Malaysians lack knowledge on credit reports: iMoney survey

PETALING JAYA: The debt-to-income ratio of Malaysians is on "thin ice" and many Malaysians lack knowledge on credit reports, said financial comparison website iMoney.

A survey focusing on "How Well Do Malaysians Know Their Credit" conducted by iMoney and credit reporting agency CTOS revealed that 40% of the 3,000 respondents have high debt-to-income ratio of 51% and above.

"This is shocking as any change, be it an emergency or other unforeseen expense, could very well lead to defaulting of their loans or credit card payments. One's debt-to-income ratio should constantly be monitored and maintained at a healthy level to ensure that one is not inundated with overwhelming debts that could lead to a bad credit report and even possibly bankruptcy," iMoney said in a statement last Friday.

According to the survey, although many Malaysians are becoming more financially literate, many were clueless about their credit report, which needs to remain positive in order to obtain approvals for loans and credit cards.

"Our survey shows encouraging numbers of Malaysians making strides in empowering themselves with financial education. They are aware of where they stand financially and what obstacles they may face in achieving their financial goals," said iMoney CEO and co-founder Lee Ching Wei.

"However, the link between these and their credit health is not quite clear for them. It is equally important for them to be aware, monitor and actively maintain or improve their credit report for their future financial outlook," he said.

The survey revealed that 52% of respondents are unaware of what affects their credit report while 67% have never checked their credit report. Only 30% said they know where to check their credit report.

On the positive side, the survey revealed that Malaysians are taking steps to address their financial concerns in order to improve their personal financial health.

Based on the survey, the biggest financial concern for Malaysians is retirement savings with 32% of respondents expressing concern about insufficient funds for retirement while 22% said they are worried about the escalating cost of living.

In line with retirement being a major financial concern, 34% of respondents said they are proactively working to achieve their long-term goals of saving enough for a comfortable retirement.