- Visit https://www.CIBIL.com and click on ‘Contact Us’
- Under ‘To Contact Us Online’ section select ‘Click here’
- Enter the required details and your query and click on ‘Submit’
- By Phone: You can call at +91-22-6140-4300 (Mon-Fri between 10:00 AM to 06:00 PM)
- Fax: You can contact the company’s customer care through fax at +91 - 22 - 6638 4666
- Visit the Corporate Office/Write to the Company: You can also visit the corporate office or write to the company to get your queries answered/grievances redressed. The registered address is -
TransUnion CIBIL Limited
One Indiabulls Centre, Tower 2A, 19th Floor,
Senapati Bapat Marg, Elphinstone Road,
Mumbai - 400013
Q. Can CIBIL delete or change my credit information on its own?
Ans. No. CIBIL does not have the authority to delete or make changes to your credit report on its own. They are only involved with collating the data as provided by the member banks and NBFCs.
In cases of credit report disputes, CIBIL will make changes to your credit report provided there is sufficient documentary evidence to show that an error has actually occurred. However, the concerned banks or NBFCs will have to provide the necessary clearance before CIBIL makes such changes.
Q. What does “New to Credit” mean?
Ans. Your CIBIL score is calculated on the basis of your credit history. So, if you have never taken any credit product like a loan or credit card, CIBIL will assign you a “New to Credit” tag, which means you have no credit history. It becomes difficult for the lender to determine the risk category you fall into in case you have never taken a loan or never had a credit card.
Q. I have signed as a guarantor for someone else’s loan. Will that impact my credit score?
Ans. Becoming a guarantor for someone else’s loan makes you liable to pay the loan in case he/she fails to do so. The guarantor’s CIBIL score is impacted in case he/she fails to repay a loan where the primary borrower has already defaulted.
Q. What is the difference between CIBIL Report and CIBIL Rank?
Ans. The difference between the CIBIL report and CIBIL rank is given below:
A historical record of the repayment of all loans and credit cards
A historical record of the repayment of all loans of a business
Credit score ranges between 300 and 900
Credit rating is denoted by numbers 1 to 10
A score closer to 900 is preferred when seeking new credit
Companies with credit rating 1 are the most preferred borrowers while those with credit rating 10 are the least preferred.
Q. How to download CIBIL Report?
Ans. When you check your credit score on Paisabazaar, you get scores from multiple bureaus. Your CIBIL report is provided on the dashboard where your CIBIL score is published. You can download your CIBIL report from here and use your DDMMYYYY as the password.