- 1 best credit report site reviews
- 2 Check Your Credit Score and Report
- 2.1 Improving and Maintaining Your Credit Score
- 2.2 Applying for your Credit Report
- 2.3 Difference between Credit Score, Credit Report and Credit Rating
- 2.4 Key Terms That Feature on Your Report
- 2.5 FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
- 3 Check your credit report for free
- 4 Which Credit Repair Service Is The Best? Review of Top Companies
- 4.1 Ranking of the Best Credit Repair Companies in 2017
- 4.2 Does Credit Repair Really Work?
- 4.3 How Do These Services Work To Repair Your Credit?
- 4.4 Are Credit Repair Companies Worth The Cost?
- 4.5 Factors to Consider Before Choosing a Credit Repair Company
- 4.6 5 Important Things To Find Out From A Credit Repair Company Before You Choose One
- 126.96.36.199 1) Is The Company Both Bonded and Insured?
- 188.8.131.52 2) What Information Should I have on hand?
- 184.108.40.206 3) Ask questions like "what contributes to my credit score?"
- 220.127.116.11 4) How Can I Contact You If I Have Questions, Comments, or Concerns?
- 18.104.22.168 5) How will I be able to keep track of the progress you are making?
best credit report site reviews
Welcome to 100 Best Credit Reports Navigating the confusing world of free credit reports, score, monitoring, repair and agencies can be intimidating for many consumers. It can be a challenge to build and maintain your personal credit score in today's complicated financial market, but we can help, whether you're trying to keep on top of your credit score with a yearly free credit report, struggling with understanding your credit report, or working to fix / repair your bad credit from past financial problems.
Credit Repair Scams There are many scams out there, all of them designed to take advantage of people in desperate situations. Indeed, if you are in over your head with regard to your financial situation, you might be willing to try almost anything to solve the problem. However, it is important that you slow down and carefully evaluate your options. It is just at this time that you are most vulnerable to scams. Credit Repair Scams
Identity Theft Victims Been victimized by identity fraud? You may just be discovering how far-reaching the effects of such fraud can be. Recovering from identity theft can be a long and difficult process, but the more quickly you take action the better. Let us tell you where to start. Identity Theft Victims
Credit Monitoring Your credit history is a very important part of your financial wellbeing. Your personal credit history is a record of all the credit related transactions you have had. It is a way for others to get an idea of how trustworthy you are in matters of personal finance. It gives lenders and others an idea of whether you can be trusted to behave in an honorable manner regarding your financial obligations. Your personal credit history is your reputation. Credit Monitoring
FCBA and EFTA One of the biggest concerns that many people have is centered around identify fraud. And this a very real fear. Chances are, at some point, you will be the victim of identity fraud (also known as identity theft). The good news is that even if your identity is stolen, you are not liable for those charges made fraudulently. FCBA and EFTA
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CIBIL or TransUnion CIBIL Limited is India’s oldest Credit Information Company (CIC). CIBIL is an acronym for Credit Information Bureau (India) Limited. Since its establishment the year 2000, CIBIL has been collecting and maintaining records of Indian residents with respect to their loans and credit cards provided by banks and NBFCs in the country. This information is used to generate CIBIL Credit Reports and calculate the credit scores for new loan as well as credit card applicants. This way, CIBIL plays a crucial role in India's financial and loan system. As per the latest records, CIBIL has 2600 members which include India's leading public and private sector banks, financial institutions, housing finance companies and non-banking companies. In 2017, CIBIL launched CIBIL MSME Rank to help lenders assess loan risk against micro, small and medium enterprises.
The CIBIL Score, also known as the CIBIL TransUnion Score, is a 3-digit whole number in the range of 300 to 900 that summarises how well or how poorly you have dealt with loans or credit cards in the past. The higher your CIBIL score, the better your chances of being approved for additional credit in the future.
Importance of CIBIL Credit Report
Recently, RBI has made it mandatory for banks and financial institutions to check CIBIL credit report and score of any individual in order to lend money. Credit report and score basically indicates an individual's financial stability and tells the lenders where that individual will be able to repay the loan on time. This score is calculated by credit bureau after collecting your credit information from member banks and credit institutions on regular intervals. CIBIL is one of the oldest and major credit bureau in India that generates a report along with 3 digit score (from 300 to 900) that defines the credit-worthiness of an individual. If you have been paying the credit bills and loan amount on time, then you will have a higher score. Higher score means that there are more chances of you to get a loan at a considerate interest rate. If you have a low score of say below 650, there are higher chances that your loan application will be rejected. For any individual, it is recommended to check CIBIL score in every 6 months to maintain or improve it, in case the score is low.
