Man checking credit report

Complaints about credit report errors to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) have more than doubled since 2021, underscoring the need for accurate credit reporting. 

According to a policy analyst at Consumer Reports, “a credit report is crucial to an individual’s financial future. It details your credit history, including loans and payment records, which affects loan eligibility, interest rates, and even job or housing opportunities.”

In this article, you’ll discover everything you need to know about credit bureau reports in Singapore, including how to obtain and understand your report, and tips for improving your credit score.

What is a Credit Bureau Report?

A credit bureau report is a comprehensive record of your credit payment history compiled from various retail banks and major financial institutions. This report is used primarily by credit providers to evaluate the likelihood of a consumer repaying a loan. It contains detailed information that helps determine your creditworthiness. 

In Singapore, Credit Bureau Singapore (CBS) collects this data from its participating members, which include most of the financial institutions in the country. 

Regulated under the Credit Bureau Act 2016 (CBA), these bureaus ensure that the data collected is used responsibly and accurately to help lenders make informed decisions. Credit Bureau Singapore acts as a repository for credit records, enabling members to assess the risk involved in lending to a borrower.

How to Obtain Your Credit Report

Requesting Your Credit Report Online:

  1. Visit the Credit Bureau Singapore (CBS) website.
  2. Navigate to the section for requesting a credit report.
  3. Complete the necessary online forms with your personal information OR.
  4. Retrieve your personal details with Singpass. Authorise with the Singpass app and CBS will extract the necessary information.
  5. Verify your identity through the provided methods and then click ‘Confirm’.
  6. Submit your request and pay the applicable fee.
  7. Receive your credit report via email.

Requesting a Hard Copy:

  1. Visit select SingPost outlets, the CBS office, or CrimsonLogic Service Bureaus.
  2. Fill out the request form available at these locations.
  3. Provide necessary identification documents.
  4. Pay the required fee.
  5. Collect your credit report or choose to have it mailed to you.

How to Get a Free Credit Bureau Report

  1. Online Method: Within 30 days of your credit facility application being approved or rejected, visit the credit bureau’s website to access your free credit report.
  2. In-Person Method: Bring the approval or rejection letter/SMS from your credit facility application and your NRIC to the credit bureau’s registered office to receive your free credit report.

For more details on the free credit report extension, visit the credit bureau’s website.

Credit Bureau (Singapore)
Pte Ltd 2 Shenton Way, #20-02 SGX Centre 1, Singapore 068804
Tel: (65) 6565 6363
www.creditbureau.com.sg

Costs Associated with Obtaining the Report

  • The cost for obtaining a credit report in Singapore is S$8 (excluding GST).
  • Additional charges may apply for specific delivery options or extra copies.

Understanding Your Credit Score

A credit score is a numerical indicator used by lenders to assess the likelihood of an individual repaying debts and the probability of default. 

In Singapore, the Credit Bureau Singapore (CBS) assigns a four-digit credit score ranging from 1000 to 2000. This score is derived from your past payment history on loan accounts. A higher score indicates a lower risk of default, while a lower score suggests a higher risk.

credit score description

(source: Credit Bureau Singapore)

Score Range Breakdown:

  • AA (1911-2000): Represents the lowest risk of default, with probabilities ranging from 0.00% to 0.27%.
  • BB (1844-1910): Indicates a low risk of default, with probabilities between 0.27% and 0.67%.
  • CC (1825-1843): Shows a slightly higher risk, with probabilities from 0.67% to 0.88%.
  • DD (1813-1824): Represents moderate risk, with default probabilities between 0.88% and 1.03%.
  • EE (1782-1812): Indicates a higher risk of default, with probabilities from 1.03% to 1.58%.
  • FF (1755-1781): Signifies a significant risk, with default probabilities ranging from 1.58% to 2.28%.
  • GG (1724-1754): Shows a very high risk of default, with probabilities between 2.28% and 3.46%.
  • HH (1000-1723): Represents the highest risk of default, with probabilities from 3.46% up to 100%.

Factors That Affect Your Credit Score

Your credit score is computed following based on several factors. These include:

  • Recent applications: Moneylenders in Singapore that see several recent personal loan requests on your record. They may consider you a bigger financial risk. This is since you seem financially desperate. That is why you should limit the new credit you request to submit.
  • Default: Overdue payments and late payments on your personal loans are noted here. These together with utility bills lower your credit score.
  • Usage: This refers to the amount of credit that a borrower has used. It can also be what they owe on their credit account.
  • Inquiries: All the new loan applications you make translate to a credit inquiry. These are then posted on your credit statement. Having too many credit inquiries within a short time does affect your score.
  • Credit available: They get the difference between the total credit limit and the credit used. This will give the available credit. Having a higher financial credit availability can be good for your score.
  • Credit history: By having a longer credit history, shows you are more stable. This means as a borrower you are considered less risky. When your history is short, not enough information is provided. This makes it hard for lenders to assess your credit-worthiness. It is for this reason you should start building your credit early. When possible you could start after you have reached the age of 18. The record also shows the repayment conduct for a period of 12 months.

CBS also provides a risk grade and a risk grade description along with the credit score. This comprehensive information helps lenders make informed decisions during the credit application process.

Key Components of a Credit Bureau Report

Personal Information Section

personal information section

The personal information section of your credit bureau report includes essential details that identify you. This section typically contains:

  • Full Name: As registered with your financial institutions.
  • Identification Numbers: Such as your NRIC or passport number.
  • Date of Birth: For verification purposes.
  • Address History: Current and previous residential addresses.
  • Employment Information: Current and past employers, if provided during credit applications.

