If you have ever used a credit card or applied for a loan, you may have heard about credit reports. A personal credit report is a way for banks to keep track of your credit and debit account usage. The score reflected on this report will affect how financial institutions regard you as a borrower. That said, it’s important to understand what a credit report is.
But how do you get a hold of a credit bureau report in Singapore?
You can get your credit report from the Credit Bureau Singapore (CBS) website or office. They collect information from all major financial institutions. Here’s a simple guide to understanding one of the most important financial documents. We will discuss what it is, how to read it, where to get it, and why it matters.
What is a Credit Bureau Report?
A Credit Bureau Report Singapore (CBS) is a standardized “report card” that financial institutions use to assess a borrower’s creditworthiness. This report includes all your factual credit-related information and will show how you handle your credit and debit accounts.
That said, a single report can contain a lot of factual credit-related information, including.
- Basic personal information (excluding address and contact number)
- Records of all credit checks made on you
- Credit repayment trend for the past year. This includes credit card bills and late payments.
- Closed or terminated credit accounts.
- Aggregated outstanding balances
- Accumulated credit limits
- Default loan records
- Bankruptcy records, if any.
The most important information you can find on your personal credit bureau report is your credit score.
Why is a Credit Score Important?
A CBS credit score is a four-digit number and ranges from 1000-2000. The higher the number, the better your credit score. Banks and other financial institutions will use this credit score to determine how much you can borrow.
A good credit score will make it easier for you to be approved for credit cards and qualify for loans.
So what happens if you have a bad credit score?
Financial institutions will view you as a credit risk. This means you’ll be given a smaller loan or be rejected. That said, it’s crucial to keep your credit score healthy.
Why Do Credit Reports Matter?
One way to keep track of your credit score is to request a copy of your credit file. Your CBS report provides a complete view of your credit payment habits. Plus, it will highlight which areas need to be improved upon.
Where to Get Your Credit Bureau Report In Singapore?
Credit Bureau Singapore
You can get a copy of your credit report online through the Credit Bureau Singapore (CBS) website.
Simply log in with your SingPass and make a small payment of $6.42. You will then be able to download a PDF copy of your credit file.
Here are the prices as of writing this article:
- You can obtain your Credit Report at $6.42 (inclusive of GST)
- If you want multiple modes of delivery for your report, you’ll be charged an additional fee of $2.
- Express 2-hour service for a credit report is available at SingPost branches. You will be charged an amount of $17.12 administrative fee for Express service.
You can also get a printed copy by visiting the CBS office. Another option is to visit any of the SingPost branches or at CrimsonLogic Service Bureaus.
Experian Bank Bureau
Experian Bank Bureau is another credit bureau where you can obtain your personal credit file. Experian Credit Bureau Singapore has been awarded the CaseTrust Gold since 2007. They are accredited by the Monetary Authority of Singapore and have data contributions from member Banks in Singapore.
Simply visit their website and complete a form to submit a request.
How to Avail of the FREE Credit Report?
Did you know that you are entitled to a free credit report when you apply for a home loan, car loan, or credit card?
Simply ask the banker who you are working with to retrieve it for you. Or you can get a free credit bureau report Singapore within 30 calendar days from the date of the letter of approval or rejection. You can get it from the credit bureau’s website using your SingPass ID and password.
How to Read Your Credit Report?
[Sample Credit Bureau Report taken from CBS website]
This shows a quick summary of the credit report. It indicates the following information:
- Your first credit account recorded with CBS
- Number of previous enquiries
- Number of credit facilities with lenders
- Number of defaulted accounts with lenders
- Bankruptcy information
- Aggregate credit limit based on secured, unsecured, and exempted credit facilities.
- A “Y” flag will be indicated if you are part of the monthly debt installment plan by Credit Counselling Singapore
- A “Y” flag will be indicated under your initiation in the event you lose your ID, and you wish to alert lenders for precautions
[Personal Details section of a Credit Bureau Report taken from CBS website]
This section contains all your personal information as well as additional identification details. It also displays the last 3 full address details provided by the Members of Credit Bureau Singapore.
[Account Status History section of a Credit Bureau Report taken from CBS website]
This section contains information on all your credit facilities as well as your repayment behavior in the last 12 months.