Consumer CIBIL Bureau vs Commercial CIBIL Bureau
CIBIL is a credit bureau that contains credit information about everyone. It basically has two segments. One is Consumer CIBIL Bureau, launched in 2004, which maintains the credit records of individuals from member banks and credit institutions. It has over 600 million records. Another is Commercial Bureau which maintains the credit information of non-individuals, which includes partnership firms, proprietary firms and public limited companies. It was launched in 2006 and currently maintains 32 million records.
A credit report is a document, which details your financial history with respect to all forms of credit. The key types of credit or borrowing instruments that form a part of the credit report include credit cards and all sorts of loans - personal loan, home loan, car loan, etc. to name a few. The important thing to note here is that such information is a historic representation, so in case you have never taken a loan or a credit card, your report, when generated will reflect the same.
As credit report only reflects how you have used credit instruments such as loans and credit cards in the past, you net worth plays no direct impact on how high or low your score would be. Thus your bank balance, annual salary, business turnover, investment in mutual funds, real estate holdings, amount of gold you own, etc. will not show up on your credit report and have no direct impact on your score. However, owning a large quantity of assets may have an indirect bearing on your ability to get loans in the future as you would be better placed to opt for secured loans using property, mutual funds or gold as collateral.
Key Information Contained in a Credit Report
Apart from the historic records pertaining to your borrowing instruments such as loans and credit cards, your credit report also includes the following key identity information:
- Date of birth
- PAN Number
- Aadhar Card
- Additional Identity Information such as serial number of Driving License, Voter’s ID card, etc.
- Your current and previous residential addresses
- Your current and previous employers with address
- Income tax information availed through previous IT filings
- Dates on which your credit report was pulled by lenders to determine loan/credit card eligibility
- Information related to overdraft facilities available with your banking accounts etc.
Companies that Prepare Credit Reports in India
In India, these reports are prepared by companies known as credit reporting agencies or credit bureaus, who collect the borrower’s information from banks and NBFCs (non-banking financial companies) as well as various government agencies such as the Income Tax department. Three credit reporting agencies provide these reports in India - CRIF High Mark,Equifax, Experian and CIBIL TransUnion. Each of these companies have slightly different credit scoring models, hence the same individual’s credit score can vary in reports prepared by different agencies.
- CIBIL TransUnion Credit Report: CIBIL stands for Credit Information Bureau (India) Ltd. and it was set up as India's first credit bureau. Currently, CIBIL has teamed up with TransUnion, a globally recognised credit rating and analytics company to provide CIBIL credit report to Indian individuals. Lenders who are registered members of CIBIL submit monthly reports to CIBIL regarding its borrowers and CIBIL TransUnion prepares its reports based on such information. CIBIL credit reports are not free and they are available in lieu of a fee, but it does have the facility of providing instant credit report online. Key Institutions that have holdings in CIBIL TransUnion include Bank of India, Indian Overseas Bank, Bank of India, ICICI Bank, India Alternatives Private Equity Fund, Aditya Birla Trustee Company Private Ltd., Union Bank of India, Bank of Baroda and Trans Union International Inc.
- Experian Credit Report: Experian India is a completely owned subsidiary of Dublin, Ireland-based Experian LLC and operates as Experian Credit Information Company of India Private Limited. Experian’s credit reports include details of all your previous loans and credit cards, however, it uses its proprietary statistical algorithm to calculate your credit score hence the score provided by Experian would be different from that provided by CIBIL TransUnion and Equifax. Experian India does not currently provide free credit reports and you can get hold of yours for a specific fee. You can access your Experian credit report online as well as through mail, to check on your eligibility for loans and credit cards as well as to identify instances of identity theft. This credit bureau is still to provide instant credit reports. Some leading Indian financial institutions that have collaborated with Experian include Union Bank of India, Sundaram Finance, Punjab National Bank, Magna Finance, Federal Bank, Axis Bank and Indian Bank.
- Equifax Credit Report: Equifax is an Alanta, US-based international organisation engaged in providing information solutions for the workforce, commercial and consumer segments. Equifax India operates as ECIS (Equifax Credit Information Services Private Limited), which is a collaboration of Equifax with leading financial institutions in India such as Union Bank of India, Sundaram Finance Limited, Religare Finvest Limited, Kotak Mahindra Prime Limited, Bank of India, Bank of Baroda and State Bank of India. The consumer credit bureau department of Equifax India has been operational since September, 2010 and you can get a copy of your free Equifax Credit Report through Paisabazaar.com.
