• Credit Education

  • The five C's of credit is a system used by lenders to gauge the creditworthiness of potential borrowers. The system weighs five characteristics of the borrower and conditions of the loan, attempting to estimate the chance of default. The five C's of credit are character, capacity, capital, collateral and conditions.


  • Breaking Down The 5 C's

    The five C's of credit method of evaluating a borrower incorporates both qualitative and quantitative measures. Lenders look at a borrower's credit reports, credit score, income statements and other documents relevant to the borrower's financial situation, and they also consider information about the loan itself.

    Character

    Sometimes called credit history, the first C refers to a borrower's reputation or track record for repaying debts. This information appears on the borrower's credit reports. Generated by the three major credit bureaus – Experian, TransUnion and Equifax – credit reports contain detailed information about how much an applicant has borrowed in the past and whether he has repaid his loans on time. These reports also contain information on collection accounts, judgments, liens and bankruptcies, and they retain most information for seven years. The Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO) uses this information to create a credit score, a tool lenders use to get a quick snapshot of creditworthiness before looking at credit reports.

    Capacity

    Capacity measures a borrower's ability to repay a loan by comparing income against recurring debts and assessing the borrower's debt-to-income (DTI) ratio. In addition to examining income, lenders look at the length of time an applicant has been at his job and job stability.

    Capital

    Lenders also consider any capital the borrower puts toward a potential investment. A large contribution by the borrower decreases the chance of default. For example, borrowers who have a down payment for a home typically find it easier to get a mortgage. Even special mortgages designed to make homeownership accessible to more people, such as loans guaranteed by the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) and the Veterans Administration (VA), require borrowers to put between 2 and 3.5% down on their homes. Down payments indicate the borrower's level of seriousness, which can make lenders more comfortable in extending credit.

    Collateral

    Collateral can help a borrower secure loans. It gives the lender the assurance that if the borrower defaults on the loan, the lender can repossess the collateral. For example, car loans are secured by cars, and mortgages are secured by homes.

    Conditions

    The conditions of the loan, such as its interest rate and amount of principal, influence the lender's desire to finance the borrower. Conditions refer to how a borrower intends to use the money. For example, if a borrower applies for a car loan or a home improvement loan, a lender may be more likely to approve those loans because of their specific purpose, rather than a signature loan that could be used for anything.

  • Your Consumer Rights

    Consumer Credit File Rights Under State and Federal Law

     

    You have a right to dispute inaccurate information in your credit report by contacting the credit bureau directly. However, neither you nor any “credit repair” company has the right to have accurate, current, and verifiable information removed from your credit report. The credit bureau must remove accurate, negative information from your report only if it is over seven (7) years old. Bankruptcy information can be reported for ten (10) years. Credit bureaus are required to follow reasonable procedures to ensure that the information they report is accurate. However, mistakes may occur. You may, on your own, notify a credit bureau in writing that you dispute the accuracy of information in your credit file. The credit bureau must then investigate and modify or remove inaccurate or incomplete information. The credit bureau may not charge a fee for this service. Any pertinent information and copies of all documents you have concerning an error should be given to the credit bureau. If the credit bureau’s investigation does not resolve the dispute to your satisfaction, you may send a brief statement to the credit bureau, to be kept in your file, explaining why you think the record is inaccurate. The credit bureau must include a summary of your statement about disputed information with any report issued about you. The Federal Trade Commission regulates credit bureaus and credit repair organizations.

    For information contact:

    The Federal Trade Commission

    The Public Reference Branch

    Washington, D.C. 20580