Why credit scores matter to financial health

With the pandemic putting a stall in the global economy, a multitude of businesses and individuals found themselves struggling to access credit. Banks, fintechs, and other financial institutions have launched a wide range of services to enable recovery, however, at the core of all these solutions is credit score — a three-digit number that can make or break your application.

Credit score is a multi-faceted tool for customers and institutions to ensure responsible lending. The main purpose of scoring is to provide protection for lenders by managing the inherent risk of debt. But more importantly, and perhaps underrated, is that it helps individuals unlock and view debt more as an asset rather than a burden since these scores help design loans that do not exceed an individual’s financial capability.

Whether a consumer or a business is applying for a credit product like a credit card or loan, or is already using one, the credit score serves as an indicator for lenders to assess historical behavior for loan repayment and manage risks.

Joel Del Valle, Managing Director of CIBI Information, Inc. (CIBI), one of the country’s leading credit bureaus, shared that through the credit score, individuals can assess whether:

they are likely to be approved for various credit products from other banks or financial institutions;
they can increase their line of credit or be able to take on additional credit.

While the range of credit scores vary, getting and staying in the higher range band of those scores is the ideal target for any borrower. Mr. Del Valle said that achieving a healthy credit score generally depends on paying your debts on time, having a steady cash inflow, utilizing and managing credit lines, maintaining credit good health by managing debt repayments, controlling different types of credit and caring for credit history, and being employed in a good and credible industry.

As a credit bureau, CIBI helps consumers and businesses avail and make sense of their credit scores by producing reliable credit reports.

“We make sure the reports are user-friendly and accurate. For financial institutions looking to use the score and credit report for decision making, we make sure to onboard them appropriately by explaining the sections of the report, and by guiding them on how to interpret the information within the report. CIBI also offers analytics consulting services as needed by our clients,” Mr. Del Valle added.

Clients can choose from CIBI’s two credit scoring solutions, namely the conventional bureau scores and the alternative credit scores.

“The conventional bureau score requires an individual to have a credit history in order to generate a score. Alternative credit scores use other and fairly new factors that are outside of the bureau data. In effect, the individual does not need to have a past credit product in order to generate a score,” Mr. Del Valle explained.

Individuals are advised to access their credit reports at least twice a year to maintain their credit health. They can request their personal credit reports through CIBI’s website, www.cibi.com.ph.

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