Applying for credit can feel a bit like taking a test. If you aren’t sure of your answers, you’ll probably be anxious about your results. Using the 5 C’s of credit, it can be helpful to you to view your credit standing from the lender’s perspective:
: Lenders are looking for someone who is stable and reliable. They’ll look at your payment history to see how frequently payments were made on time and how often you paid more thanthe minimum amount. Lenders will also consider other factors, such as how long you’ve lived at your current address or in your current city, or how long you’ve been at the same job.
: Lenders will gauge your ability to repay the loan you’re applying for based on your current situation, and the amount of debt and expenses you currently have. Lenders will typically calculate your debt-to-income ratio – or how much you owe vs. how much you earn – to gauge your risk. The lower your ratio, the less risky lending to you may seem.
: With some loans, you’re required to offer an asset (for example, a home or car) that the lender can take possession of in the event that you are unable to make loan payments. Some lenders may require a guarantee in addition to collateral, which means that you or a third party must agree to repay the loan if the collateral cannot cover the amount.
: These are outside circumstances, such as the economy and job market, that can influence your ability to repay a loan. However, this category also includes how you intend to use the loan. For instance, obtaining a loan to pay for graduate school would seem less risky than a loan being used for a family vacation, since the degree would most likely improve your profitability in the long run.
: Lenders will check your credit report and score. Together they show lenders your credit accounts, payment history, and level of risk.
Some lenders may require a guarantee in addition to collateral.
If you use these C’s to proactively manage your credit, you’ll be better prepared to make the grade when it comes time to apply for a line of credit or a loan.
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