1 Fullerton Credit Pte Ltd is a licensed moneylender (License No. 100/2023) listed in the Registry of Moneylenders, under the Ministry of Law in Singapore.

5 Practical Tips to Improve Your Credit Score Singapore

Hands Showing Excellent Credit Score

In the podcast Ask Suze and KT Anything, financial experts Suze Orman and Kathy Travis explore the continuing relevance of credit scores in modern finance. They emphasize that credit scores are crucial for determining eligibility for key financial products like mortgages, credit cards, and various types of loans. 

Additionally, credit scores play a significant role in setting terms for auto insurance rates and loan limits.

Here, we will explore practical strategies to enhance your credit score, ensuring better financial health and opportunities.

Five Effective Strategies to Boost Your Credit Score

1. Maintain Timely Payments

Ensuring that all your bills and credit obligations are paid on time is crucial for improving your credit score. Late payments can significantly harm your score, as payment history is a major factor in credit scoring algorithms. 

Setting up automated payments or reminders can help you keep on top of due dates, as consistently meeting payment deadlines demonstrates to financial institutions that you are a reliable borrower, which can positively influence your credit score over time.

2. Manage Your Credit Utilization

Credit utilization—how much of your total credit limit you use—strongly impacts your credit score. It’s advisable to keep your utilization below 30% of your available credit across all cards. 

High utilization can suggest to creditors that you’re overly dependent on credit, which poses a risk. By spreading expenses across multiple cards and paying down balances before the billing cycle closes, you can manage your utilization effectively and boost your credit score.

3. Diversify Your Credit Mix

Having a variety of credit types—such as credit cards, personal loans, and a mortgage—can positively affect your credit score. This diversity shows financial institutions that you can handle different kinds of credit responsibly. However, it’s important not to open new credit accounts unnecessarily; instead, build this mix organically over time as your financial needs grow.

Each new account can also temporarily lower your score due to credit inquiries, so it’s wise to apply for new credit cautiously.

4. Limit Credit Inquiries

Each time you apply for credit, a hard inquiry is recorded on your credit report, which can lower your score slightly. Applying for several credit accounts in a short period can compound this effect, signaling to financial institutions that you may be a high-risk borrower. 

To improve your credit score, it’s best to limit the number of new inquiries and applications for credit. Instead, focus on managing your existing credit effectively.

5. Regularly Monitor Your Credit Report

Errors on your credit report can unjustly lower your score. Regular monitoring allows you to identify and address these inaccuracies swiftly. 

Request a copy of your credit report annually from the Credit Bureau Singapore and scrutinize it for any discrepancies such as incorrect personal information, duplicated accounts, or fraudulent activities. 

If you find errors, dispute them immediately with the credit bureau to have them corrected, which can help improve your credit score.

Good To Know

1. What is a Credit Score?

A CBS Credit Score is a four-digit figure derived from your historical payment performance across various loan accounts. This score is generated by an algorithm that uses data from your current credit reports and can fluctuate as your credit details change over time. This data is gathered from multiple sources and compiled by the Credit Bureau Singapore (CBS).

2. What is a Healthy Credit Score in Singapore?

Credit score

Your credit score in Singapore is a number between 1,000 and 2,000, where a higher score indicates better creditworthiness. Here are the key ranges:

  • Excellent (1911-2000): Individuals are seen as low-risk borrowers and are more likely to receive favorable loan terms.
  • Good (1724-1910): Still considered low risk, these borrowers may receive competitive interest rates.
  • Average (1430-1723): Moderate risk borrowers who might face higher interest rates and stricter terms.
  • Poor (1000-1429): High-risk borrowers who may find it challenging to secure loans and will likely encounter high-interest rates and less favorable terms.

There’s a common myth that checking your own credit score can lower it. However, checking your score yourself is a soft inquiry and does not impact your credit score.

What are the Factors That Affect Your Credit Score?

Several factors influence your credit score, each playing a pivotal role in determining your overall creditworthiness. Here’s a deeper look into these elements:

Payment History

This is the most critical component of your credit score. It reflects whether you have made payments on time across your credit accounts, including credit cards, loans, and mortgages. 

Consistent late payments can significantly damage your score, while a history of timely payments can enhance it, demonstrating your reliability as a borrower.

Credit Utilization Rate

This measures how much of your available credit you are using. High credit utilization, especially consistently close to or at your credit limit, can indicate financial distress and risk to financial institutions. It is recommended to keep the utilization ratio below 30% to help improve or maintain a good credit score.

Length of Credit History

The duration of your credit history accounts for the length of time your accounts have been active. A longer credit history provides a more comprehensive view of your financial behavior over time. Financial institutions favor consumers with longer credit histories as they offer a clearer picture of long-term financial habits.

Credit Mix

As mentioned above, having a variety of credit types—such as retail accounts, credit cards, installment loans, finance company accounts, and mortgage loans—can positively impact your score. This diversity shows lenders your ability to manage different types of credit. However, it’s important to only apply for and use different credit types as needed rather than opening numerous accounts unnecessarily.

How to Check Your Credit Score in Singapore With The Credit Bureau Singapore?

You can obtain your credit score by requesting an online report from the Credit Bureau Singapore (CBS) for $8.00. If you have recently applied for a loan or credit facilities from a bank, you can FREE credit report within 30 days of your application.

