What’s On A Consumers Credit Report in South Africa?
- previous credit performance
- current levels of indebtedness
- the duration of your credit agreements
- the different types of credit you have
- your patterns in taking on new credit
What’s on the Report and Why Should I Care?
The first section contains all your personal data, such as current and previous addresses, South African Identity number and employment history. This is prime data for criminals that steal identities, so be extra careful that you take steps to protect this information and you do not simply leave it lying around for strangers to find.
The next section of your consumers credit report provides a summary of the consumers credit history. It includes the total number of accounts (both open and closed) held by the applicant, the nature of accounts (bond, installment, revolving credit), the number of credit inquiries over the last 12 months by credit providers, the number of accounts that are past due as well as those in good standing.
When applying for credit, companies will review your consumer credit report prior to approving a loan or extending credit, These credit providers will often take a risk adverse approach and assume that all your existing credit facilities such as bond and credit card are maxed out with the maximum monthly repayments and then factor in your other variable expenses to come to a total available amount of money you will have to service the loan or credit card. Therefore if you have lots of credit accounts and credit cards, even if there is no money owed on them, this can negatively impact your profile when applying for credit as the credit provider will factor in your credit access and monthly repayments on this access to determine your credit worthiness.
The next section provides detailed account information. It will includes the name, account type, account number, date opened, balance and status of every account on the applicant’s record. A breakdown of each account provides payment history, date of last activity and contact information for the credit issuer. The section also includes a summary of past-due accounts and accounts with a negative credit history.
If you find something on your report that you do not agree with, you have the right to notify any of the credit bureaus and dispute the issue. Supporting documents are required as well a proof of identity. But they system is available to you as a consumer and if your issue is legitimate the matters will be resolved and the adverse information removed from your consumer credit report.
Next you will find a section which addresses inquiries into the applicant’s credit history. Inquiries are typically classified by the industry as “hard” or “soft.” Hard inquiries are “created when you consent and authorized a company to request a copy of your credit report for credit vetting purposes.” The number of inquiries over a 12-month period is tracked and taken into account when your credit score is calculated. An excessive number of hard inquiries have a negative impact on your score.
Various factors such as payment history, the length of time an individual has had credit and the individual’s employment history all play a role in determining your credit score. So, even though have a great job, you have little or no debt, you pay all your bills on time if is unlikely you would obtain a full credit score.Check Your Credit
These days your consumer credit report is easy to get hold of. If you are contemplating a large credit purchase, such as a second home or a nice new car, running a credit check on yourself is a good idea. If you run the check at least 90 days before your purchase, you should have plenty of time to address any discrepancies that appear on the report and the better your score the better the terms you will be offered. So taking note of your credit health may actually save you a lot of money in interest payment.