Credit scores are a lifeline in Singapore, and building good credit scores is crucial to many major financial life decisions. For one, it opens the door to lower interest rates and many forms of lines of credit. So, whether it’s a credit card, a short-term loan, a housing or car loan, your credit score matters significantly!
Read through to learn more about your credit score and find top tips for building a strong credit history in Singapore today.
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What is a Credit Score?
A credit score is a four-digit number based on your credit payment history. In Singapore, this credit score ranges from 1000 to 2000 and is determined by a proprietary algorithm.
It also has a corresponding rating and an indicated probability of default. The highest possible credit rating is AA, and the lowest is HH which depicts the likelihood of a borrower defaulting on a payment.
To understand better, check out the table below:
|Credit Rating||Credit Score||Probability of Default|
|BB||1844-1910||0.27% to 0.67%|
|CC||1825-1843||0.67% to 0.88%|
|DD||1813-1824||0.88% to 1.03%|
|EE||1782-1812||1.03% to 1.58%|
|FF||1755-1781||1.58% to 2.28%|
|GG||1724-1754||2.28% to 3.48%|
The higher the equivalent credit rating, such as AA, the more creditworthy a borrower is. On the other hand, individuals with a credit rating of BB and CC indicate late payments or delinquency. While those with DD to HH ratings depict loan default records.
There are also ungraded ratings such as
|HX||With past or existing summons filed against the borrower or
90+ days delay/write-off with an outstanding balance >=S$300
|HZ||An outstanding balance >=S$300 under any of the following status
D: 90+ days overdue
F: close with an outstanding balance
H: involuntary closure with an outstanding balance
R: closed or restructure the loan
S: closed with a negotiated settlement
W: closed as default
|GX||Inquiry record only|
|BX||All accounts are closed (with or without balance)|
|CX||Insufficient credit activity|
6 Tips for Improving Your Credit Score
There are several factors involved in improving your credit score, and building a good credit score takes time. So, now might be the perfect time to improve your credit score. Here are some helpful tips:
1. Pay Your Bills On Time
Making regular and on-time payments to prove creditworthiness and show lenders that you are a responsible and reliable borrower. You may set up a payment reminder on your phone to keep up with your due dates.
2. Keep Your Credit Utilization Low
A good rule of thumb here is to keep your credit utilization below 30% to show that you’re responsible with credit.
3. Do Not Apply For Too Much Credit At Once
Applying for multiple loans or credit cards over a short period may give lenders a negative impression of credit risk.
4. Review Your Credit Report
Review your credit report closely and dispute any error you find. It can be a misspelled name, a debt listed twice, or incorrect credit limits.
5. Maintain a Good Credit History
Keep any unused credit account open and active, and pay active loans on time. A solid credit history and a good credit score are also vital for lower-interest-rate loans and higher credit limits.
6. Diversify Your Credit Accounts
Having a good mix of credit accounts, but make sure you pay all these accounts on time.
How To Check Credit Scores in Singapore?
Credit Bureau Singapore is the primary credit report provider in Singapore. Below are the quick steps to check your credit score in Singapore.
1. Request a credit report through their website.
2. Then, go to Consumer Services>Credit Score Report.
3. Fill up the necessary personal details, including your NRIC or FIN number.
4. Pay the required fee, which is currently S$8.00, for a one-time credit score report. You may need to pay an additional S$2.02 for multiple delivery modes.
If you want to get a copy in as fast as two hours, apply at any SingPost branch and opt for an express service which costs S$19.44.
What’s Included in The Credit Report?
Your CBS credit report will typically include the following:
This includes personal details like name, birthdate, and NRIC number.
This part shows all your credit accounts, including
- The lender
- Type of credit
- Outstanding balance
- Payment history
- Late payments, if any
This section lists inquiries from lenders, credit facilities, and other financial institutions. It will also include the date and purpose of the inquiry.
The report will show the borrower’s credit rating and the equivalent numerical score.
Court Judgements/Bankruptcy Records
It will also include any court judgments relating to financial matters and bankruptcy proceedings.
You may need to check your score at least once a year to see how you are doing and that all information is accurate and up-to-date. Signing up for CBS’s credit monitoring service is also an excellent idea, so you can receive alerts and monitor changes to your credit score or credit report.
Factors Affecting Credit Score
Credit score calculations from CBS and other credit bureaus use an algorithm based on credit scoring models. A healthy score in Singapore is one nearest to 2000, so aim to get an average credit score near this range.
Here are some factors that will directly affect your credit score:
1. Payment History
Payments, whether punctual or delinquent, will significantly affect your credit score.
2. Credit Utilization
The amount of credit used is also relevant such that high credit utilization may reduce your score.
3. Length of Credit History
The longer your credit history grows and the longer accounts are open, the better your credit scores will be.
4. Your Credit Mix
Having different types of credit lines in good standing will boost your credit score.
5. New Credit Inquiries
Every submitted new inquiry to a credit facility will also be recorded, and a high number of inquiries will negatively affect your score.
Building a strong credit history is essential to managing your finances and achieving financial goals in Singapore. However, taking responsibility for your finances and credits involves more than due diligence. So, start taking steps today and enjoy access to better financial products and credit opportunities.
- Credit scores are a crucial measure of a borrower’s creditworthiness; a high score indicates low risk and will result in favorable terms.
- Be consistent in building credit and avoid behaviors that can harm your credit score, such as missing payments or defaulting on loans.
- Check your credit report regularly to ensure accuracy and address errors or discrepancies.
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