Once it’s available, besides electronic collection, you have the option to pick up the physical documents at any SingPost branch across the island or directly from the Credit Bureau’s office.

Contact Information:

  • Hotline: +65 6565 6363
  • Address: 2 Shenton Way, #20-02 SGX Centre 1, Singapore 068804
  • Operating Hours: Monday to Friday, 9 am to 6 pm. Closed on Saturdays, Sundays, and Public Holidays.

If you are overseas: 

If you’re currently not in Singapore, here are a few steps to follow to purchase your credit report.

  1. Email Application: Send an email to consumer_services@creditbureau.com.sg. Use the subject line “Credit Report Application from Overseas” to ensure your request is correctly categorized.
  2. Attach Required Documents:
    • For Singapore Citizens/PRs:
      • Singapore NRIC (Front and Back) in PDF or JPG format. Note that digital IDs are not accepted.
    • For Foreigners with a Work Pass:
      • Passport and Work Pass (Front and Back) issued by Singapore Government Authorities. Again, digital IDs are not accepted.
    • For Foreigners with only a Digital Pass:
      • Passport along with Long-Term Visit Pass, Student’s Pass, or Dependent’s Pass.
  3. Selfie Identity Verification:
    • Take a selfie holding your identification document next to your face. Ensure both your face and the ID are clearly visible and all details on the ID are legible.
    • The photo should be taken in a well-lit area.
    • Indicate the date the photo was taken directly on the image.

After submitting your email with the attached documents and selfie, Credit Bureau Singapore (CBS) will contact you within 2 business days to proceed with the purchase of your credit report.

Common Myths About Credit Score

Here are some common misconceptions about credit scores:

Myth #1: Income Affects Credit Score

Many believe that their income level directly impacts their credit score. In reality, credit scores are calculated based on credit history, not income. While income doesn’t directly alter the score, it does influence one’s ability to manage and repay debts, which can indirectly affect credit decisions by lenders.

Myth #2: Checking Your Own Credit Hurts Your Score

Another myth is that checking your own credit report can lower your score. Checking your own credit score is a soft inquiry and does not affect your credit score, unlike hard inquiries made by lenders.

Myth #3: Closing Old Accounts Boosts Your Score

Some people think that closing old or inactive credit accounts will improve their credit score. However, closing old accounts can actually shorten your credit history and negatively impact your score.

Myth #4: All Debts Negatively Affect Your Score

There’s a misconception that having any debt automatically means a lower credit score. In fact, having a manageable level of debt and making regular payments can demonstrate to lenders that you handle credit responsibly, which can boost your score.

Myth #5: Paying Off a Negative Record Removes It from Your Report

Paying off debts in collection will change the status to “paid,” but it does not remove the history of the debt from your credit report. Negative records can remain on your report for up to 7 years.

Consequences of Poor Credit Management

Managing your credit poorly can have significant long-term effects on your financial health. Individuals who fail to maintain good credit management practices may face several challenges:

  • Increased Difficulty in Securing Loans: Lenders are hesitant to provide financing to individuals with poor credit scores, as they are perceived as high-risk borrowers.
  • Higher Interest Rates: Poor credit scores often lead to higher interest rates on loans and credit cards, which means higher overall borrowing costs.
  • Risk of Bankruptcy: Consistently poor credit management might lead to accumulating debts that exceed manageable levels, potentially leading to bankruptcy if total debts surpass S$15,000 in Singapore.

How Long Does it Take to Remedy a Low or Bad Score?

Improving a low or bad credit score takes time, and the process can vary based on the issues involved and your corrective actions. Here’s a simplified timeline for enhancing your credit score:

  • Short-term Efforts (1-3 months):
    • Correct Report Errors: Identifying and resolving inaccuracies on your credit report can quickly improve your score.
    • Reduce Credit Card Balances: Lowering balances, particularly if above 30% of your limits, can enhance your credit utilization ratio.
  • Medium-term Adjustments (3-6 months):
    • Timely Bill Payments: Consistent on-time payments can positively affect your score.
    • Limit Credit Applications: Avoiding new credit applications reduces hard inquiries, helping maintain your score.
  • Long-term Strategies (6 months and beyond):
    • Diversify Credit: Gradually add diverse types of credit, such as installment loans or new credit cards, and maintain older accounts.
    • Maintain Financial Discipline: Keep balances low and payments punctual, establishing healthy credit habits.
  • Special Considerations:
    • Settle Collections and Past Dues: Addressing overdue accounts or collections can initially dip your score but benefits it in the long term as negative impacts diminish with consistent positive credit activity.

Closing

Improving your credit score is a journey that requires dedication and informed financial decisions. Here are three key takeaways to help you on this path:

  • Always pay your credit obligations on time, keep utilization below 30%, maintain a diverse credit mix, limit hard inquiries, and regularly check your credit report for errors.
  • Scores range from 1000 to 2000, with higher scores indicating lower risk and better creditworthiness.
  • Budget carefully, open new credit lines only when necessary, and address financial issues promptly by negotiating with creditors or seeking financial advice.

If you’re looking for flexible lending options, 1 Fullerton Credit offers personal loans up to 6x your monthly salary with interest rates starting at 1%. Enjoy repayment terms of up to 12 months to suit your financial needs.

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