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One Credit Report Per Year Now Absolutely FREE

Great News! You can now ask for your Credit Information Report without paying any charges for the same.

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has directed the Credit Information Companies to provide all individuals, whose credit history is available with them, their Full Credit Report... free of cost.

The key aspects of the notification [Free Annual Credit Report to Individuals dated September 1, 2016] issued by the RBI, in this regards, are detailed below.

RBI is of the opinion that
a. Credit Report plays an important role in the financial matters of a person. Hence, s/he is entitled to have a copy of the same.

b. Further, it has to be a full credit report, incorporating all the details. If not, it will not serve the very purpose of sharing the report with the person concerned. Only a full credit report will be of any meaningful use.

c. It should enable the borrower to rectify errors, if any, in his/her credit history.

Accordingly, RBI has directed all Credit Information Companies to 
1. Provide one Full Credit Report including Credit Score
2. Once in a calender year (i.e. Jan to Dec)
3. To all individuals, whose credit history is being maintained by them
4. Incorporating the latest position with respect to all his/her loan exposures
5. In Electronic Format
6. Free of Cost
7. After duly authenticating the request received for the same

It is important that the above-mentioned Free Full Credit Report, including the Credit Score, should be the same as the most detailed version of the report that the Credit Information Companies provide to the Credit Institutions.

This guideline is effective from the year commencing on January 1, 2017.

Imp Announcement: Grab the Free Copy of your Credit Report and Score.

Meanwhile, the Credit Information Companies must set up the necessary systems, to ensure that a person can access his/her Free Full Credit Report... any time during the year. Their websites should provide the necessary information, on the procedure to be followed by an individual in this regards. This policy should be duly approved by their respective Board of Directors.

As you may be aware, Credit Score is a 3-digit number, that summarizes the quality of your borrowing history. The details of all your loans availed in the past, are analyzed to arrive at a single number — called the Credit Score — which determines whether you are "good borrower" or a "bad borrower".

Presently, four RBI approved Credit Information Companies determine and maintain your Credit Report and Score. These companies are:
- Credit Information Bureau (India) Ltd. (CIBIL) 
- Experian Credit Information Co. of India Pvt. Ltd.
- Equifax Credit Information Services Pvt. Ltd.
- CRIF High Mark Credit Information Services

The key parameters that go into determining your Credit Score include mainly...
... How many loans you have availed till date
... What was the amount sanctioned and the balance outstanding now
... Percentage of loan utilized out of the total sanctioned limit 
... How much is secured borrowing and how much unsecured
... What loan amount have you stood guarantor for
... Has your repayment been timely or are there any delays, defaults or write-offs
... Number of loan inquiries you have made in the past

Credit Score ranges from 300 to 900, and a score of "750 and above" is generally considered as a Good Score by the lenders.

You can read more about this on my blog post All about Credit Score and importance of the same.

A high score signifies that you are a prudent and low-risk borrower. Banks would love to have you as their customer. Therefore, a good score improves your chances of getting the loan. More importantly, banks would offer you much cheaper interest rates, as compared to low credit-score high-risk borrowers. Since borrowing has become common nowadays... for car, house, education, etc... it would save you tons of money on the interest cost. 

Therefore, it is important to have a good Credit Score.

But worry not!

If, for some reason in the past, your credit history has suffered...

... It does not disqualify you to raise fresh loans
There are many other factors — your job profile, income, liabilities, educational background, age, dependents, etc. — that banks take into account, when evaluating your loan application. But yes, a low score could definitely make it more difficult to get a loan. And the cost too would be higher.

... You can take steps to improve the same.
These have been discussed in detail in my blog post Top 5 Tips To Enhance Your Credit Score (including the 6th Bonus Tip); and summarized below:
1. No delays or defaults
2. Moderate usage of your limits
3. Fewer number of loans / credit cards
4. Loan composition
5. Lower frequency of inquiries

Of course, let me caution you that, it will take time to negate and erase the earlier 'bad' record with the new 'good' record. So you have to be patient about it.

Concluding, grab a copy of your Credit Report... as soon as the same is available free of cost. It will give you a glimpse of your credit history, that is floating with your existing (and prospective) lenders. Who knows! It might be an eye-opener for you.

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