- First Row: The promptness of monthly cycle payments in the last 12 payment cycles.
- Second Row: Records any cash advance or balance transfer took up on your credit card.
- Last Row: Indicates any full payment you have made to your credit account.
[Previous Enquiries section of a Credit Bureau Report taken from CBS website]
This lists all enquiries made on the individual’s report. For example, if you applied for a loan, the bank will get a copy of your credit report. This information is retained in the report for 2 years from the date of enquiry.
Default and DRS Records
[Default and DRS Records section of a Credit Bureau Report taken from CBS website]
The default records section lists all the payment defaults reported by lenders who are members of CBS.
On the other hand, the DRS or Debt Repayment Scheme Record section is for individuals who are part of DRS. This scheme is a voluntary and debtor-driven scheme for individuals with unsecured debts of not more than $100,000.
[Bankruptcy Proceedings section of a Credit Bureau Report taken from CBS website]
This is where you will see the bankruptcy order and notice of discharge. The information listed in this section is sourced from the Insolvency Public Trustee Office.
[Credit Score section of a Credit Bureau Report taken from CBS website]
This is where you will find your credit score. It is a number that represents your risk level based on your credit history at a certain period in time. The higher the score, the lower your chances of defaulting on your debts.
Credit Score Risk Grade
A credit score is a statistical analysis done by lenders and financial institutions to determine an individual’s creditworthiness. Financial institutions will use this score to determine whether to approve or deny credit.
The Bureau Score ranges from 1000 to 2000 for risk grades AA-HH. Those with 1,000 points are rated HH and are flagged as a very high-risk borrower.
Those with 2,000 points, on the other hand, are considered as having the lowest risk of reaching a delinquency status. These individuals will enjoy the best credit rating of AA.
This score is not applicable if the risk grade is HX, HZ, GX, BX, or CX. Please refer to the chart below.
[Credit Score Grading taken from CBS website]
Factors That Affect Your Credit Score
- Payment History: Do you have any late repayments? Or maybe you missed several credit card payments? This can harm your score.
- Credit Utilization Ratio: This measures how much you owe compared to your available credit limit.
- Credit History: A short credit history can negatively affect your score. That said, long credit history can be useful as long as late payments do not mar it.
- Not Enough Credit Mix: This looks at the different types of credit, including credit cards, installment loans, and mortgages.
- New Credit: This looks at how many new accounts you’ve recently opened. It also takes into account how long it was since you last opened a new account.
- Enquiry Activity: When there are plenty of enquiries made to your account, it may impact your credit risk.
How To Improve Or Maintain Your Credit Score
Make Timely Repayments
As previously stated, late repayments can have an adverse effect on your credit score. So if you want to improve credit score, always repay your credit card or monthly loan installments. Even if you can’t pay in full, at least repay the minimum sum.
If you think you’ll miss a repayment on your mortgage or personal loan, inform your bank early.
Avoid Making Multiple Loan Inquiries In A Short Period Of Time
Limit your enquiry activity. So avoid applying for loans one after another in a short period of time. Financial institutions, like banks, may take it to mean that you are facing financial problems. That said, spread out your loan applications if possible.
Don’t Have Too Many Credit Facilities Open
Another way to improve your credit score is to limit your credit facilities to less than four across different financial institutions. Banks consider credit facilities as liabilities. That said, having too many may flag you as someone who is drowning in debt.
Here’s a tip: Close off credit cards that you no longer use. In doing so, you’ll also save money from paying the annual fee.
Never Default On Loans
Obviously, you must never default on your loans. A single default can increase your risk, preventing you from ever getting a credit card, line of credit, or approval for a loan.
If you have a hard time repaying your loan, seek credit counselling and have your debt restructured. Doing so will still have a negative effect on your score, but it is better than defaulting.
According to CBS, nine out of ten credit applicants have not seen their credit report. It’s one of those things that most individuals take for granted. However, it is critical when you need to apply for a credit card or loan.
A poor credit score can lead to a slow loan application process or rejection. It’s best to get a copy of your credit report early on and learn how to read it properly.
If you need extra emergency cash yet have poor credit, consider borrowing from a licensed moneylender. A1 Credit offers loan plans that provide short-term loans for the cash-strapped. They are known for their relaxed requirements and fast approvals.