What do credit scores have to do with personal loan interest rates?
There is a strong link between credit scores and personal loan interest rates because many lenders use credit scores to decide what interest rates to offer to potential borrowers.
If you have a higher credit score, lenders will probably classify you as a lower-risk borrower. That means they’ll be keen to win your business, so they may offer you a lower interest rate.
If you have a lower credit score, lenders will probably classify you as a higher-risk borrower. That means they might be concerned about you defaulting on the loan and costing them money. As a result, they might protect themselves by charging you a higher interest rate.
It is possible for students with no available history of borrowing or managing money to get a personal loan, though it may be more difficult and/or expensive than for borrowers with a good credit history.
Having no credit history means having no credit score. While many lenders may consider having no credit score to be better than having a bad credit score, they may still consider it riskier to lend to an unknown borrower and may charge higher interest rates or fees than to borrowers with good credit scores.
Comprehensive credit reporting may change your credit score – either positively or negatively.
Under comprehensive credit reporting, credit providers will share more information about how you and other Australians manage credit products. That means credit reporting bureaus will be able to make a more thorough assessment of everyone’s credit behaviour. For some consumers, that will lead to higher scores; for others, lower scores.
Different credit reporting bodies use different formulas to calculate credit scores. However, they use the same type of information – credit history and demographic profile.
So they’re going to look at how many credit applications you’ve made, who they were with, what they were for, how much they were for and your repayment record. They’ll also look at your age and postcode. They’ll also look to see if you’ve had any bankruptcies or other relevant legal judgements against you.
Your score can change if your demographic profile changes or new information is added to your file (such as a new loan application) or existing information is removed from your file (because it has reached its expiry date).
Credit ratings/scores are calculated by credit reporting bodies such as Equifax, Dun & Bradstreet, Experian and the Tasmanian Collection Service. These are separate organisations, so they use different systems.
Equifax gives scores between 0 and 1,200:
- 833 to 1,200 = Excellent
- 726 to 823 = Very good
- 622 to 725 = Good
- 510 to 621 = Average
- 509 or less = Below average
Dun & Bradstreet (through the Credit Simple service) gives scores between 0 and 1,000:
- 800 to 1,000 = High end
- 700 to 799 = Great
- 500 to 699 = Average
- 300 to 499 = Room to improve
- 299 or less = Low
Experian gives scores between 0 and 999:
- 961 to 999 = Excellent
- 881 to 960 = Good
- 721 to 880 = Fair
- 561 to 720 = Poor
- 0 to 560 = Very poor
The Tasmanian Collection Service doesn’t give scores. Instead, it prepares credit reports for credit providers and then lets those providers make their own assessment.
In some instances, bad credit personal loans can help people with bad credit history to consolidate their debts in such a way that it makes it easier for them to repay those debts. This is because the borrower might be able to consolidate several debts with higher interest rates (such as credit card loans) into one single debt with a lower interest rate.
However, this strategy can backfire if the borrower spends the extra money instead of using it to repay the new loan. Another disadvantage of bad credit personal loans is that they have higher interest rates than regular personal loans.