- CRIF High Mark Credit Report: CRIF High Mark is India’s only full service credit bureau which provide credit reports for Individuals across Retail, Agri and Microfinance lending, and Businesses. CRIF Credit Report includes a credit score in the range of 300-&00; details of all your current & previous loans and credit cards; and your personal details captured in the credit bureau. You can instantly access your CRIF Credit Score online for a specific fee. CRIF, included in FinTech 100, is among the leading providers of banking credit information in continental Europe. It is also among the key global players who specialize in business information, analytics, scoring, decision and credit management solutions. CRIF High Mark’s other investors include State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, SIDBI, Edelweiss and Shriram City Union.
CIBIL report is basically a record of your credit history that is maintained and recorded by the credit bureau. This report along with the credit score is used by the money lenders and banks to know your credit worthiness. Usually, the credit report contains the following elements:
Credit Score: This 3 digit score, ranging from 300-900, plays the most important role in your loan process. This score determines the chances of you defaulting on your loan payment, based on your credit history. A score above 750 is considered good and increases the chances of your loan approval.
Personal Information: It contains information like name, date of birth, gender, PAN, passport number, driving license number along with your contact details.
Account Details: This section contains all the information of the loans and credit cards owned till date. Along with the details of the lenders, it also contains your account number, loan type, current loan balance, overdue amount, interest rate of each loan, etc. It also shows monthly record of payments.
Employment Details: It contains information of your job and income at the time of credit taken.
Enquiry: The last section of report has the name of the lenders that have enquired about you. If you have too many hard enquiries in a short span of time, then it will negatively impact your credit score.
The primary purpose of these reports is to help lenders such as banks and NBFCs determine the credit worthiness of loan/credit card applicants. Your report contains data regarding how closely you have followed the payment schedule of your previous/current loans and credit cards. In case of missed payments or past due payments, this information is also present in the report and related penalties are applied when calculating your credit score. The credit score itself is a 3 digit number, which is derived statistically by taking multiple parameters into account and as a rule of thumb, the closer you are closer to 900, the more credit worthy you are believed to be by the prospective lender. Conversely, the closer your score is to the 300 mark, the less credit worthy you are determined to be and the less the probability of your loan/credit card applications being sanctioned by a prospective lender.
However, prospective lenders are not the only people who have access to these reports. You can also access a copy of your own report. Using those, you can figure out your eligibility for loans and credit cards that you may be interested in. It is in fact recommended that you get a copy of your report at least once a year to ensure that the information in the document is up to date and correct. Errors in your credit report can cost you dearly as if it may lead to rejection of credit card/loan applications as well as availability of lesser loan amounts or high interest rates charged to loans and credit cards issued to you.
Improving and Maintaining Your Credit Score
If you have been rejected for a loan or credit card, there is a high probability that it happened because there is information in your credit card that marks you as a borrower with low credit worthiness. That’s the bad news. The good news is – it’s not the end world and with a small amount of effort you have an opportunity to improve your credit worthiness. For starters, any information featured on your report only stays there for a limited period usually five years or less. So any information beyond that period is replaced by the new information that you add. So start following the tricks and tips mentioned below to start laying the foundation of a good credit score and a blemish-free credit report in the future:
- Ensure your pay your credit card bills and loan EMI on time and in full every month
- Do not apply for multiple loans and credit cards simultaneously
- Periodically check your report for mistakes and get them corrected if necessary
- Keep your debt to credit limit ratio lower than 50% across all credit cards
- Ensure that you do not have multiple outstanding unsecured loans/credit cards
Among the above, the main reason why many people have a low credit score is due to late payment of EMIs and credit cards, which is easily avoidable through a small amount of financial discipline. The other common reasons such as a high debt to credit limit ratio and multiple outstanding loans is usually as a result of lifestyle inflation and also avoidable through a small degree of financial planning.
Applying for your Credit Report
As mentioned earlier, credit reports can be requested by individuals for themselves and in India, you can request reports from Equifax, Experian, CRIF High Mark or CIBIL TransUnion. In most cases, the turnaround time i.e. time duration between application submission and receipt of the report will vary as will the associated charges and the documents required. In simple terms, you can apply for a copy of these reports for yourself either online or offline.
