While Indian women are in the present day coming out to express their opinion on gender bias and fighting for their rightful place in society, gender equality at the is still a far cry. Numbers bear witness. According to a report by the McKinsey Global Institute female labor force participation is at 31%. As a result, the contribution of women to the Indian GDP is 17% which is way below the global average of 37%. Little wonder than when it comes to credit health, India falls short where its female workforce is concerned.
The reason behind it is simple. Even though women in India are stepping out and playing a considerably large role in supporting their families financially, the large financial decisions are still handled by the men in the family. Ironically, even though women are pretty much involved in handling finances of the house such as making the household budget and paying bills and even help making credit related decisions, such as seeking out the best home loans in India or using a car loan calculator when it actually comes to availing the credit, it is taken by the man of the house. As a result, women do not end up with an independent credit history.
The problem comes to light when they apply for a credit card individually or it comes to situation where the lady of the house decides to avail of a loan herself. With little or no credit history, lenders shy away of given loans to women as they do not have enough data to assess their credit worthiness. Also with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) having made it mandatory to assess the credit score of an individual before granting him a loan it has become even more difficult someone with a poor CIBIL score of less than 750 to avail of credit. Women in India, must therefore realize that it is as important them to improve their credit score as much as the men in the family.
Here are some tips for women to enhance their credit score:
Take a close look at all the credit lines that your family has availed of. If you are not an authorized user on any and yet make partial payments on the same, make amendments with the lender and insist that you are enlisted as an authorized user or a joint account holder of the loan. If you are a joint account holder of any credit, it will show up in your credit report.
If you have availed of credit before marriage with your maiden name that you have not changed in your bank records yet, do so on a priority basis. Once your information has been rectified with your lender, check your CIBIL report after a month or so and see if your personal details have been updated. The details of your previous credit should also reflect in your credit report as a result of this exercise. If not, you will need to raise a dispute with CIBIL to ensure that your details are rectified.
Once things are up to speed on the CIBIL report, consider applying for a low interest credit card independently. If used judiciously a credit card can be a great means of building credit. Being reckless with your credit card will lead you straight into a debt trap. To maintain good credit health, you need to follow the basic tenets of spending in small amounts and paying your total outstanding amount on time. This will not only help you in building your CIBIL score, you will comfortably be able to maintain a satisfactory score of 750 and above. Apart from the credit card, if a need arises to take another line of credit such as small personal loan, consider taking it on yourself rather than leaving money matters to your husband!
It is as important for a woman to take care of her credit health, just as she takes care of her personal health. If she is equipped to work shoulder to shoulder with any male counterpart in an organisation there is no reason why she should not handle matters of credit at home. So, if you are a lady reading this, do rise to the occasion as times are changing and you need to start building or improving your credit score as much as you father, brother or husband needs to do.
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