Knowing Your Credit Health is the First Step to Better Personal Financial Control and Management, as Malaysians Brace for Continuing Effects of the COVID-19 Impacted Economy

Get your free personal credit report which includes your Experian i-SCORE and Central Credit Reference Information System (CCRIS) data through the Know Money Campaign

KUALA LUMPUR, 6 JULY 2021 – In conjunction with Credit Health Month in July, Experian Information Services (Malaysia) launched its Know Money Campaign, a holistic financial literacy campaign to empower Malaysians about the importance of credit health for better personal financial control and management, especially as consumers gear up for longer term impact of COVID-19 economy.

This comes at a time when Malaysia is currently in its third Movement Control Order (MCO) and a second blanket loan moratorium has been introduced to ease the continued financial strain individuals and households are facing from a prolonged lockdown. A part of the National Recovery Plan (NRP), this temporary relief will last six months from 7 July 2021.

With loan repayments delayed for a second time, Malaysians who find themselves adversely impacted may experience increasing strain on managing their financial issues, especially for individuals who struggle with personal finance knowledge. The Know Money Campaign was developed to help consumers get started with the basics and to gain the confidence to navigate through such hardships with the best possible knowledge and skills.  

Throughout the campaign period, Experian is offering consumers free personal credit reports that will provide a comprehensive insight into an individual’s credit profile, banking credit information (CCRIS), credit scores (Experian i-SCORE) and more. Additionally, consumers will enjoy 50% off all other consumer products.

Experian i-SCORE is a consumer credit score in Malaysia. It is based on the statistical analysis of a consumer’s credit files to derive a numerical score ranging from 300 to 800. The scoring is typically used by lenders to ascertain the creditworthiness of an individual before approving or rejecting an application. A higher Experian i-SCORE indicates a lower credit risk to lenders and may lower the cost of borrowing for the consumer. 

Financial literacy among Malaysians at large is relatively low. Many Malaysians are struggling with personal finance knowledge and skills. Some are keen to start but do not know how, while others only see the need when they encounter urgent personal finance issues.

Personal finance is a multifaceted topic and may be complex, but the key to having better control and management over one’s financial situation can be simple, and the first step is by understanding the importance of credit health. Unfortunately, not many are aware of it, let alone understanding its important role in personal finance.

This is supported by Experian’s recent i-SCORE analysis, where it studied credit facilities, such as credit cards, personal loans, overdrafts, mortgages, vehicle loans, government & education loans, etc. The study is based on 5.7 million individuals between the age of 22 years and 65 years and above from 1Q2020 to 1Q2021, spanning the first and second MCOs.

Experian i-SCORE analysis highlights the need to improve credit health awareness among Malaysians, especially the younger age groups. Based on the analysis, younger consumers have made more new credit applications over the last 3 quarters (3Q2020 – 1Q2021), while their older counterparts have stayed more conservative.  

The rise in new applications among the youth is a concerning trend as Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) recently highlighted that 47% of Malaysian youths have high credit card debt. Furthermore, most of the bankruptcy cases were mainly due to the inability to sustain debt comprising instalment purchases, personal loans, and credit card debt.

“The low level of financial literacy, especially awareness around credit health, has always been a challenge for Malaysians, especially the youths. Our latest Experian i-SCORE analysis reinforces an urgent need to educate Malaysians about the importance of credit health. This is critical as the uncertainties around the COVID-19 impacted economy persists, both as a nation and on an individual level. Experian’s Know Money Campaign is part of our long-term commitment to improve financial literacy in Malaysia. Through this campaign, we hope to continually educate Malaysians about the importance of credit health, so they understand that it’s the first and vital step to better personal financial control and management in the long term,” said Dawn Lai, Chief Executive Officer of Experian Information Services (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd.

Experian i-SCORE analysis also highlighted that while moratoriums have helped consumers with weak credit scores the most, they may be at higher risk for delinquency as moratoriums lift in the future.

The Association of Banks Malaysia (ABM) encourages borrowers to start repayment, if they are able to, as resuming repayments would reduce their overall cost of borrowing. For those who are still having challenges resuming repayments, they will have to proactively reach out to their bank(s) for further assistance. Consequently, they would have to pay greater attention to how to navigate through managing credit more so than ever.

In light of this, the Know Money Campaign plays a pivotal role in increasing credit health awareness and highlights the importance of maintaining good credit health in managing personal finance for the immediate period and into what may be a protracted and depressed economic environment.

In addition to offering free personal credit reports, Experian is working with several partners, including Agensi Kaunseling & Pengurusan Kredit (AKPK), iMoney and RinggitPlus to bolster continuing outreach on financial education. Several free educational and engaging activities will be rolled out in phases in the coming months.

“We are excited to be part of the Know Money Campaign. It has always been our vision to help Malaysians take control of their financial situation and gain peace of mind that comes from the wise use of credit. Through this campaign, we will continue to empower Malaysians with financial education and advice on financial management, said Azaddin Ngah Tasir, Chief Executive Officer, AKPK.

“Every day Malaysians are facing personal finance decisions during this crisis. These are often very private issues and having the right financial knowledge and skills will help consumers who are struggling to equip themselves with the right level of knowledge to help cope with the stress of financial strain. Such skills are significant to their immediate ability to think clearly and to confidently make decisions which will impact their families immediately and in the future. Experian and our partners like AKPK, iMoney, RinggitPlus and many more are committed to help Malaysians acquire such financial literacy skills through the Know Money campaign and beyond as we chart our plan to recover together,” concluded Lai.

For more information about the Know Money Campaign and how to get your free credit report, visit the campaign page.

 (ENDS)

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