Your credit report is more important to you than you think.
A few months ago, I wrote a blog article about my encounter with one of the local banks that rejected my request to increase credit card limit for no good reason. I mentioned I had an “AA” CBS Credit Score from Singapore Credit Bureau. A lot of readers wrote in to ask me how can they check their credit score. I have compiled the information to give you this completed guide to Credit Report in Singapore.
Unknown to many people, the credit report is more important than you think in your day to day life. Most lenders will check your credit file to assess your creditworthiness prior to lend you money, so whenever you apply for a bank loan such as a mortgage loan, car loan or even credit card, the banks will check your record behind the scene. Naturally, good credit repayment history will make it easier for you to obtain credit and to qualify for loans. At the same time, any credit-related information will be uploaded on your credit file.
Monitoring your credit file will also protect against possible fraudulent use of your personal details to obtain credit.
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. It is a joint venture between The Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) and Infocredit Holdings Pte Ltd.
CBS aggregates credit-related information amongst participating members and presents a more complete risk profile of a customer to credit providers. This helps credit providers to determine the likelihood of the customer repaying, thus enhancing their risk assessment capabilities.
What is a Credit Report
In short, your credit report is a record of your credit payment history compiled from different credit providers. Your credit report gives you and the banks a snapshot of your credit repayment capability. The report will give lenders, credit card issuers and banks a full picture of your financial standing, and help them make the decision over whether you should be issued with a credit card, given a loan, or even have your credit limit increased.
A sample of a credit report will look like this (click to enlarge)
If you notice the colourful bar in the sample showing “HH” to “AA”, it is the Risk Grade corresponding to the Credit Score.
What Is A Credit Score?
A Credit Score is a number used by lenders as an indicator of how likely an individual is to repay his debts and the probability of going into default. It is an independent assessment of the individual’s risk as a credit applicant.
A CBS Credit Score is a four-digit number based on your past payment history on your loan accounts. The score range 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. Below is the table showing the Risk Grades and Probabilities of Default for the respective Score Ranges.
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, number of credit facilities may also be taken into consideration by lenders during a loan application.
Do note that CBS neither “blacklist” nor play a part in the lending approval decision which is fully undertaken by lenders and its lending policies. CBS instead, only provides specific factual credit-related information about consumers who have credit or loan facilities to the lenders.
6 factors that affect your Credit Score
1. Utilization Pattern
This refers to the amount of credit amount owed/used on accounts by individuals.
2. Recent Credit
Lenders may perceive that you are over-extending yourself if you have newly booked credit facilities within a short period of time. Therefore, consumers are advised to apply for new credit in moderation.
3. Account Delinquency Data
The presence of delinquency (late payment) on your loan accounts will reduce your credit score.
4. Credit Account History
A consumer with 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.
5. Available Credit
This refers to the number of accounts available (open or active) for credit.
6. 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.)
Additional Reading: 5 tips you can use to improve your credit score.
Where can I get my Credit Report?
A transaction fee of $6 plus GST applies.
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.
Free Credit Report
With effect from 1st April 2016, consumers who have applied for a new credit facility with any of CBS member banks or financial institutions are entitled to a free credit report. View list of CBS members.
Credit applicants will now receive a notification letter informing them of the credit application approval or rejection statuses. With this approval or rejection letter, you are able to obtain a free credit report from CBS within 30 calendar days from the date of approval or rejection letter.
The new industry initiative aims to better facilitate consumers’ ability to verify the accuracy and completeness of their credit data by providing a credit report free of charge upon a New Application enquiry has been conducted by any of CBS members in the last 30 days. CBS will extend the free report to the individual when he/she makes the request in person at the CBS office or online via the CBS website.
Where there is no enquiry conducted by a Member when an individual has applied for a new credit facility, he/she can visit CBS in person to obtain a complimentary copy of his report with the letter issued by Member indicating a credit application was made.
In the event that enquiry was not conducted by that member and credit application was rejected without receiving the letter, please contact the respective Member for clarification.