You can’t live a modern financial life without credit. Having access to “credit” is your ability to obtain goods and services before you pay for them, based on the trust that you will make payment in the future. You may not realize that you have probably used credit many times in your life. For example, you accessed credit when you:

  • took a mortgage to buy a house.
  • obtained a loan to buy a car.
  • used a credit card to make a payment.
  • used premium financing to buy life insurance.
  • used share financing to buy stocks or unit trusts.
  • run a business, and you are the guarantor for the security bond issued to your company.

And yet, credit is often misunderstood. Many people often take credit for granted until the day arrives when they can’t get the credit they need.

Credit Bureau (Singapore) Pte Ltd (CBS) is Singapore’s most comprehensive consumer credit bureau that has full-industry uploads from all retail banks and major financial institutions. Whenever you need to use your credit or borrow money, a credit bureau report from CBS is a key factor. Your credit report is a record of your credit payment history consolidated from banks and major financial institutions in Singapore.

Banks and lenders often use the CBS report as one of the various considerations in their credit assessment process. The higher the score, the lower the probability of an individual defaulting payment, hence making it easier for one to obtain credit and qualify for loans.

In the past, I wrote a few articles about credit:

The global pandemic inevitably reduced the bank’s risk appetite to lend money and I heard some people are already affected. A good credit score is playing an even more important role in your financial health. Therefore, in collaboration with Credit Bureau Singapore, I am writing this article to answer some of the commonly asked questions by readers.

How can you obtain your credit report?

You can request a copy of your credit file online, a transaction fee of $6 plus GST applies. But if you are applying for a new credit facility with any of CBS member banks or financial institutions, you are entitled to a free credit report. View the list of CBS members here.

You can also subscribe to ‘My Credit Monitor’ service, which checks your report daily and notifies you by email when key changes are detected. Early detection is key to minimising the damage that ID theft can have on your credit.

What is included in a credit report?

A typical credit report includes the following, you can click here to download a sample report.

  • Summary of your personal credit facilities, total credit limit across all banks in Singapore and the presence of any default or bankruptcy records.
  • Account Status History which displays all the credit accounts you have with banks and financial institutions under CBS. This information is displayed on a rolling 12-month basis while closed accounts will have the last 12 months payment status history as at the date of closure displayed for 3 years.
  • Previous Enquiries contain a record of all enquiries made on your report, including self-enquiries. This information will be retained in the report for 2 years from the date of enquiry.
  • Default Records reflect payment default information as reported by lenders who are members of CBS. Default records with the status of Negotiated Settlement or Full Settlement will be displayed for 3 years from the status date. For default records with the status of Outstanding, Partial Payment and Sold Off, the records will be displayed indefinitely on the report.
  • Bankruptcy Proceedings displays bankruptcy records sourced from IPTO. This information will be retained in the credit report for 5 years from the date of discharge from bankruptcy. This is consistent with IPTO’s data retention period.
  • Narratives indicate involvement in Debt Management Programme (DMP) with Credit Counselling Singapore (CCS) and any amendments made to the information in the report.
  • Aggregated Outstanding Balances are generally computed based on the amounts outstanding under borrowers’ credit cards and credit facilities, including any fees and interest accrued thereon.
  • Aggregated Monthly Instalments include the specific amount for each credit facility in your name provided by the Financial Institution(s) for the previous month and aggregated amounts for the preceding 5 months.

Is your credit bureau report up-to-date?

The reported monthly instalment amounts will only be shown in a detailed Product Type breakdown for the most recently reported month’s data from the Financial Institution(s).

For example: If you obtain your personal credit report on or before 15 January 2021, the reported monthly instalment amounts displayed would be up until November 2020.

If you obtain your personal credit report after 15 January 2021, the reported monthly instalment amounts displayed would be up until December 2020.

How does a joint account affect the report?

Monthly instalment amounts for Joint Accounts are reported as a full instalment amount due for a facility and do not reflect individually pro-rated or shared amounts for each joint borrower.

Illustration of Breakdown of Monthly Instalments by banks and accounts

What is a credit score and what does it mean?

A credit score is a number used by lenders as an indicator of how likely an individual is to repay his/her debts and the probability of going into default. It is an independent assessment of the individual’s risk as a credit applicant. This scoring range looks like below.

It is a fluid number that may change from time to time in tandem with changes in your credit information.

  • A CBS Credit Score is a four-digit number based on your past payment history on your loan accounts.
  • The score ranges from 1000 to 2000, where individuals scoring 1000 have the highest likelihood of defaulting on a payment, whereas those scoring 2000 have the lowest chance of reaching a delinquency status. Your score will be supplemented with the risk grade and risk grade description.
  • Your credit score is just one factor used in the application process. Other factors apart from your credit report, such as your annual salary, length of employment, bankruptcy/ litigation information, and the number of credit facilities may also be taken into consideration by lenders during a loan application.
  • CBS neither “blacklists” nor plays a part in the lending approval decision which is fully undertaken by lenders and their lending policies. CBS provides specific factual credit-related information about consumers who have credit or loan facilities to the lenders.

What factors affect your credit bureau score?

Below are the key factors that affect your scores.

Utilization PatternThe amount of credit amount owed/used on accounts by individuals.
Recent Credit
  • Lenders may perceive that you are over-extending yourself if you have newly booked credit facilities within a short period of time.
  • Consumers are advised to apply for new credit in moderation.
Account Delinquency DataThe presence of delinquency (late payment) on your loan accounts will reduce your credit score.
Credit Account History
  • A consumer with a long-established credit history is deemed to be more favourable or a reliable borrower when compared to one who has a limited or no credit history.
  • Accounts with a history of prompt payments will help to boost your credit rating.
  • 12 months of account repayment conduct (closed and defaulted accounts are also included) as displayed under the Account Status History in your credit report is used for score calculation.
Available CreditThe number of accounts available (open or active) for credit.
Enquiry Activity
  • This refers to the number of new application enquiries found in your credit report.
  • Each time a potential bank/financial institution pulls your credit report in response to a new loan application, an enquiry is placed on your file. Having too many enquiries in your credit report indicate to lenders that you are trying to take on more debt, therefore increasing your credit exposure.
  • To keep your enquiries to a minimum, try to limit the number of loan facilities and credit cards that you apply for.
  • Review enquiries on existing loan facilities do not affect your score.

It is worthwhile to keep up-to-date with respect to the details that go into your credit report to monitor your credit health, as well as to review your report for inaccurate information.

If you have any doubt about your report, you should contact the credit bureau’s Hotline 6565 6363 or send an email to to seek clarification.

Leave your comment if you have any question, subscribe below for weekly tips to improve your financial health and achieve your financial freedom.

About the Author

Ivan Guan is the author of the popular book "FIRE Your Retirement". He is an independent financial adviser with more than a decade of knowledge and experience in providing financial advisory services to both individuals and businesses. He specializes in investment planning and portfolio management for early retirement. His blog provides practical financial tips, strategies and resources to help people achieve financial freedom. Follow his Telegram Channel to join the FIRE community.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. This does not reflect the official position of any agency, organization, employer or company. Refer to full disclaimers here.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}