If you’re applying for credit products, such as a credit card, personal loan or a home loan, you may be wondering how much your credit score comes into play. But did you know your credit score may impact the amount of money you’re approved for?
How credit scores impact the credit you can access
Your credit score is a number that showcases to a bank or loan issuer how reliable you are as a borrower. It is an indicator of your riskiness as a borrower and helps a bank or issuer determine whether to lend you money and, for some loans, what interest rate to offer you.
Credit bureaus, such as Equifax and Experian, will categorise your credit score into five tiers:
- Below average
- Very good
Your credit score, and the category it is placed into, is determined by positive and negative credit events.
A very good or excellent credit score shows a good history of credit repayments and managing debt. A below average credit score may indicate that you have trouble meeting your credit repayments on time or have struggled with debt, defaults or even bankruptcy in the past. These positive or negative credit events play a major role in determining your credit score and the amount of money you can borrow from a bank.
When it comes to applying for a credit card or a loan, your credit score will directly impact not only the amount of money you can borrow or your credit limit, but also whether you’ll be approved full stop.
Eligibility criteria and how it impacts you
Credit providers cannot just lend out money to anyone who applies. Credit licensees must comply with responsible lending conduct obligations as set by Australian regulatory bodies like ASIC and the ACCC.
According to ASIC’s website: “The key concept is that credit licensees must not enter into a credit contract with a consumer, suggest a credit contract to a consumer or assist a consumer to apply for a credit contract if the credit contract is unsuitable for the consumer.”
Put simply, responsible lending is put in place to protect you from taking on debt you cannot reasonably service and falling into financial hardship. This is why you have to meet a set of eligibility criteria when you apply for any financial product.
This typically includes:
- Being over 18 years of age
- An Australian citizen or permanent resident
- Meeting minimum annual income requirements
- Meeting employment requirements (full-time employment being the most favourable)
- Having a good to excellent credit rating
When you apply for a credit product, you’ll need to prove the above by providing anything from bank statements, payslips, employment details, information on any existing debts or loans and your tax file number.
The credit provider will also run a hard credit enquiry on your name to discover your credit history and score.
- Note: This hard enquiry will show up in your credit history and, if you are rejected in your application, may negatively impact your credit score. It’s crucial you do not apply for any financial product without ensuring you can meet the provider’s eligibility criteria.
Now your application has been approved, the provider will need to determine your interest rate (if applying for a loan) or your credit limit (if applying for a credit card).
Those with an excellent credit score will more likely be approved for more credit or a bigger loan, or be offered a more competitive interest rate, as they are considered “ideal” customers. They are more likely to make repayments and service the loan or credit card on time due to their history of doing so already.
This is why its invaluable you know your credit score and work on improving it as much as possible before applying for any financial product.
Not sure of your credit score? Let our credit score guide help you today.