CIBIL Score: Overview

In case you are planning to go and get a new credit card or apply for a loan, you might hear about the terms CIBIL Report and CIBIL Score being thrown around casually. You might even have been told that if your CIBIL Score is less than a pre-determined limit, your application will get rejected. As there are numerous myths surrounding the basics of these important concepts, in the following sections we will discuss some of the key features and basic information of these.

What is CIBIL Score?

CIBIL Score is actually a contraction of the term CIBIL TransUnion score and it is one of the most commonly used scores when determining your eligibility for a loan or a credit card. As the name suggests, it is a number, in fact, a 3 digit number ranging from 300 to 900 that sums up your history of borrowings. The important point to note here is that only previous borrowings i.e. loans and credit cards are taken into account when calculating the score, so your account balance and assets such as investments or property play no role whatsoever when assigning you a CIBIL score. The formula used to calculate a score is proprietary information hence the exact details of how CIBIL score is calculated is not available to the general public; however, as long as you have paid your previous EMIs and credit cards bills on time, you would have a high credit score. The closer your CIBIL Score is to 900, the better your chances of being approved for a new loan or credit card. You should however keep in mind that the CIBIL score range is specific to the CIBIL TransUnion Score and does not hold true for credit report prepared by Equifax or Experian.

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Who Calculates CIBIL Score?

The CIBIL score is calculated by a leading credit bureau in India named CIBIL in association with TransUnion, a globally recognised authority engaged in creating credit reports and scores. CIBIL full form is Credit Information Bureau India Ltd., which is India’s first CIC (Credit Information Company) which initiated operations in the year 2000. In order to calculate the score, CIBIL uses information regarding credit cards and loans from various NBFCs and Banks operating in India. Currently, the organisation is engaged in providing scores for consumer CIBIL for individuals as well as commercial CIBIL for businesses operating in India.

How to Check CIBIL Score?

A CIBIL score check can be made both online and well as offline through post by requesting a copy of the CIBIL Report. All you need to do is send a request to the credit agency by filling up their online request form and paying their fees or sending a request by post with a bank draft for the specified amount through post. In case you request your CIBIL score online, you may get a digital copy of your CIBIL report within the next 48 hours, while the physical ones sent through post may take between 2 to 4 weeks to reach you. In case you are wondering how to get your CIBIL Score online for free, the bad news is that the provision does not currently exist however you can get your free Experian and/or Equifax credit report through


CIBIL Score Range CIBIL Score Range InfoGraphics

Your application for a new credit card or loan is highly dependent on your credit score.


Here’s a breakdown of how your score can impact the chances of your application’s approval: 


New Borrower – 1-5: As first-time borrowers do not have a credit profile, they are classified on a risk index scale of 1 to 5 by CIBIL TransUnion. Herein, “1” refers to the highest risk of default while “5” indicates the lowest risk.


Bad - 300-599: This is a bad (low) CIBIL score and the chances of being approved for a new loan or credit card are slim in this case. Reasons for getting this score include late payment of loan EMIs and credit card payments.


Good - 600-799: If you are planning to apply for a new credit card or loan, this score offers a good chance that your application will be accepted. A score in this range shows that you have handled your previous borrowings judiciously and are a safe borrower.


Great – 800-900: This score puts you in a sweet spot. It reflects a perfect track record of repayments with respect to all your previous borrowings, meaning you get the best offers on loans and credit cards available from various lenders.

What is CIBIL Report?

The CIBIL Report is a document that contains your credit score as well as a detailed list of all your previous borrowings such as loans and credit cards. The report is generated on the basis of information received from the banks and NBFCs operating in India. These financial institutions send the data regarding existing clients to CIBIL and all of these data are compiled to form your credit report and by extension your credit score. As discussed earlier, if you are wondering how to know your CIBIL score, you can input a request at the CIBIL website, however, now many leading banks have a dedicated link in the net banking interfaces through which you can request your individual CIBIL report.

