Good personal financial management doesn’t stop at planning and juggling how you generate income, spend your money, save, invest, and ensure your family’s protection. Nowadays, a good credit rating plays a crucial role in determining how easy it will be for you to get your loan or credit approved.
A credit rating is the measurement of a person’s or business’ ability to repay a debt. This is done through a scoring system – like how we rate food or movies with 1 star (meh..) or 5 stars (awesome!). Similarly, banks and financial institutions will evaluate borrowers based on their credit score to determine the risks they are taking when deciding to lend money, or not.
Looking around for a loan but unsure of your own credit worthiness? Don’t worry! Access to the credit rating report is not limited to only financial institutions or businesses. YOU can also get your own personal report – one way of which is from CTOS.
What is CTOS?
首席技术官, the acronym for Credit Tip-Off Service, is a public listed company, and Malaysia’s leading Credit Reporting Agency (CRA). In fact, CTOS is one of 3 credit bureaus approved by The Central Bank of Malaysia (Bank Negara Malaysia). Although it is not the only credit agency in Malaysia, it is one of the more prominent CRA’s in the country.
CTOS’ main role is in creating individual and enterprise credit reports to:
create transparency so quick and easy credit decisions can be made and facilitated.
help create stronger businesses and reduce risk by allowing financial institutions or credit organizations to evaluate and make informed credit decisions quickly.
Usually, financial institutions could use more than one credit report to determine an applicant’s credit health. They may generally rely onCCRIS(Bank Negara Malaysia’s credit referencing information system) and others. CTOS is known to be widely used in Malaysia.
You may be wondering how CTOS gets their data. According to CTOS, they source data from various sites such as:
National Registration Department (NRD)
Registrar of Societies (ROS)
Malaysia Insolvency Department (MDI)
Companies Commission Malaysia (CCM)
Publications of legal proceedings and notices in newspapers and government gazettes.
Voluntary information from creditors, litigators, trade referees, and individuals.
The data is then converted into a credit report which shows personal or business identity verification, business exposure, directorships and business ownerships (if any). Additional details include legal actions, legal case statuses as well as bankruptcy information. The comprehensive report will include a CTOS score with a rating indicator.
Worried about the privacy of your financial data and credit history? CTOS (and all CRA’s) are bound and regulated by the Ministry of Finance’s Registrar Office of Credit Reporting Agencies. In the event of any violation or abuse, severe penalties will be imposed.
CTOS does not provide comments, opinions or blacklist any individuals. It only creates and provides credit rating reports by which you can be assessed by lenders and / or financial institutions.
2 Types of CTOS Reports
There are 2 types of CTOS reports – MyCTOS Basic Report and MyCTOS Score Report.
MyCTOS Basic Report – contains brief details including your personal information, business interests & directorships (if any), your payment history, bankruptcy declaration (if any) and trade referee listings. You can request for this report twice a year free of charge.
MyCTOS Score Report – is a comprehensive report covering a breakdown of all information in the basic report. It also includes CCRIS records and the CTOS score. The score reflects your credit worthiness at the point in time of checking. A payment of RM25 is required for this report.
You can easily access and obtain the CTOS report of your choice by signing up 这里.
The CTOS score – the higher the number, the nearer you are to credit heaven
CTOS has their own scoring system, which you can get when you apply for a MyCTOS Score Report (it includes the CCRIS report as well). For further protection, the CTOS SecureID subscription will alert you the changes in your credit facilities.
The score, or ratings, start from 300 to a maximum of 850. From the photo, you will see that the higher the number, the stronger your credit worth. This means if your rating is between the 697 to 850 mark, the chances for banks or credit companies to approve your loans are very, very good.
However, not having a score or a low rating does not necessarily mean that financial institutions will view you unfavorably (unless you have a habit of defaulting in loan or bill payments). This could be because you do not have any credit history yet. A simple way to start creating a credit trail is by getting your firstcredit card and building a credit history (wisely).
CTOS doesn’t simply calculate credit ratings. It is done based on acceptable and renowned standards. CTOS bases their calculations on the FICO standard. Here’s how it is done:
45% and the biggest chunk comes from your payment history. It is important to make payments for utility, credit cards, loans and mobile phone bills on time.
20% from your credit facilities; i.e. the amount outstanding from existing loans or credit. If you still owe a large amount, you may be having some difficulty meeting your repayment deadlines. This will impact your score. Try not to max out your credit facilities.
14% each for credit mix and new credit facilities approved or rejected.
7% on the length of your credit history, e.g. if you had a credit card for more than 10 years.
Simply put, the CTOS score reflects your credit health. Just as you go regular physical health checks to stay fit, keeping tabs on your personal credit ratings should put you on the right track to sound financial management.
