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How to Check Credit Score in Nigeria

Check credit score

Recap

The process of checking a credit score in Nigeria is a crucial step for anyone involved in credit activities.

To check your score, you first choose a credit bureau and request a credit report, which includes your personal details, Bank Verification Number (BVN), National Identity Number (NIN), and credit history. Reviewing this report for errors is important, as they can impact your score. We discuss the roles of credit bureaus like CreditRegistry Plc, CRC Credit Bureau Limited, and First Central Credit Bureau Limited in compiling these reports. We also highlight the importance of understanding how credit scores are used by various entities, including financial institutions, landlords, and employers, as they can influence decisions like loan approvals, rental agreements, and employment opportunities.

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A credit score is a number, usually between 300 and 850, that tells lenders how you handle loan repayment.

It is a representation of your creditworthiness, and a good score (typically 700 – 850) shows that you pay your bills on time. In contrast, a bad score (below 600) shows that you do not and that lenders should be wary of providing you credit since you are most likely to default.

Your credit score is always included in your credit report. This report also contains your:

    • Personal details (Name, Address, date of birth, etc.)

    • Bank Verification Number (BVN)

    • National Identity Number (NIN or any other means of identification)

    • Credit payment profile

    • Credit account details

    • conditions for credit (original debt and balance outstanding)

    • Other public records

Lenders are not the only ones that make use of your credit score. Creditors, landlords, employers, and all authorized financial institutions registered with the credit bureau can use your credit score to determine if they will grant you loans, credit cards, or credit facilities in general.

Since credit scores are very important, especially to individuals who utilize credit, it is very important to occasionally check the credit scores to confirm that they are accurate, and to identify areas that need to be worked on to improve the score or to determine if any fraudulent activities are being carried on their accounts.

To check your credit score in Nigeria, you must:

    • Choose a Credit Bureau to register with

    • Request a Credit report (your credit score will be included in your credit report)

    • Check the credit score from the report

Initially, the credit scores you receive may not represent your true score as there might be errors. Therefore, you should thoroughly scrutinize the score and make sure there are no errors. To do this, it is vital to understand how credit scores work and how they are used.

Step 1: Choose a Credit Bureau

A credit bureau is an organization that collects and collates credit information on individuals and businesses to formulate a credit report. This report can then be sold to lenders, who in turn use it to determine the creditworthiness of the individuals.

Step 2: Get a Credit Report

After choosing a bureau, you can request your credit report, which contains your personal information and credit history, including debts, payment habits, and credit utilization.

Some of the requirements required to request a credit report include:

    • Personal details (Name, Address, date of birth, etc.)

    • Bank Verification Number (BVN)

    • National Identity Number (NIN, or any other means of identification

    • Payment information: if the credit bureau charges a fee for credit reports, you will need to provide payment information

Your credit report automatically contains your credit score as your score will be generated from the information gathered using the report.

Step 3: Check Your Credit Score

As soon as your report is ready, your score will be displayed on the dashboard, and you can easily determine if it is bad, fair, good, very good, or excellent from the scale provided (each bureau provides a visual scale to explain the performance of your score, usually between 300 and 850).

This score is generated from all your available credit history across all lenders, creditors, banks, and general financial institutions in Nigeria.

Step 4: Check for Errors on Your Credit Report

After a review of your score, the next step is to thoroughly verify that all the transactions were conducted by you and that the information on the report pertains to you.

This is very important as every single piece of information in credit in your report affects your credit score, so if there is wrong information, errors, or activities not carried out by you in your report, you can dispute it and get it amended by following the bureau’s dispute process.

Checking for errors ensures that your credit score is an accurate representation of your credit history.

Step 5: Understand How Credit Scores Are Used

As a customer, you are fully encouraged to take control of your credit activities. To do this, you must first understand what a credit score is and how creditors, financial institutions, and other authorized organizations use it to make credit decisions that concern you.

Even landlords and employers can gain access to your credit score to determine whether or not to give you tenancy or employment. This is how vital credit scores can be.

Since it is a measurement of risk, a very good credit score can earn you the trust of financial institutions, which in turn earns you better credit facilities, favourable rates, and terms since these institutions are sure that you will repay the facilities at the agreed time.

It is, therefore, very useful to know how you can improve the scores or maintain a good score to have access to better credit terms.

Benefits of credit bureaus to Nigerians

Credit Bureaus offer many advantages to Nigerians that most need to learn about. Some of these include to:

    • Collate credit information on your behalf that may help you access loans without the need for collateral

    • Protect you against fraud by fishing out unauthorized individuals who may want to purchase things or steal your identity to use your bank account to collect loans in your name

    • Reward Nigerians who use credit facilities properly with a positive credit score which allows them to gain access to more financial opportunities

In Nigeria, there are three main credit bureaus:

    • CreditRegistry Plc

    • CRC Credit Bureau Limited

    • First Central Credit Bureau Limited

These bureaus gather information in different ways, and it is important to visit the credit bureau websites to determine the one that best suits your needs.

CreditRegistry Plc offers you a free glance at your credit report as long as you have your name, email, phone number, and BVN.

FirstCentral and CRC require you to be registered and on their records before receiving a free credit report. To register, you have to pay a fee online.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How can I improve my credit score in Nigeria?

You need to first check your credit report to know the areas that have made your credit score bad in the first place. With that knowledge, you can focus on those areas to improve your credit score. Generally, you can:
– Take appropriate advantage of credit facilities available to you from legitimate sources
– Repay the facilities as and when due
Your credit score should improve on time as you take more loans and repay on time.

Can I get a loan with a bad credit score in Nigeria?

Yes. You can get a loan with a bad credit score in Nigeria, but you might be required to pay higher interest rates than you would have paid if you had a good credit score. This is because your credit report represents the level of risk that lenders have to take to lend you money, and since you have a bad credit score, lenders are taking a higher risk lending you money than they would if you had an acceptable credit score.

Is it possible to get a loan without a credit record in Nigeria?

Yes. It is possible to get loan options without a credit record in Nigeria, as not having a credit record.

How can I contact the credit bureaus in Nigeria?

For CreditRegistry Plc:
– Visit Eko Pearl Towers A, Eko Atlantic City, Victoria Island, Lagos
– Call 01 454 8700, 0700-CREDITBUREAU
– Go to www.creditregistry.ngFor FirstCentral Credit Bureau Limited:
– Visit 37A Raymond Njoku Street, Off Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos
– Call 0817 837 7643
– Go to www.firstcentralcreditbureau.com

For FirstCentral Credit Bureau Limited:
– Visit the 2nd floor, 26 McCarthy, Onikan, Lagos
– Call 01 628 3900, 016283901
– Go to www.crccreditbureau.com

What do I get if my credit score is good?

A good credit score comes with many benefits including but not limited to:
– Access to higher amounts of loan from lenders without collateral
– Lower interest rates from lenders
– Banks and other capital-providing institutions trust you and can provide capital-intensive items to you without you having to pay huge lumps of cash in return

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