A credit score plays a vital role in managing your finances effectively. However, if you find yourself burdened with excessive debt or missed payments, your credit score will inevitably suffer. Lenders will become hesitant to approve your loan applications, which can be problematic, especially during times when you need financial assistance the most. In such situations, you may face higher interest rates or lower spending limits.
Factors Affecting Credit Score
Several factors contribute to determining your credit score. These factors include:
- Credit and Payment History: This includes your current loans, credit cards, and the frequency of applying for new credit. It also encompasses your payment history for utilities, phone bills, and installment contracts.
- Amount Owed to Creditors: This refers to the total outstanding loans and credit you currently have.
- Length of Credit History: The duration for which your accounts have been reported as open affects your credit score.
- Types of Credit: The variety of credit you possess, such as credit cards, personal loans, auto loans, mortgages, etc., also impacts your credit score.
Understanding the Credit Information Corporation (CIC)
In the Philippines, the Credit Information Corporation (CIC) serves as a central repository for reliable credit information. The CIC, led by the chairperson of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), collects credit data from various sources and provides individuals with their credit history upon request.
The CIC holds crucial credit-related information, including personal and contact details, government numbers (e.g., TIN, SSS), employment information, installment details, utility subscriptions, loan contracts, and credit card details. Banks and lending companies like UnaCash require individuals to fill out forms and provide proof of identity to compute credit scores accurately.
How to Check Your Credit Score in the Philippines
To know your credit score in the Philippines, you must obtain a credit report from the CIC. Here’s how you can request a credit report:
- Visit the CIBI web app at https://cibiapp.cibi.com.ph/#/login. Alternatively, download the CIBI App from the App Store or Google Play.
- Enter your personal information and create a username and password.
- Upload the required documents: a) One primary ID (SSS, TIN, GSIS, UMID, or driver’s license) b) One secondary ID (passport, voter’s ID, senior citizen ID, SSS ID, digitized postal ID, GSIS e-card, PRC ID, IBP ID, OWWA ID).
- Schedule a video call appointment for character verification from Monday to Friday, between 8:30 am to 5:30 pm.
- Await the confirmation email sent to your provided email address.
- Complete the e-KYC process on the scheduled appointment date.
- Make the payment through accredited CIBI payment partners.
- After successful character verification and payment, CIBI will email your credit report to you. Alternatively, you can visit the CIC office personally in Legaspi Village, Makati City, to request your credit report.
Tips to Improve Your Credit Score in the Philippines
To improve your credit score, consider the following strategies:
- Build a Good Credit History Early: Even if you have recently started your career, don’t hesitate to apply for a loan or credit card. Banks are often willing to grant credit to individuals in the early stages of their careers. Ensure you make timely payments without incurring penalties.
- Pay Off Existing Debt: Avoid letting your debt accumulate. Paying off your debts not only provides peace of mind but also demonstrates to lenders your ability to repay loans or credit. Late payment fees and penalties can be avoided by staying on top of your debt.
- Timely Payments: Avoid missing payment due dates as this can significantly impact your credit score. Set reminders, automate payments, and keep track of outstanding bills to ensure timely payments.
- Mind Your Credit Limit: Do not exceed your credit limit. Overspending on credit cards indicates high dependency on credit and may lead lenders to believe that you spend more than you earn, resulting in a lower credit score. However, you can request an increase in your credit limit to lower your debt-to-credit ratio, provided you have a good standing with your bank and consistently pay your credit card bills on time and in full.
- Consider Consolidating Debt: If you struggle to manage multiple debts, consolidating them into one account with lower interest rates can be beneficial. For instance, a balance transfer credit card often offers low or even 0% interest rates, allowing you to focus on repaying the principal balance rather than paying excessive interest.
- Avoid Simultaneous Loan and Credit Card Applications: Applying for a loan and a credit card simultaneously can convey desperation for money, which is not favorable to lenders. Instead, save up for significant purchases in advance. If necessary, choose the option that best suits your financial situation when resorting to a loan or credit card.
- Opt for Payment Installments: Splitting your payments into installments can aid in improving your credit score. For instance, you can make two payments a month towards your credit card bill—one on the closing date and the other on the due date.
Timeline for Improving Your Credit Score
The time required to improve your credit score depends on the reasons behind your low credit score. If you have just begun establishing credit history, maintaining timely payments and responsible credit card usage can yield improvements within three months.
However, if you have a history of missed loan or credit card payments or have experienced defaults or bankruptcy, it may take considerably longer to restore your credit score. Depending on your starting credit score, recovery can take 7-10 years.
Regardless of your situation, adhering to healthy credit habits and organizing your finances can expedite the credit improvement process.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- How can I check my credit score in the Philippines? To check your credit score in the Philippines, request a credit report from the Credit Information Corporation (CIC).
- How can I boost my credit score? Boosting your credit score involves making timely payments, building good credit history, managing your credit limit wisely, consolidating debt, paying in installments, and avoiding simultaneous loan and credit card applications.
- How long does it take to improve my credit score? The time required to improve your credit score varies depending on the reasons behind your low credit score. It can range from several months to several years.
- What are the effects of having a low credit score? Having a low credit score may result in rejection of loan or credit applications, unfavorable rates and terms for approved applications, and potential impacts on insurance and employment prospects.
Key Takeaways on Improving a Bad Credit
Maintaining a good credit score is essential for establishing a healthy credit history. Banks and financial institutions are more likely to trust individuals with a strong credit history. To achieve this, it is crucial to follow necessary steps, such as making timely payments, managing credit limits responsibly, and implementing strategies to improve credit scores.
As an additional resource, Tala Loan offers low-interest loans and convenient repayment options. Download the app and apply for a loan with just one valid government ID!