In case of an online application you need to do the following:
- Fill out the form provided online including name, DOB, PAN Card number etc.
- Pay the required fees* through credit card/debit card or net banking.
- Provide the answers to authentication tests if required (this is required to ensure your identity)
- In case you fail to pass the authentication test, you have to upload digital copies of your documents to get hold of your report
In case of online reports, the credit bureau sends those out via password-protected email attachment to your registered email id and through speed post, courier sent to your home address within 7 to 10 working days.
*If you apply for a free online Equifax Credit Report by logging on to Paisabazaar.com.
In case you plan to apply through the offline route, you need to do the following:
- Download and fill out the application form from the relevant website - Experian, Equifax or CIBIL.
- Attach any and all self attested documents such as copies of PAN Card, Driving License, Electricity bill etc. as mentioned on the application form
- Enclose a Demand Draft payable to the relevant authority for the required amount and mail it to the address mentioned on the website/application form.
In case of offline applications, you should receive your report within 10 working days by courier at the address mentioned by you on the application form. You can also check your application status online in the interim.
Difference between Credit Score, Credit Report and Credit Rating
Due to the interchangeable use of these closely related terms, there is often confusion between the terms credit score, credit report and credit rating. Following is a table comparing these three terms**:
A statistically generated three digit number that sums up your credit worthiness.
A historical record of the repayment schedules of all loans and credit cards of an individual.
This is applicable to companies, countries and various exchange traded funds. Credit rating acts as an equivalent of a credit score for these.
A high credit score (closer to 900) improves your chances of getting accepted for a loan and closer you are to 300 (low credit score) adversely affects you chances of successful approval for loans/credit cards.
A clean credit report leads to a good credit score and through historic data proves that the borrower has a good track record managing various debt instruments.
Credit rating is usually denoted by grades such as AAA, AA, B++ etc. A company rated as AAA would be able to raise funds at a much lower rate as compared to companies with lower ratings.
Changes depending upon the credit related behaviour of the individual.
An entry in your report stays on for around 5 years till it is replaced by newer entries.
Changes depending upon the performance of the industry, the market or the company/country/fund.
**The above table is indicative and the information provided is subject to change.
Similar to individual reports, a business credit report is also generated by various credit bureaus and these reports play a major role in determining the sanction of business loans. You can get a business credit report from CIBIL TransUnion, Experian or Equifax. Unfortunately, a free credit report is currently only available for individuals therefore you will have to pay a fee when you seek a business credit report. Additionally, business credit reports take a few more business days to be received as compared to an instant credit report available to individuals online for a fee.
Key Terms That Feature on Your Report
A credit report is analogous to a medical file and you need to well-versed with some key terms when reading this report that describes your financial health. The following are some must know terms that are key to understanding your paid or free credit report:
NA/NH : In case you do not have a credit card and have never taken a loan, this is what your credit score would look like. Otherwise, it could mean that you have no credit activity for the past 2 years or that you have no credit exposure as you use add-on cards that are linked to your spouse’s or parent's account.
STD : This entry is found against loan/credit card accounts if payments are made in a timely manner or made within 90 days of the due date.
SMA : An account classified as special mention account (SMA) if payments have been delayed loan/credit card for over 90 days.
SUB : This refers to substandard and a borrowing account is classified as such if it has been a non-performing asset for not less than a year.
DBT: An account is classified as DBT (doubtful) if the account has been in SUB status for 12 months.
LSS : Lenders tag a loan/credit card account as LSS signifying loss if an account remains uncollectible after having been previously tagged as DBT.
DPD : Days past due (DPD) is tag attached to an account and it indicates the number of days by which a scheduled payment was delayed for the account. Ideally this should show up as 000, meaning no late payments.
Written Off/Settled Status : This appears every report and in many cases the field is left blank. In case it is populated, it means that the lender and you came to an agreement after you were unable to make the regular payments on a loan/credit card. WO = Written off, Restructured Loan, Settled and Post (WO) Settled are the terms this field may be populated with.
The terms mentioned above are just a representative list and the list is by no means exhaustive.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Q1. How is my CIBIL Score calculated?
Your CIBIL Score is calculated using a complex statistical model, which is a proprietary business secret of TransUnion and CIBIL hence not available to the general public. The statistical model identifies multiple variables in your credit report in order to calculate credit scores.
Q2. Would my CIBIL score ever change?