This information ensures that the credit report accurately matches your identity and is used to confirm your details during credit evaluations.

Account Information

Account information

The account information section provides a detailed summary of your credit history, covering various credit accounts and their status. Key elements include:

  • Credit Cards: Details of your credit card accounts, including limits, balances, and payment history.
  • Loans: Information on personal, home, car, and other types of loans, including the original loan amount, outstanding balance, and repayment status.
  • Payment History: Records of your on-time payments, late payments, and any defaults.
  • Credit Utilization: The ratio of your current credit balances to your credit limits, indicating how much of your available credit you are using.

The final column indicates the status of each credit facility over a rolling 12-month period (with the most recent cycle on the left and the oldest on the right). Confused by the letters? Don’t worry – refer to the detailed list below for explanations of each status.

credit status

This section helps lenders assess your credit behavior and financial responsibility over time.

Enquiry Section

Enquiry section

The enquiry section lists all the entities that have accessed your credit report. It includes:

  • Credit Enquiries: Records of all requests made by financial institutions to review your credit report when you apply for credit.
  • Soft Enquiries: Instances where your report is checked for purposes other than credit applications, such as by yourself or by existing creditors for account monitoring.
  • Who Has Access: Only authorized entities, such as banks and financial institutions that are members of the Credit Bureau Singapore, can access your credit report. These enquiries are recorded to ensure transparency and to inform you about who is viewing your credit history.

Default Records

Default records

Default records refer to any payment defaults reported by CBS members. The duration for which these records are displayed depends on the type of default:

  • Negotiated Settlement or Full Settlement records: Displayed for 3 years from the status date.
  • Bankruptcy Proceedings: Displayed for 5 years from the date of discharge.
  • Outstanding, Partial Payment, and Sold off records: Displayed indefinitely.

Impact of Financial Actions on Your Credit Report

Your financial behaviors have a significant impact on your credit score, influencing how lenders perceive your creditworthiness. 

Key behaviors include:

  • Late Payments: Consistently making late payments on your credit cards or loans can dramatically lower your credit score. Each late payment is recorded and remains on your credit report for several years, indicating to lenders that you may be a high-risk borrower.
  • Debt Levels: High levels of debt, especially when close to or exceeding your credit limits, negatively affect your credit score. Lenders view high credit utilization as a sign that you may be over-reliant on credit and potentially unable to meet future financial obligations.
  • Payment History: A strong history of on-time payments positively affects your credit score. It demonstrates financial responsibility and reliability, making you more attractive to potential lenders.
  • Credit Utilization Ratio: Maintaining a low credit utilization ratio (i.e., using a small percentage of your available credit) is favorable for your credit score. A high ratio suggests that you might be overextended financially.

Certain severe financial actions have a profound impact on your credit report and can take a long time to recover from:

  • Bankruptcy: Declaring bankruptcy has one of the most severe impacts on your credit score. It remains on your credit report for up to 10 years, severely limiting your ability to obtain new credit during that period. Lenders view bankruptcy as a sign that you have previously been unable to manage your debts.
  • Default Records: Defaults occur when you fail to meet your credit obligations, such as not repaying a loan. Default records stay on your credit report for up to five years and significantly reduce your credit score. They indicate to lenders that you have previously failed to repay borrowed money.
  • Negotiated Settlements: When you negotiate a settlement to pay less than the full amount owed, it is noted on your credit report. While it may be better than a complete default, it still negatively affects your credit score as it shows that you were unable to meet the original terms of your credit agreement.

Tips to Clear and Improve Your Credit Score

These steps are designed to help you manage your credit profile more effectively and make informed decisions to improve your overall financial health.

  • Review for Errors: Regularly check your credit report for inaccuracies. Dispute any incorrect information with the Credit Bureau Singapore (CBS).
  • Settle Outstanding Debts: Pay off any outstanding debts promptly. Clearing overdue payments can gradually improve your credit score.
  • Negotiate Settlements: If full payment is not feasible, negotiate settlements with creditors. Ensure that settled accounts are marked correctly on your credit report.
  • Maintain Communication: Keep in touch with creditors, especially if facing financial difficulties. They may offer repayment plans that can prevent accounts from defaulting.
  • Pay Bills on Time: Timely payments are crucial for a healthy credit score. Set up reminders or automatic payments to ensure no due dates are missed.
  • Reduce Outstanding Debt: Aim to pay down debts, focusing on high-interest ones. A lower debt-to-credit ratio improves your credit utilization rate, boosting your score.
  • Limit New Credit Applications: Avoid applying for multiple new credit accounts in a short period. Each application creates a hard inquiry on your report, temporarily lowering your score.
  • Use Credit Wisely: Maintain a mix of credit types (e.g., credit cards, loans) and use them responsibly. Diversifying your credit portfolio can enhance your credit rating over time.
  • Increase Credit Limits: If feasible, request higher credit limits on your credit cards. This can lower your credit utilization ratio if spending remains consistent.
  • Monitor Your Credit Report Regularly: Regular reviews help spot and dispute errors promptly.

Conclusion

Understanding and managing your credit bureau report is essential for maintaining good financial health in Singapore. By knowing how to obtain, read, and improve your report, you can ensure it accurately reflects your creditworthiness and helps you secure better financial opportunities.

Key Takeaways:

  • Your credit score is influenced by payment history, outstanding debt, credit utilization, and recent credit applications.
  • Scores range from 1000 to 2000, with higher scores indicating lower risk and better financial standing.
  • Pay bills on time and keep debt levels low to maintain a positive payment history and low credit utilization ratio.

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