Maintaining a healthy credit report is key to accessing both loans and other financial products. Our helpful tips can assist you in reviewing your report and ensuring its accuracy.
Remind me, how does my credit report work?
A credit report is a record of your borrowing and repayment behaviour that includes information on what credit accounts you have applied for, opened, and either have repaid or are actively repaying. The details on your credit report are calculated into what is called a ‘credit score’, which is a measure of how how ‘credit-worthy’ you are perceived to be as a responsible borrower.
Because the information in your credit report can be used to determine whether you can access funds through various types of loans in the future, it is vital to ensure that all the information recorded in your report is correct.
Confirm your personal details are correct
One of the simplest yet important pieces of information you can check on your credit report is to confirm your personal details are correct. This can include your name, surname, South African identity number, and your listed addresses.
Review your listed accounts
Your credit report will show a list of enquiries made by lenders or other institutions on your credit profile, in addition to what active and closed loan accounts as well as any judgements or impairments are in your name. When reviewing your credit report, it’s essential to confirm that the information listed about all of your accounts is accurate.
Check for unauthorised accounts
An authorised account refers to a credit listing that appears on your account which you have not applied for. While these can be issued in error, it is best to ensure that these accounts are removed from your credit profile so that they do not affect your credit score and to ensure that your identity has not been compromised or used to apply for a fraudulent loan.
Verify the status of your accounts (whether they’re open or closed)
Of the credit accounts listed on your credit record, you may notice that loans or accounts which you have recently paid off and settled within a number of days may not reflect as such. While this is normal as it may take a loan provider and credit bureau time to report your account as closed, older accounts which do not yet reflect as settled should immediately be queried.
Review your payment histories
While recent repayments may similarly take some time to reflect on your record, its worthwhile to verify that all repayments towards credit accounts that are repaid in instalments accurately reflect on your report – should this not be the case, your report may depict you as having more debt to repay than you may have in reality.
Confirm your credit limits and balances
When you apply for a loan or credit facility, you first receive a total credit limit (the total amount of money you can borrow), and after your first repayment then have a credit balance (the total amount of money you still need to repay).
When examining your credit record, be sure to confirm that the credit limit and balance specified are accurate, and that your available credit balances do not simply reflect the total credit limit you have available.
Confirm the public records on your account (judgements, civil suits)
Judgements and civil suits may reflect on your credit report if you have disputed or fallen into arrears with a credit account in the past. As such, its important to ensure that any such listings on your report are accurate, as this can severely impact your ability to apply for a new credit account.
Use ClearScore to keep on top of your credit report and credit score
Under the National Credit Act, every South African has the right to review their credit score once a year for free. However, by using ClearScore, you can sign up for a free account which can enable you to check your report whenever you wish.
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