Yes. Your CIBIL Score depends on multiple factors such as all current and previous loans/credit cards, payment history of credit instruments, number of outstanding loans/credit cards as well as your overall credit to debt ratio. A change in any of these factors can bring about a change in your CIBIL Score. Thus, little noticed factors such as missed payments and maxing out your credit cards as well as more noticeable factors such as a new home loan or car loan can lead to changes in your credit score.
Q3. Is CIBIL the only one who provides a CIBIL Score?
Yes. CIBIL Score is provided only by TransUnion CIBIL Limited and it is only one of 4 companies that provide credit scores and reports in India. Apart from CIBIL, three more credit reporting agencies are currently licensed to operate in India – Experian, Equifax and CRIF HighMark and they provide Experian Score, Equifax Score and CRIF HighMark Score respectively.
Q4. Is Credit Information Report same as CIBIL Score?
No. Your score is only a small part of your credit report, which is also known as the Credit Information Report. Apart from your score, your CIBIL report would also include details of various loans and credit cards that you have had over the past 5 to 7 years. Credit card/ loan details included in your credit report include credit limits, your repayment track record, the number of credit checks that have been made by prospective lenders in the past and a lot more. Just like a medical report, tells you about how you are doing physically, a credit report provides details about your financial health.
Q5. Can everyone access my CIBIL Score?
No. Your CIBIL Score is confidential personal information that only a few authorised entities apart from you are allowed to access and that too under specific circumstances such as when you apply for a new loan or credit card. Authorised persons who can access your CIBIL Score/Report include Financial Institutions and Banks who are CIBIL Members and they are legally required to NOT share any of your information with any unauthorised third party.
To dispel some of the common myths associated with credit score, please read “Top 4 Credit Score Myths Debunked”
Q6. How do I check my CIBIL Score?
You can get your CIBIL Report and score online by logging on to the CIBIL website and paying their fee (approx. Rs. 500). You are required to input some personal information like your PAN Number, etc. and answer some verification questions to prove your identity. Once all some details have been completed, your report will be prepared and displayed online as well as sent to your registered address as a printed copy if you request one. At present, CIBIL Report is NOT available for free from any company, however, you might get a discount in some cases if you apply for your CIBIL report through select CIBIL Member banks. The current rules are expected to change in 2017, and you may get your CIBIL report for free once a year upon requesting it.
Q7. How to check CIBIL Score Using PAN Card?
In India, your PAN (Permanent Account Number) acts as a unique identifier for various financial transactions and checking your CIBIL report and score is no different. So make sure you keep your PAN Card number handy in case you are applying for your credit report from CIBIL TransUnion.
Q8. How to check CIBIL Score for free?
You would find many websites offering this service however CIBIL Score is currently NOT available for free and the paid report is only available through the CIBIL TransUnion website. From 2017 onwards, you may be able to get your CIBIL Score for free as per a recent RBI circular.
Q9. How did CIBIL know about my loans and credit cards?
CIBIL works on a reciprocity principle i.e. CIBIL Members can access the records of CIBIL only if the members (Banks and NBFCs) provide CIBIL TransUnion with records of their borrowers. In this manner, all your loan and credit card information gets reported CIBIL by your existing lenders and these form the basis of your report and score. The same logic holds true for credit scores prepared by Experian, Equifax and CRIF HighMark.
Q10. Would checking my CIBIL Score cause it to decrease?
No. If you check your credit report or score, it is considered to be a “soft look” and this type of check does not affect your credit score in any way. This holds true no matter for any credit score not just your CIBIL score. You can check your Experian credit score for free through Paisabazaar.com.
Q11. Why do banks need to check my CIBIL Score?
Banks are businesses and they want to make money, so when granting a new loan or credit card, they want to be as sure as possible that the applicant will be able to pay it back. By accessing your credit report and score from CIBIL, Experian etc., the loan officer at the bank can make a more informed decision regarding whether you are a low risk borrower who has little chance of defaulting or a high risk borrower with a high risk of defaulting. Depending upon this analysis, your loan interest rate, loan quantum, credit limit for a new credit card, etc. are determined.
Q12. Why is a credit card account that I already paid off and closed still on my report?
Your current lenders report your loan/credit card status to CIBIL periodically and these details get reflected in your report over time. Therefore if you close out a loan or credit card account this month, it might be a couple of months before it gets reflected in your credit report. Other causes of such discrepancy may be a reporting error by the bank or NBFC that you took the loan or credit card from or you may be a victim of identity theft.
