How to build an impeccable credit history
Within the first days of our lives, we are all issued a birth certificate which becomes the first document of the pile that we are to collect during our lifetime. Birth certificates are followed by passports, then graduation certificates, college or university diplomas. Reaching the age of majority entails, among other things, responsibility not only for one‘s professional career, but also for financial decisions which are reflected in the credit history. In other words, credit history is a yearbook of one‘s financial obligations, which is read by banks, leasing companies or other institutions in order to assign you to the categories of either reliable or less reliable clients and decide whether they are willing to accept you for credit.
No Credit Without Credit History
According to the surveys, more than half of the adult population of Lithuania are active users of credits to finance purchase of the real estate, vehicles, household appliances, furniture, PCs, phones, etc.
To get a credit, you apply to the banks or leasing companies. They first look into your credit history which shows how well you performed our financial obligations in the past, including consistency of timely payments for electricity, telecommunication services or garbage removal, also timely repayment of other credits and any overdue debts.
A good or bad credit history determines whether you will be accepted for credit to buy a new refrigerator instead of an old broken one, whether sellers will agree to sell you a new phone just after signing an agreement on payment in installments over the next two years. If the credit history is sound, you can expect the most favorable conditions and trust of the seller. A poor credit record means that you may have to pay the entire amount at once.
A History of Amounts and Discipline
The credit history reflects two types of information. The first one is an account of financial obligations, credits in the banks, consumer loans from credit institutions or peer-to-peer lending platforms, leasing, etc. Lenders use this information to assess the client‘s budget sufficiency, i.e., the percentage of income spent for servicing the existing debts. The second type of information is the track record of repayment of debts indicating the discipline of making payments for credits, mobile phone, internet, cable TV and other bills.
Banks Favor Positive Rather than Empty Credit History
The staff of the credit bureau is often asked what a good credit history is. One may think that lenders favor those who never had a loan, leasing or credit card, and never delayed payments to service providers, hence their credit history is empty. Yet the lenders‘ approach is different. On the one hand, an empty credit record may indicate that you had no need to borrow or to buy on lease in the past. On the other hand, who is more trustworthy: a client who repaid his lease or loan in time, or a person who never had any financial obligations? A survey conducted by “Mano Creditinfo“ revealed that banks tend to be more favorable towards clients who had financial obligations in the past as they are more predictable.
Financial institutions tend to trust clients with good credit history and offer them better conditions, such as a lower down payment, lower interest rate and more flexible repayment terms. For instance, Swedbank‘s Institute of Finances earlier advertised that good credit history may save up to several thousand euros in interest on home loans. Good credit history will save you up to EUR 500 on a loan for a EUR 5,000 worth car, or up to EUR 1,700 on a EUR 10,000 worth car lease.
Can You Fix a Bad Credit History?
Yes, you can, but it will take time and effort. There are several factors that determine a bad credit history, including high financial obligations, excessive and unreasonable borrowing, borrowing to service outstanding debts, delayed payments and other. If your credit history contains any such events, you have to brace yourself for a hard time, as cosmetic adjustments will not erase or eliminate them. If you tend to assume too many financial obligations, you will have to reduce their number and curb your appetite for borrowing for some time at least. If you have any overdue payments, you are recommended to make the payments as soon as possible and never delay them again.
Financial institutions usually analyze the credit history of the recent 2 or 3 years, and the negative impact of the sins of the past gradually fades away over time. Thus, if you have a poor credit history and decide to change your approach towards your financial obligations today, financial institutions may still have questions about your past financial behaviour for a couple more years to come.
Mistakes to be Avoided
Information about the financial relations and obligations will accompany you throughout your entire life telling a story of either a high financial discipline or lack of it. If you decide to borrow, you must carefully assess your ability to cover the debt and think about the ways to ensure the repayment even if you lose your income. Negative records appear in your credit history very quickly, within a month from the day the payment was due. Erasing this record from your credit history will take years, though.
CEO – Creditinfo Lietuva.