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Reasons to Know Your CIBIL Score

The primary reason to know your credit score is to gauge your eligibility for new loans and credit cards. The primary way a credit bureau in India such as Equifax, Experian and CIBIL TransUnion maintains records is via an individual’s PAN or permanent account number. Hence to perform CIBIL check via PAN you must have a valid PAN card, which is a pre-requisite for availing loans and credit cards through traditional banking channels. If you know your credit score, you can gauge if you are eligible for the loan or credit card that you are seeking. This would definitely improve your chances of approval and help maintain a high credit score because your score may get a hit if your application for a new loan is unsuccessful.


For More Details Read: How to Check my CIBIL Score?   


Apart from that, sometimes errors may creep in your credit report such as a loan that you have already paid off showing up on your credit report. Such instances can also adversely affect your chances of new loan/credit card approval. Therefore, knowing the current status provides you the option of rectifying your credit report in a timely manner so that you can maintain a high score for future borrowings.


Read our section: How to repair faulty credit report for further details regarding what errors can happen in your report and how you can get those rectified.

How to Maintain a High CIBIL Score?

It might already be apparent that having a high CIBIL score is of paramount importance for the average person who intends to apply for a new borrowing instrument. Due to the importance of this, many a financial advisor has set up shop as self styled CIBIL score improvement agency, however in many cases, the advice offered by them is the same as that you can find for free on any financial website. The simplest action that can help you maintain a high score is through timely payment of your credit card bills and EMI.


For More Details Read: How to improve CIBIL score and Factors that affect your Credit Score.

How to Read CIBIL Report?

The report you receive from CIBIL is not very difficult to understand but just like a medical report such as a blood test, you do need to learn how to understand it. The most obvious and easy to understand section is the 3-digit score that is at the top of the report. After the CIBIL score check, lie the other sections of the report such as your personal information and the complete list of all your borrowings since you got your first credit card or took your first loan.


To know the various sections of your credit report online and how to read it, visit How to Read Your Credit Report.

Re-building your Score

Not everyone is lucky or smart enough to have maintained a good credit score hence many ask the questions  such as how to increase CIBIL score or how to increase CIBIL score after settlement in case the low score was caused due to default on a previous loan or credit card which has already been settled. The good thing is that all is not lost if your credit score has taken a hit, as there are still ways you can recover. There are in fact a number of ways through which an individual can achieve improvement of their current score and further details are available on the page: How to Achieve a Good Credit Score.

How does CIBIL Know My Credit History

If you have ever applied for a loan or credit card, one of the key documents that you will have to submit is a copy of your PAN card. The details of your loan are periodically reported by the bank of NBFC to the three credit bureaus operating in India i.e. CIBIL TransUnion, Experian and Equifax. This ensures that CIBIL has a record of all your borrowing including current and previous status. What is more, CIBIL also maintains a list – the CIBIL defaulter list that can be used by lenders to determine if a current applicant has previously defaulted on a loan.

CIBIL Report and New Borrowings

When banks evaluate a new loan/credit card application, they often ask you to fill a form to apply for CIBIL score so that they can run the required checks. In case your credit score is closer to 900 you stand a better chance being eligible for a loan as compared to a lower score that is closer to 300. That said there is in fact no good answer to questions such as – how much CIBIL score is good, what is minimum CIBIL score for car loan or even more common, how much CIBIL score required for a credit card. The fact is, each lender has its own cut-off and other criteria when sanctioning a loan so there is no one-size fits all solution with regards to how the CIBIL Report and your score can lead to acceptance or rejection of your loan application.


Q1. I want to check my CIBIL record. How do I do it?

Ans. You can easily visit the CIBIL TransUnion Website and place a request for CIBIL score Check and CIBIL Report online. There are fees to the tune of Rs. 500 (approx.) payable through debit card or net banking of major banks in India. Click here for more details regarding how to perform a credit score check and tips on how to get CIBIL report online.


Q2. Minimum CIBIL score for credit card?

Ans. The score requirements for a new credit card vary from one bank to another as well as from one type of card to another. Additionally, no credit card provider is interested in making their internal policies known to the general public at the time of deciding on the merits of a new credit card application. Additionally, CIBIL score is not the only qualification criteria for a credit card, therefore, even with a high score your application may be rejected due to other factors such as age group, income level, banking relationship, type of employment etc.