Q13. What happens if my CIBIL CIR has errors?
In case you find errors in your CIBIL CIR, you can apply to have those corrected by contacting CIBIL TransUnion directly and following their rectification procedure. As part of this process, you will be required to submit supporting documents (bank NOC, loan settlement letter, etc.) and also a nominal fee to get your records updated.
Q14. Can CIBIL delete or change my credit information on its own?
No. CIBIL does not have the authority to delete or make changes to your credit report on its own. They are only involved with collating the data as provided by banks and NBFCs. However, in cases of credit report disputes, CIBIL will make changes to your credit report provided there is sufficient documentary evidence to show that an error has indeed occurred. However, the concerned bank or NBFC will have to provide the necessary clearance before such changes are made.
Over the past few months, CIBIL TransUnion has been shifting to a new scoring model in order to be more relevant with changing customer credit data and profiles as well as current economic trends. This new scoring model has been termed as CIBIL 2.0. The main change is an assignment of risk index from 1 to 5 to individuals with relatively new credit history (less than 6 months). The higher the numeric value of the risk index, the lower the perceived risk of default.
Q16. Does CIBIL Score affect my chances of getting a new loan or credit card?
At present, your credit score whether reported by CIBIL, Experian, Equifax or CRIF HighMark, is one of the key factors that determine if you are eligible for a new credit product. Though different banks and NBFCs have different cut off criteria and these are not available to the general public, having a high credit score (closer to 900) definitely improves your chances of getting approved for additional credit.
Q17. How much CIBIL Score is good?
There is no clear data available at present regarding what is a good or high CIBIL score for getting loans or credit cards. As mentioned earlier, the CIBIL Score range is from 300 to 900, therefore the closer you are to 900, the better your chances of approval.
Q18. What is the minimum CIBIL Score required for personal loan?
Banks or NBFCs in India currently do not publish any clear data regarding what is the minimum CIBIL Score they require for granting a personal loan. However, they also do not grant a personal loan without CIBIL check. So be on the safe side and ensure you have a credit score as close to 900 as possible in order to maximise your chances of personal loan approval.
Q19. What is the minimum CIBIL Score for a home loan?
Because banks and NBFCs do not publish any data with respect to a minimum qualifying CIBIL Score for home loans, a higher CIBIL Score improves your chances of a successful home loan application.
Q20. How much credit score is required for a credit card?
Currently, you cannot get a credit card without CIBIL check no matter what your credit card agent tells you and having a high CIBIL score would definitely bolster your chances of a successful application. As of now, credit card issuers so not publish data regarding a minimum credit score for credit card, thus higher scores are better.
Q21. How do I increase/improve my CIBIL Score?
CIBIL Score is based on your credit history and it cannot be increased overnight no matter what a self-styled CIBIL Score improvement agency might tell you. It starts with paying your credit card dues and EMIs on time, while also requiring you to minimise your outstanding debt.
Q22. How many years does CIBIL keep record of defaulters?
At present CIBIL does not publish a specific “Defaulters9rsquo; List”, however, your loan/credit card default records though show up on your credit report. The details of such a default would show up on your CIBIL report for a maximum of 7 years.
Q23. CIBIL Bureau Customer Care
In case of any query, feedback or concern, one can contact CIBIL's consumer helpline number at +91-22-61404300, from Monday to Friday (10 am-6 pm). You can send them a fax at +91-22-66384666. You can send them an email at [email protected] for any complaints.
In case you are not satisfied with the received solution or response, you can escalate the issue to the senior management. This facility is available online at CIBIL’s official website.
Check your credit report for free
For all the latest deals, guides and loopholes - join the 12m who get it. Don't miss out
Amy | Edited by Johanna
Updated August 2017
Checking your credit report is in good shape is important if you want to get a mortgage, credit card, loan and more. The big credit reference agencies try to lure you in with free month-long trials, but as you can now see all your credit reports for free, there's no need to pay at all.
This guide explains how you can check your credit reports for free or even how to get paid to check them. Plus, we've launched our revolutionary free MoneySavingExpert.com Credit Club which allows you to check your Experian Credit Report for free.
Why you should check and what you should check
There are three credit reference agencies, Equifax, Experian and CallCredit, and they all hold information on you which lenders use. Even small errors can cause problems, so it's important you check through your credit report. Most of this is explained in detail in our How to Boost Your Credit Rating guide, but below is a quick checklist.
