Do you know what your credit score is? Here's why you should!

Growing up, we all got report cards to take home to show our parents how well we were progressing with our schoolwork. As working professionals, annual performance assessments play pretty much the same role – it tells you how well you are performing your role at a company, and where you can improve. Did you know that as a South African consumer you have another report card that tells potential creditors how well you manage your finances?

It’s called a credit report. These reports are compiled by the credit bureaux that operate in South Africa and serves as a record of your previous credit management behaviour. Here are a few things you should be doing to ensure that your credit record is as clean as possible:

date: 09/10/2019Author:

Check your credit score regularly

According to section 72 of the National Credit Act, you have the right to access this information free of charge every 12 months. If you request it more than once within a 12-month window, a charge of no more than R20 may be levied. Today there are four main credit bureaux that have been approved and registered with the National Credit Regulator (NCR) in South Africa, namely:

TransUnion Credit Bureau (based in America) Experian Credit Bureau (based in Europe) Compuscan Credit Bureau (based in SA) XDS Credit Bureau (based in SA)

Dispute any incorrect information immediately

Once you receive your credit report, take the time to go through it with a fine-tooth comb. If you find any incorrect information you need to take it up with the credit bureau immediately. Examples of incorrect information you may find include: An incorrect name, contact number of address. Information of accounts that belong to someone with a similar name. Accounts that were opened under your name but not by you (a case of identity theft). Accounts that have been closed by you, but still appear as open on the report. Payments that are noted as late, but were made on time. Accounts with incorrect limits or balances. A debt amount that is listed more than one time.

Keep a record of your communication

When you dispute information on your credit report it is important to keep a paper trail to show the steps that you’ve taken to correct the issue. If you sent a letter, do so via certified mail. Credit bureaux have to investigate every claim they receive, and they have to update you as they do so, normally within a month of receiving your dispute. If you take up the dispute with an institution like your bank, and they find that they have indeed made a mistake, it is their responsibility to contact the credit bureau to remove the bad mark on your record.

DID YOU KNOW? If you ever have trouble interpreting your credit report, or require assistance in clearing you credit report of old or outdated information, the Libertine Consultants team can assist.

Now you know! Keep an eye on the blog in the coming weeks and months for more expert insight into managing your finances and living a rewarding, debt-free life. In the meantime, if you would like to learn more about our credit services and debt services, please feel free to get in touch with Libertine Consultants. We are here to assist you in paving the way to a more financially secure future.

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