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What is CIBIL (Credit Bureau) and why is it so important today?

Most customers in India, who have Credit Cards and Personal Loans are unaware of the existence of CIBIL (Credit Information Bureau (India) L...

Thursday, April 9, 2009

What is CIBIL (Credit Bureau) and why is it so important today?

Most customers in India, who have Credit Cards and Personal Loans are unaware of the existence of CIBIL (Credit Information Bureau (India) Ltd.) which will definitely play a very important role in their financial planning in future.
Take for example case of Mr.Tomar who dropped his Credit Card Cheque on the Payment Due Date in the Skypak Dropbox. However, for some reason the payment got updated against his Credit Card a day late and he got levied a hefty late Payment Fee of Rs.300 in addition to service tax. Not someone to be taken for a ride he called the bank and registered a complaint for reversal.
Most Credit Card Issuers get several such reversals every month amounting to Crores of rupees. Based on some internal thumb rules, they reverse out some charges and decline other reversals. (I would like to highlight the policy adopted by HDFC and Deutsche Bank where they give the customer the benefit of doubt and confirm the reversal on the call itself – the first complaint on reversals is always resolved in the customers favour) Very often it is very difficult for the bank to judge if the customer is telling the truth or there has been some inefficiency at the cheque pickup agency. Mr.Tomars request was declined and he did not get the reversal. His next recourse was to write to the Head Service department in the bank and after 30 days write to the Banking Ombudsman. I completely agree with him.
However what Mr.Tomar does not realize is that in the intervening period his other statement has already got generated and as his complaint has not got resolved he has not paid the Rs.300 late payment Charge he has been levied. As a result in the following month he gets reported to CIBIL as a defaulter who has not paid his Credit Card Minimum Amount Due. Two more statements get generated and now the amount with Interest and service tax has inflated to Rs.600. He has been reported to CIBIL thrice for not paying his Minimum Due – the impact of which is as follows.
Next time Mr. Tomar applies for a Credit Card or a Personal Loan which he desperately requires, the changes of it getting declined are extremely high.
Why does this happen?
1. Every bank before giving you a Credit Card or Loan will check your CIBIL Record
2. The CBIL Record gives the performance of the current Cards and Loans that you hold
3. The following can ruin your CBIL record completely
a. Not paying your EMI / Credit card Minimum Due every month
b. Not paying the dues for a longer period of time
4. Every time you do not Pay your Credit Card or Personal Loan outstanding the CIBIL score dips further and the amount of outstanding and the number of days outstanding is visible to other banks as well
In the current scenario banks will think a million times before giving credit to a customer who has a bad record on CIBIL. If you have a bad record on 2 or more relationships or have not paid your Credit Card Outstanding for 6 months (write-off case) then please forget about it. This will definitely impact you as more and more banks start using CIBIL, which eventually may be used for Pre Employment checks, Utility Payment checks as well. The day when the interest rate given to you depends on your CIBIL score is also not very far away.
Please keep the following in mind!
1. Whatever happens, try to be regular with your payments
2. If you have a dispute on the Credit Cards, you can take up the issue, but please continue to pay your Minimum Amount Due every month. You can ask for the subsequent reversal later.
3. Head Service Departments as well Banking Ombudsman are useful authorities and my experience with them has been great, they do take fair decisions – so pursue your case with them while you continue to make the Minimum Payments to keep your Records from going to CIBIL
4. It is not worthwhile ruining your CIBIL record for a few hundred rupees of Late Payment Fee. Do realize that the bank does not care about the consequences of passing your records to CIBIL – it is only a file upload for them. You should definitely fight your case – but do not hurt yourself.
I think my details have already been reported in CIBIL. What do I do?
You can be reported to CIBIL because of 3 reasons
1. You have not paid your dues – You definitely need to be reported. Once you pay your dues over a period of 24 months your score will improve provided you start making regular payments again.
2. Erroneous updation by bank – Due to an error at the banks end due to inefficiencies in their Cheque Pickup agencies etc. they may not receive the payments in time and they incorrectly report your details to CIBIL, then they initiate the process to delete the name from CIBIL or sometimes the customer finds out when the application gets declined and needs to rush bank to the bank to get the record rectified
3. If you are currently in a dispute with the bank (especially payment not received etc) – I would suggest you settle it quickly and as a pre condition as for settlement, ask the bank to delete the reporting they have done to CIBIL.
Remember that your CIBIL score will improve over time once you start making regular payments. So do not worry, if your record is bad and CIBIL score is low, just continue making your Loan and Credit Card payments on time and it will pickup.
Personally, the biggest problem I have with the CIBIL system is that Customers cannot view this data and point out any incorrect reporting. Due to deficiencies and inefficiencies in bank there are several incorrect uploads on CIBIL and these uploads affect the customer’s Credit Record in a big way. There is no way the customers can get to know of these goof ups and rectify the same. They will get a rude shock one day when they go to seek Credit. This is a broader consumer battle that we will need to fight.
For any further questions on CIBIL do write into ask.pranav@gmail.com
Also do visit my Personal Finance Blogsite http://www.simplybank.blogspot.com/ for useful information in the Personal Finance space.

4 comments:

Bhanu said...

Credit Information Bureau (India) Limited, CIBIL’s aim is to fulfill the need of credit granting institutions for comprehensive credit information by collecting, collating and disseminating credit information pertaining to both commercial and consumer borrowers, to a closed user group of Members. Banks, Financial Institutions, Non Banking Financial Companies, Housing Finance Companies and Credit Card Companies use CIBIL’s service. The fair CIBIL report is very helpful to buildup a strong nation, as we all aware about the Subprime, and the main reason of the subprime was false credit rating information.

Trusha Mehta said...

I had no idea my credit was bad. The guys at Credit Sudhaar analysed my report. The process took some time but my credit was restored, enhanced and protected. I have no reason for complaints.

Mary D'souza said...

My loan was rejected. Credit Sudhaar was my choice. Initially they were slow. But their counsellors were able to handle all my queries. I will give Credit Sudhaar a positive review

Biswabhusan Panda said...

Thanks for sharing this helpful information. Generally we required a personal loan in case of emergency only. Practically I found during journey with family & friends sometime we failure to due some payment in time. In this case our credit score creates problem for a fresh personal loan. In this matter to help you out including this link I am sharing one more link as an additional help guide for loan seekers http://jharaphula.com/how-to-get-personal-loan-with-low-cibil-score-in-india