3. If you no longer have joint accounts with someone, ensure you financially delink (ie, separate).
4. Always check your credit reports after rejection. Read why here.
5. Cancel unused credit and store cards. Find out why unused cards can count against you.
Should I check all three credit reports?
If you're doing a specific application for a company and you know which credit reference agency it uses, it's obviously a priority to check that one. But as a general housekeeping rule we suggest you check all three credit reports at least once a year, because they all have an impact.
Don't worry about over-checking your credit report. It's not recorded on it, and it's something that only you and the credit reference agency will know about. Check EVERY detail and do it regularly. PLUS always check before making any big applications to minimise your risk of rejection. It can all be done online, it's quick and easy.
However, if time is short and you can only use one, then choose Experian (the biggest) or CheckMyFile (checks Equifax and Callcredit). It's a good idea to do a check-up roughly every 12 to 18 months. Always do one in good time before making any important applications.
Your right to check your file (costs Ј2)
The most important thing to tell you is that you have a legal right to check your credit report. This is because it's important you know the information that companies have on you. Here's how to check, however before you read it please see our information on how to check for free and how to get paid to do it.
The checks are all done online so they're quick and easy to do (and are much more efficient than the old mail-only method).
The statutory report contains your personal details, info on financial links to other people, whether you're on the electoral roll, the credit accounts you have, any missed payments or defaults, and a list of other recent searches of your credit report (though these only stay on your file for a maximum of one year). All three credit reference agencies will provide you with a statutory report:
For all the latest deals, guides and loopholes - join the 10m who get it. Don't miss out
The MSE Credit Club - now includes Experian Credit Report
We've launched our revolutionary, FREE MoneySavingExpert.com Credit Club – a brand new way for you to keep track of your credit record. You can sign up here – please give us feedback on it. Here are the six things it does:
- We've launched the ability to get your full Experian Credit Report for FREE within Credit Club. See below for full details on how this will work.
- You'll get a free Experian Credit Score. This gives you an indicator of how lenders see you when assessing you for credit applications.
- Our unique Affordability Score. This clever tool helps you work out how much you can afford to borrow, using calculations based on your income and estimated spending.
- Our unique Credit Hit Rate – this shows your chances of success, as a percentage, of grabbing our top cards and loans.
- Eligibility tool to show your best credit deals. It reveals the likelihood of you getting top credit cards or loans.
- Your credit profile explained. It shows the key factors affecting your score and how to improve them.
How to check your full credit report for FREE
Credit reference agencies used to make all their money from selling data to lenders. The idea was to help lenders predict your behaviour, which allowed them to assess whether or not you were a good person to lend to.
Then some bright spark at the credit reference agencies realised they could generate a business called "consumer credit management". It meant they could start to sell you monitoring products and all the other sorts of data, including your "credit score", for the first time. You may ask why they sell it to you? Well, it makes them money, and sometimes up to Ј180 a year.
It used to be that the only way you could check your score for free was to sign up to 30-day free trials of these services, and then cancel before the time's up so you don't get charged. Yet, now, you can check your report on all three agencies for free every month – though they'll make money if you apply for credit cards and loans through them.
Which way you choose to check your report will depend on what's most important to you – a full monitoring service free for 30 days, or a more basic, but free-for-life service. Here's how to do it, broken down by agency.
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Which Credit Repair Service Is The Best? Review of Top Companies
Having bad credit is an unfortunate problem that many families face, especially in today's economic climate. Having a poor credit score can have a very negative impact on your financial health and can result in higher interest rates, loan application rejections, and more. That's why thousands of people have turned to credit repair companies to help fix their credit and improve their FICO scores.
Credit repair services work by helping to remove negative items from your credit report such as late payments, liens, foreclosures, repossessions, and more. But finding the best credit repair service seems like an overwhelming task. With so many companies to choose from, how can you really know who to trust? That's where we can help!
At Credit Marvel, we've researched and reviewed the top credit restoration companies to determine which services were the best and had the highest satisfaction rate among clients. Each company we reviewed was analyzed on a variety of factors including avg. number of items removed, satisfaction rate among clients, speed of results, and price.
Ranking of the Best Credit Repair Companies in 2017
- Lexington Law
- Sky Blue Credit
- Free Consulation & Case Evaluation
- Over 26 Years of Experience
- Over 7.3 Million Negative Items Removed in 2016
- A+ Rating with the Better Business Bureau
- Disputes Up To 15 Items on Your Credit Report Per Month
- Fastest Service In The Industry
- Been In Business Since 1997
- Offers 24/7 Credit Monitoring and Alerts
- Personalized Online Dashboard With Credit Score Tracker
Does Credit Repair Really Work?
