Issuance of a credit card marks the entry into the world of credit for most millennials. The journey that starts with a credit card generally peaks when one opts for a home loan, thanks to sky-high home prices. Obtaining a home loan at an attractive rate is a task for many. But they forget that if one uses a credit card prudently, it can help strike a better home loan deal. Here is how it works.
Lenders prefer to offer home loans to individuals that have a credit score in excess of 750. This score is not built overnight. If a borrower has been repaying the loan on time, it can help build a credit score over a period of time. Here is how your credit card usage aids in building a credit score and obtain a home loan at an attractive rate of interest.
Timely repayment of outstanding
Credit cards allow you to access funds without interest for a stipulated period of time, if you pay the entire bill before the due date. “Failure to pay the bill in full attracts interest but also harms your credit score,” Satyam Kumar, co-founder and CEO of LoanTap Financial Technologies, said.
He advises paying all credit card dues in full before the due date to ensure that the credit score goes up. If possible use standing instructions on your saving bank account, so that the lender debits the bill from your account. If you pay the minimum amount due, even though the banker is not treating it as a default, credit score companies do not take it positively.
If you miss your bill payment once in a while by a couple of days, it may not kill your credit score. But avoid repeating such instances a few months before applying for a home loan.
Credit utilisation ratio
“Keep your credit utilisation ratio low at around 30 percent,” Kumar stated. For beginners, it stands for how much credit one uses out of the allotted limit. It is calculated for each card separately as well as jointly for all cards. For example, if you have two credit cards – A and B – with a credit limit of Rs 1 lakh each. and spend Rs 60,000 and Rs 2,000 on these cards, respectively. Then the credit utilisation ratio for Card A and B stands at 60 percent and two percent, respectively. Jointly it stands at 31 percent. Had the user spread this expenses equally on both cards he would have been closer to the 30 percent mark.
Once in a while this number may go up. But consistently high numbers shows a credit hungry behaviour. If you are using a credit card with low limits, it makes sense to ask your banker to increase the credit limit on the credit card. This will ensure that your credit utilisation ratio falls, if you keep spending a similar amount.
Longevity of your credit card accounts
Credit score gives more weightage to older credit accounts. Longer the repayment history, better is the credit score. Avoid closing your old credit card accounts. Keep using the old credit card and repaying it before the due date helps the credit score.
Personal loans on credit cards
Many prefer to avail personal loans on their credit card to avoid paying a high rate of interest. This move blocks their credit card limit. The borrower is also expected to repay the loan on time. Late payments or defaults on these loans also pull down one’s credit score.
“Be diligent while repaying these personal loans as they are high-cost credit compared to other secured loan options. Also, failure to repay leads to a fall in credit score,” Vishal Dhawan, Founder and Chief Financial Planner at Plan Ahead Wealth Managers, said.
DisputesIf there is a dispute with the lender pertaining to a transaction or charge on the credit card, do not ignore it. “Sometimes individuals tear the credit card as they are unhappy with the service. However, it does not help. One has to ensure there is no outstanding and formally close it,” Dhawan added.
Opting for a one-time settlement or not paying it up will lead to adverse remarks in your credit report. “If you spot a disputed transaction or a charge on your credit card, it makes sense to speak with the card issuer and follow up for an amicable resolution,” Kumar said.
If you use your credit card prudently, there is a high possibility that your credit score will remain good and you will be offered a better deal.