Despite of credit bureaus operating for past one decade and lenders making credit scores mandatory for loans, a recent survey conducted in eight metros has found that only 15 per cent people are aware of such a system, while over 50 per cent respondents are unaware of the bureaus. "A large majority of 53 per cent of the people polled are still not aware about the credit bureaus and credit scores, and only a minuscule 15 per cent are aware of their own credit score," says an eight city survey by Credit Sudhaar involving around 1,500 people. This is inspite of the fact that 70 per cent of the respondents are aware that having a healthy credit history and score will help them get easy access to credit and 41 per cent of them know that a good credit score gets them cheaper interest rate as well. The findings are interesting as nearly half-a-dozen credit bureaus such as Cibil and Experian have been operating in the country for the past one decade and the Reserve Bank had recently asked them to offer individual credit scores annually free of cost, beginning December. Credit Sudhaar guides people to manage their credit and finance, and the survey was carried out in Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Pune, Ahmedabad Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata - the cities which constitute the largest chunk of credit market for lender, says the survey. What is more, according to the survey, only 11 per cent of the polled people have ever obtained their credit reports from any credit bureau. This is significantly low given the massive increase in the population that qualifies for loans, and just about nine per cent have reviewed their credit reports in the past 12 months. Among the polled cities, Delhi and Bengaluru have better awareness with 25 per cent respondents being aware that a good credit score will help in job application. On of the reasons for not accessing credit scores is the increasing instances of identity thefts with 35 per cent of the respondents citing this as a threat.
But only a meagre four per cent have purchased any kind of protection. Chennai and Bengaluru lead in safeguarding themselves from identity theft, while Hyderabad and Pune have the least intention (10 per cent) of checking their credit reports. Application of the digital media is increasing in the credit market with 35 per cent intending to apply for a loan or credit card through online channel. But nearly half (44 per cent) would still apply directly, and only 21 per cent wish to engage a third-party.
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