Q3. How many years CIBIL keep record of defaulters?

Ans. Luckily, the CIBIL records of defaulters is not permanent, hence you can always recover from a low CIBIL Score in case of a default or settlement occurring on one or more loans or credit cards. As per available information, these records are maintained for a period of 5 to 7 years, beyond which those records no longer adversely affects your credit score.


Q4. Are there any banks not listed in CIBIL?

Ans. All banks that operate in India and have retail operations are listed with CIBIL TransUnion. However, not all NBFCs and banks use the CIBIL Score to make decision regarding the merit of new loan/credit card applications. Such lenders make a credit inquiry from Experian or Equifax instead of a CIBIL inquiry to make their decision.


Q5. How to get CIBIL credit score for free?

Ans. At present there is no way to get a free CIBIL score check and a fee is payable (approx. Rs. 500) to know your credit score. Though free CIBIL score is currently not possible you may get a discount if you apply for CIBIL score calculation through your bank and a few select partner channels. Instead of trying how to check CIBIL score free, instead try the free Experian or Equifax score which is available with Paisabazaar.   


 Q6. Is CIBIL TransUnion the only credit bureau in India?

Ans. No. Two other credit reporting agencies India currently have operations – Experian India and Equifax India. You can get your free credit report from Experian/Equifax for through Paisabazaar.  


Q7. Who can make a CIBIL Enquiry?

Ans. Prospective lenders such as banks and NBFCs as well as you by yourself can know your CIBIL score. Apart from this some employers can also ask for a copy of your CIBIL report however they cannot raise such a query by themselves from the credit bureau.


Q8. To whom does CIBIL Rating Apply?   

Ans. CIBIL rating currently applies to commercial borrowers i.e. companies and businesses. Those with a higher CIBIL Rating can get loans at lower interest rates. For individuals, the only CIBIL consumer credit information report is applicable. 


Q9. What is minimum CIBIL score for personal loan and home loan?

Ans. There is at present no clear information from banks with respect to minimum CIBIL score for home loan or personal loan. Additionally, CIBIL score is not the only criteria on which lenders base their decision to grant a loan.  Rule of thumb- the higher your CIBIL score, the better your chances of getting a loan.


Q10. Is Personal loan without CIBIL check possible?

Ans. At present, personal loans through the tradition banking channels are no longer possible without a CIBIL check. This is the key reason why personal loan for CIBIL defaulters has become so difficult. However, there are alternatives such as peer to peer lending and various secured loans that can be availed by such individuals.


Q11. When to register a CIBIL Complaint?

Ans. Even if you have a good credit history, if there are errors in your report, your loan application may be rejected. In such a case, you need to raise a CIBIL complaint so that future approval for loans/credit cards is unaffected. However this is applicable only in case there are errors and you cannot register such a complaint because there is no personal loan for low CIBIL Score or banks refuse to grant a loan because of loan default.


Q12. Is there any loan for low CIBIL score?

Ans. Yes. Though most loans cannot be availed with a low CIBIL Score or the interest rate charged would be much higher than the norm, a few loans such a gold loan and loan against property may be availed even with a low CIBIL score.


Q13. What is CIBIL TransUnion Score? Is it same as CIBIL score?

Ans. CIBIL score is in fact a contraction of the term CIBIL TransUnion Score and they mean the same thing. The longer name is derived from the names of the two partner entities CIBIL and TransUnion who have collaborated in India to provide credit score for businesses and individuals.


Q14. What is good Credit Score?

Ans. As per general perception, a high credit score is termed as a good credit score. Mathematically, the closer your score is to 900, the better your credit score and the closer your score is to 300, the worse your credit score. Click here in case you are wondering “How to check my CIBIL score”.    


Q15. What is CRIF High Mark?

Ans. At present, a CIBIL does not offer services to a few sections of the Indian society such as there is no CIBIL Loan eligibility calculator. In this situation, CRIF High Mark caters to each and every segment of borrowers including Microfinance, retail as well as MSME and Commercial segments. CRIF is the world’s largest and India’s first Microfinance Bureau Database.

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