CTOS vs CCRIS
Must it be only CTOS report? Why not CCRIS? Is there a difference? Confused? Let’s clear this up with a simple illustration:
Public listed company under the purview of the Ministry of Finance’s Registrar Office of Credit Reporting Agencies
Bank Negara Malaysia
12 months (unless it is a Special Attention account)
Type of information
Interest in business(es) or directorship
Overdue loan or bill payments
Application status of loan / credit facility
Payments as guarantor (if any)
Legal and bankruptcy status
Bill payment history
Interest in business(es) or directorship
Application status of loan / credit facility
Accounts specially monitored by bank(s)
There is a charge for the comprehensive MyCTOS Score Report (about RM25)
Nope. It’s free!
Both CTOS and CCRIS are impartial and will NOT blacklist you.
Does knowing my credit rating make my life easier?
Of course! The credit score helps you keep track of how you are doing financially and gives you the power over the outcome of your credit applications. The higher your ranking, the greater the chances of approval for that new housing loan or the extra credit card. Think of it as the hero avatar in online gaming – the higher the rank, the greater the power and rewards!
Besides seeing your chances of approval when it comes to loan applications, the report also shows where you stand financially. So, if you feel that your score isn’t as good as you’d like it to be, you can take action to improve. Bear in mind, this will not be instant but will take time. For example, something as simple as catching up and becoming current on missed payments will push your rating up.
Even if the numbers don’t look encouraging, it’s not the end of the world. CTOS scores are just an indication and not designed to destroy your financial future. Your credit score is dynamic – it will change over time based on your payment patterns and behavior. This makes improving much easier.
There is truth in that quote. Many benefits can be gained from having a good credit score, including perks and savings, as well as access to loans and credit cards with the best terms. Here are 5 ways you can maintain a healthy credit score:
Pay on time
Be prompt in paying your bills and commitments! Lenders are especially keen to know how disciplined a borrower is in repaying their debts. Missing payment deadlines or defaulting on your debt will affect your credit score badly over a long period. And, don’t let banks or companies chase you as their documented remarks will be captured in the CTOS or CCRIS systems. Today’s online facilities provide ample opportunities for you to ensure that payments are made conveniently and punctually – reminders and alerts, standing instructions, direct debit, autopay, etc. Once this is set, you won’t have to worry about missing that deadline. No more excuses!
Good payment scheduling
It is important to stay on top of your income and expenses. Plan to pay your loans and bills when you get your salary. There’s no point scheduling to make a payment before you get paid and when there is not enough money in your account. This will only add to your stress and may also affect your credit rating.
Keep amounts owed within a reasonable limit
Try not to overextend or max out your credit card limits by spending smartly. Too many credit cards is not an advantage either. It is easy to overspend and when it comes to repayment, discipline and affordability is quite another matter entirely. Remember, your credit score will reveal how you use and repay the ‘allowances’ provided by the banks. Having too much credit or loans may negatively impact your rating too since this correlates with your income. As a rule of thumb, don’t apply for too many cards or loans at once. Doing so might signal that you are in need of more credit than you can afford to have. This will negatively impact your credit score.
Living within one’s means is good financial planning.
Prioritize your debts
Another aspect of good financial planning is to prioritize your debts. You could clear your debts with the highest interest charges in order to minimize your cost. Credit card debt carries the highest interest charges (18% per annum) – not to mention their finance charges! The next highest is the personal loan. Ultimately, you should aim to pay for as much as you can afford every month. The recommendation is to keep your debt service ratio below the 50% range.
Debt service ratio, or DSR, is a calculation used by the bank to check whether you can repay a loan. The bank normally compares your DSR against their maximum allowable DSR limit. If your DSR is within their limits, your chances of getting a loan is higher.
Check your credit score regularly
The CTOS report relies on information not just from organizations, companies, and financial institutions, but also individuals. So, it is good to pay attention to credit reports linked to your name and ensure that your personal and credit information are correct. In case of any errors or issues in the report, you can make plans to address them accordingly. Keeping track of your report also keeps you alerted on any potential ID thefts or frauds – e.g. someone else using your name to clock up unpaid telco bills for a mobile phone number that does not belong to you. This will pull your score down as the debt is in your name. Rectifying the issue will reset your credit history and bring up your score. If there are discrepancies in your CTOS report, you can call CTOS at 03-27228833, or fill an online form and email them at [email protected] together with copies of your MyKad, documented proof of the correct information, police report, etc. CTOS will perform the necessary checks and verification, then provide you with a corrected, updated report.
Good credit health is something to be proud of. It reflects your diligence in keeping your debts and credits under control – even more so, if you were able to successfully turn your credit situation around from bad to good! Curious? Time to explore and learn more about your own credit scores.