According to the National Credit Act, consumers in South Africa are entitled to one free credit report a year. This is in line with global credit standards and is aimed at raising awareness for consumers and to enable them to make informed financial decisions.
In South Africa, credit bureaus collect information about individual and organisations regarding behaviour. It is a result of factors such as the types of debts accumulated, length of the debts, repayment history and inquiries among others, and is summarised by way of credit rating.
To check your credit rating you can log onto the websites of these institutions and create a profile.. One of the benefits of the internet is that it has become much easier to monitor one’s behaviour. If there are any mistakes that have been made, you can find them sooner and alert the relevant authorities.
Your credit rating as an entity is based on the above-mentioned factors, along with an assessment of mainly your repayment behaviour.
These ratings or scores range from 300 to 850. Each credit rating level comes with a certain amount of risk. So if your rating is below 620 you will be regarded as a high risk. This then has an effect on your applications because creditors will raise your interest rates. At this point you need to reflect and change your behaviour in order to improve your standing. It’s vital to remain aware about what your status is at all times because there have been cases of identity theft that has led to people having poor credit scores.
What you can do after you check your credit rating:
- Reducing the amount of debt you have
- Regularly paying your creditors
- Avoiding exhausting your credit facilities
- Not missing any payments
- Be prudent about monitoring it