25 May 2011
Edition: Mumbai, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Kolkata New
Delhi Pg: 20
If you've applied for a loan in the last fewyears, you probably
knowthe importance of a good credit report. Just like your medical
reports tell you howhealthy you are, your credit report shows your
financial health and creditworthiness. You can get your credit report
from three agencies-Credit Information Bureau (India) Ltd, or Cibil,
Equifax Credit Information Services Pvt. Ltd and Experian Credit
Information Co. of India Pvt. Ltd. While all three reports are unique
in their ownway, each has elaborate information on your finances.
While one bank may subscribe to Cibil, another to Experian and the
third to Equifax. So it's important to be able to navigate through the
reports issued by all three bureaux. Here are five important
things-common to all three reports, but with different names in some
cases-you must look into to make sense of your credit report.
1 REFERENCE NUMBER
This is one of the most important numbers to keep handy. The Cibil
report calls it control number, in the Equifax report it is the order
number and Experian calls it report number. Thing to keep in mind:
This number is unique for the credit report generated. In case you
have any queries on your report in the future, you will need to
provide this number to the bureau.
2 ACCOUNT SUMMARY
This gives a summary of all your loan accounts. It has various
parameters but the most important things to look at are the total
number of accounts, number of overdue accounts and zero balance
accounts. Account summary is provided on Cibil aswell as Equifax
credit reports. Things to keep in mind: Zero balance accounts are
those where you have paid off the dues. The credit report also shows
the number of closed accounts. If the number of zero balance accounts
does not match the number of closed accounts, then it indicates that
you have a fewloose ends to tie by closing the paid off for accounts formally.
Just paying off the last equated monthly instalment does not
mean the loan is closed. Another parameter to check is the
"recent" account. This shows the date when the latest
accountwas opened. If you haven't taken a loan recently and it shows
you have a recent account on a date you don't recognize, it means you
could have been a victim of a fraudulent activity in your name. In
such a case, get in touch with the credit bureau and/or the
institution from the where loanwas availed for further assistance.With
the Experian credit report, there is a section which shows the name of
the credit institutions that have processed the loan within the past
3 CONSUMER INFORMATION
This section of your report contains your personal information, such
as name, date of birth, gender, telephone and mobile numbers,
addresses and Permanent Account Number. Across all three reports,
information provided in this section is more or less the same. Thing
to keep in mind: Ensure that the spellings and dates mentioned are
correct and your address updated. This section usually shows your
latest address aswell as past addresses.
4 ACCOUNT DETAILS
This information contains various details of all your accounts. Type
of loan account, such as whether it is a car or home loan or a credit
card. The day the accountwas opened, whether it's a joint or
individual account or whether you are a guarantor on a loan account.
There are various details mentioned here, the most important being the
payment history. Things to keep in mind: Check the status of the
account-it could be active, paid off or written off. If you have a
dispute on an account, it should be mentioned as a disputed account.
If there is any discrepancy, get in touch with your bank. Payment
history is an important parameter since it shows the exact number of
days, if any, past the due date.
This section on Cibil and Equifax credit reports shows the enquires
made on your account by various lenders. It shows the total number of
enquiries aswell as gives details of each enquiry. Right from the name
of the institution which enquired, the date of the enquiry, the
purpose of the enquiry and the amount for which the enquirywas made,
it has all related details.
Things to keep in mind:
This tells you who's been asking for your credit report.
Remember that no lender can request to see your credit report without
your consent. Usually consent to check your credit report is part of
your loan application form. If you haven't applied for a loan and the
report shows that a lender has made an enquiry, there is a good
possibility that you may have been exposed to identity theft. Get in
touch with the bank immediately. Nowthat you knowwhat to look at in
your report, go ahead and get a copy of yours. And if you find any
discrepancy, get it amended as soon as possible.