There are many people that are skeptical about credit repair. They want to know if these services REALLY do work. After reviewing the most popular credit repair agencies and the results of their clients, we can definitely conclude that these services do in fact work. Obviously, not all companies are created equal and each company has their own methodology for removing negative items from your credit report.
Just to give you an idea of the type of results to expect, Lexington Law claims that their clients have an average of 10 negative items removed from their credit report. Most companies do offer a money-back guarantee if you're not satisfied with their service. In addition, most services offer a free case evaluation so they can see if they can help your situation before you decide to sign up.
How Do These Services Work To Repair Your Credit?
If you’re going to be hiring one of these services, you probably want to know what you’ll be receiving for your money – right? Companies that claim to help fix your credit should be completely upfront with what they can and can't do for your situation. A good company can remove negative items from your credit report and help improve your FICO score, making it easier to obtain a home, vehicle, mortgage, or insurance.
Most credit repair companies work in the following way:
- Obtaining your credit report from all 3 major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion)
- Identifying specific items in your credit report that can be disputed.
- File credit disputes on your behalf using little-known strategies that yield a high success rate.
- Communicate with creditors and credit bureaus on your behalf to remove negative items as soon as possible.
Are Credit Repair Companies Worth The Cost?
Depending on which company you decide to use, the price of service will generally be between $59.95 and $99.95 per month. However, there are no long-term contracts and you can cancel the service at any time.
Considering how much extra money you pay in high interest charges with a bad credit score, we do believe that the best credit repair services are worth the price. A higher FICO score can result in better interest rates on loans, mortgages, credit cards, and more. If you have a poor credit score and need to fix your credit fast, these services will get you the best results in the shortest amount of time.
Factors to Consider Before Choosing a Credit Repair Company
Chances are if you are taking the time to research credit repair services, personal finances are important to you. This is why it is critical to do your homework before settling on a company to help you repair your credit.
- The #1 warning sign that you should avoid a company are upfront fees. No reputable credit repair agency will ask you to pay any monies upfront. Fees should only be paid upon the services have been rendered.
- Educate yourself on the items currently negatively impacting your credit score. There are quite a few free resources online for acquiring a copy of your credit report. Often your bank will provide you with a free report.
- Be clear on your expectations.
- Educate yourself on your rights. The Fair Credit Billing Act was enacted in 1974 for the purpose of protecting consumers from unfair credit billing practices. It provides the guidelines for procedures to follow when disputing issues regarding billing statements.
5 Important Things To Find Out From A Credit Repair Company Before You Choose One
1) Is The Company Both Bonded and Insured?
Any credit repair company that you are considering, should be fully bonded, licensed, and insured. Otherwise, you will most certainly find yourself in a compromising position should something go wrong. A credible credit repair company will have no issues showing you their credentials.
2) What Information Should I have on hand?
Credit repair companies will all have certain ways of doing things, but FICO functions the same for all of them. You will want to make sure you have the following personal and/or business information ready before making that call.
- Government-issued photo ID or passport
- Your current home address
- Employer information
- Account numbers for your bank and credit cards
- A list of both debts and assets
- SSN or EIN
- Paperwork if you filed for bankruptcy
- Divorce papers if necessary
3) Ask questions like "what contributes to my credit score?"
If you do not know anything about credit, you will not be sure if the company actually knows what they are doing. You will want to ask about the factors that contribute to a credit rating. Inquire about age of open credit lines, hard credit inquiries, and the percentage of on time payments. A reputable credit repair company will not only know the right answers, but also how to fix them.
4) How Can I Contact You If I Have Questions, Comments, or Concerns?
The level of customer service you receive tells you a lot about a company. Consider asking these questions:
- Will I have a direct line of communication with whomever is handling my account?
- Are there specific hours of operation or is someone available anytime questions come up?
- What will be required of me during this process and what are my rights?
- What if I change my mind? Is there a penalty?
- What if I am not happy with the outcome after the process is done?
- What is the level of involvement expected from me?
5) How will I be able to keep track of the progress you are making?
A trustworthy credit repair company will have no issues supplying you with complete access to all they work they are doing for you. They should be able to give you access to some form of secure online account where you will be able to track the progress they are making. If you find the company cannot provide something similar to this, chances are they are not equipped to be handling your personal information.