Growing up is all about navigating through the ins and outs of good financial management. You may have gotten the hang of investing or even the gist of saving, but don’t forget the most important thing about your finances: your credit score.

In the long run, building up your credit score and keeping it at a healthy level will reward you greatly. You’ll be enjoying special rates on loans and banks will love trusting you! But first, do you know what a credit score is?

Wait, what is a credit score?

In a nutshell, a credit score is a number between 300-850 that represents your creditworthiness and how likely you are to repay debt. Factors that go into determining your credit score include your bill payments, loan repayments, and more. CTOS is widely used by financial institutions to determine an applicant’s creditworthiness, so you’ll be getting the most accurate result possible. 

CTOS obtains the credit related information from various public sources such as:

  • National Registration Department
  • Malaysia Insolvency Department
  • Companies Commission Malaysia (CCM)
  • Publications of legal proceedings and notices in newspapers and government gazettes.

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CTOS provides credit reporting and is also widely used by financial institutions to determine an applicant’s creditworthiness.

The types of credit-related information that will be featured in the credit report from CTOS include bankruptcy, legal action and case statuses.

You can get your credit report from CTOS through our CTOS Credit Score Assessment.  All you have to do is to click on the link, submit your information and you will get your credit score.

Does it matter if I have a poor credit score?

Yes, it matters if it is at an unhealthy level as your credit score affects your chances of qualifying for bank loans and credit cards. How good you look on paper will be used by financial institutions to decide whether or not to approve your loan/credit card application.

Aside from that, the credit score will also be used to determine how much interest you should be charged for financing plans. Some employers also take your credit score into consideration when deciding whether to give you a job. Therefore, it is important to make sure that you keep your credit rating at a healthy level.

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If you have a poor credit score, the key is to take action now and ensure that you can improve your score quickly.

What should I do if I have a poor credit rating?

If you have a poor credit score, don’t panic. The key is to take action now and improve your credit score quickly. After you have successfully improved your credit score, you should then focus your efforts in maintaining a good credit score.

How do I improve my credit score?

Some may think that credit scores are complicated and difficult to understand. But don’t worry, we have compiled a list of ways you can follow to improve your credit score. If you follow these steps and adjust your spending habits, you’ll be well on your way to achieving an excellent credit score.

1. Verify that all the information on your credit report is accurate

If you’re planning to move, don’t forget to inform your credit reporting agency about it. You should always make sure they have your correct and updated details so that your latest credit reports will be as accurate as possible. Believe it or not, something as simple as having multiple addresses listed on your file could lower your rating and prevent you from taking out that loan as you wouldn’t be as reliable on paper.

Updating your personal details in credit reports can be a quick, hassle-free process as credit reporting agencies provide a step-by-step guide on how to correct your report inaccuracies, so be sure to contact your credit reporting agency, such as CTOS, for help.

Related: 4 Ways A Bad Credit Score Can Impact Your Life (And How You Can Fix That)

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Having multiple addresses listed on your file can lower your credit score.

2. Pay off your debt

We understand that this is a tough time for most and this is easier said than done. However, it is advisable that you avoid defaulting on your debts and pay off your minimum on a monthly basis. You could also contact your lender to organise a repayment schedule that works for you.

If you need tips on how to manage your money and get out of debt, you could try reading our articles about it here, which includes all the best steps to take in order to be debt free! 

Related: 7 Strategies To Get Out Of Debt Fast During The COVID-19 Pandemic

3. Don’t make companies chase you for bill payments

Do you tend to forget to pay your bills on time? Not only does this pose a risk of having to pay penalty fees, you will also be damaging your credit score. Bill payments are your chance to show companies that you are a trustworthy customer. Even constant late payment for phone bills and internet bills can lower your credit score. As a result, this will show banks and financial institutions that you don’t have your finances under control, so be sure to mark your calendar and pay up when it’s time!

Related: When’s the Best Time to Pay Your Credit Card Bill?

4. Check your financial relationships and take charge of your finances

Did you know that your financial behaviour isn’t the only factor that can affect your credit score? Your financial relationships with others can improve your rating, but it can also have an adverse effect. For example, be careful when you share bills or have supplementary credit cards as late repayment on your supplementary cards would affect your credit score. If possible, keep your finances separate because this will allow you better control over your own credit score.

Related: We Asked Malaysian Bloggers For Financial Management Tips For Couples!

5. Start building up your credit history

Some people have no credit score at all, and this is actually just as bad as having a bad credit score. You may be managing your money well, and have never found the need to get a loan, but a lack of credit history could actually be viewed negatively by credit rating agencies. So why not get yourself a credit card and enjoy the many benefits that come with one? Just make sure you’re careful when picking the suitable credit card for yourself. Read the small print first and decide which credit card suits your lifestyle and spending pattern.

You can use the free credit card comparison tool to help you to do this in minutes, and we will even highlight the reward schemes you could be benefiting from. But always ensure that you pay off your outstanding balance at the end of the month, otherwise you will end up with a poor credit score, and that’s exactly what we’re trying to avoid.

Related: How Cancelling Your Credit Card Can Affect Your Credit Score (Instead Of Helping It)

Now that you know how your credit score is perceived by financial institutions, you can start to see why it’s so crucial for your future plans. Knowing your credit score gives you a better sense of what you can and cannot afford, and how banks see you as a prospective borrower. Therefore, we advise you to check your credit score and always plan ahead. After all, it’s always better to improve your financial health sooner than later!

Here at CompareHero.my, we take pride in helping Malaysians understand their finances better. Therefore, we are giving away 5,000 FREE credit score assessments every month!