Armed with better credit scores, female borrowers grow in numbers: CIBIL

Armed with better credit scores, female borrowers grow in numbers: CIBIL
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  • Between 2017 and 2022, the number of women borrowers grew at 15% CAGR, says CIBIL insights report.

  • Between 2017-22, the number of women seeking business loans grew 3x reflecting the growth in women-led startups.

  • By the end of 2022, the number of active women borrowers stood at 63 million.
Thanks to self-monitoring and more financial discipline, women borrowers have a better credit risk profile than men. As many as 57% women borrowers had a credit score of prime and above compared to 51% of male borrowers in 2022, says a report by TransUnion CIBIL.

A prime score refers to credit scores between 731 to 770, according to CIBIL.

Between 2017 and 2022, the number of women borrowers grew at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15%, while this number is at 11% for men. CIBIL also says that credit access for women has grown from 7% in 2017 to 14% in 2022. By the end of 2022, the number of credit active women borrowers – with an active line of credit — stood at 63 million.

“The marked evolution of women borrowers as active participants in India’s credit market bodes well for the government’s financial inclusion mandates that intend to improve access to financial opportunities for traditionally underserved segments such as women,” said Harshala Chandorkar, COO of TransUnion CIBIL.

The number of women who keep an eye on their credit scores is also growing. In 2022, over 8.2 million women accessed their CIBIL score and report – growing 44% over one year.


“The increase in the number of women monitoring their CIBIL Score and report reflects improved financial awareness and credit consciousness. It also demonstrates that women are cognizant that credit discipline matters, and are taking proactive measures to continually improve their credit profile,” says Sujata Ahlawat, senior vice president and head – DTC Interactive, TransUnion CIBIL.

After checking their CIBIL Score, 45% of them improved their credit profile. And 28% of them improved their score by over 20 points.

What are women borrowing for?

As per CIBIL’s annual retail credit insights survey, consumption-led credit products like personal loans and consumer durable loans are gaining popularity among women.

“As more women borrowers enter the workforce and become financially independent, they are seeking credit opportunities to fulfil their life goals and aspirations,” the report said.

There has also been a spurt in activity among women entrepreneurs seeking business loans. Between 2017-22, the number of women seeking business loans has more than tripled — a reflection of the growth in women-led startups.

The share of women in over-all business loan portfolio too increased from 20% in 2017 to 32% in 2022. There has been an increase in the home loan segment too with a 6% growth.

TransUnion’s latest study on new-to-credit (NTC) borrowers shows that the highest proportion of women borrowers availed agricultural loans and consumer durable loans as their first credit facility in 2022. The share of women borrowers among first-time credit seekers has increased from 32% in 2017 to 34% in 2022.

Beyond the cities

The rise in loan-seeking behaviour in women is not an urban phenomenon either. In fact, the growth has been higher in rural and semi-urban locations (18% CAGR), as compared to urban areas (14% CAGR).

The overall share of women borrowers in semi-rural and rural locations has risen to 62%, marking an increase of 6% during the period. West Bengal, Rajasthan and Bihar saw the highest growth in women borrowers, as per the report.

“Customised products for women borrowers across socio-economic categories, age-groups and geographic locations will further empower them to fulfil their aspirations and economic goals while catalysing steady portfolio growth for credit institutions,” said Chandorkar.

As more women participate in the formal credit market, it expands the pie for credit institutions and drives financial inclusion and empowerment.


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