pbVerify launches new business report

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business credit reportSA’s leading data bureau has added a new B2B product to its extensive suite of credit risk management products.

SA’s leading data bureau, pbVerify, has just launched a new product to complement its existing B2B suite – the XDS Business Credit Report.

The new product will furnish businesses looking to draw business credit reports with instant insight into the existing status of any company that is registered with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC).

XDS is one of South Africa’s leading credit bureaus and, while pbverify has been an XDS partner for many years and offered a range of consumer verification products, the new XDS report is the first business product to be launched on the pbVerify website.

A comprehensive overview and statement of the credit status of any company being researched for credit worthiness, the XDS Business Credit Report is competitively priced and offers all the information (on both the company and its directors) a business requires to make sound commercial decisions.

The information offered in the XDS Business Credit Report also helps businesses prevent fraud by exposing whether any prior legal action has been taken against the company in question. It also gives businesses assurance that the Business and Principal information the company in question has provided, is 100% legitimate.

Below is just some of the information businesses can expect to garner from pbVerify’s new Business Credit Report from XDS:

  • Company CIPC status and information
  • Commercial credit score (with indicator)
  • Auditor information
  • Active director information
  • Business contact information
  • Business banking details
  • Bank Code history information
  • Commercial adverse information (judgements, defaults, etc)

Note: When drawing a business credit report, consent will always be required in terms of the National Credit Act (NCA) and its Prescribed Purposes. Read more about this here.

Get through winter with a quality air purifier

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Don’t let the ailments associated with the season get the better of you – create pure indoor air, breathe freely and enjoy good health this winter.

The sudden icy temperatures over the past week are proof that winter is well and truly upon us and, while many may associate allergies with the summer months, the truth is that winter is a breeding ground for the particles and germs responsible for poor health during this time.

Studies have shown that most people spend as much as 90% of their time indoors in winter – if not more – and, with the cold season being the time dusty winter coats and blankets are brought out, and long-dormant heating devices powered up, indoor air quality hits an annual low.

On top of this, the chances of transmission of common winter ailments rise steeply, due to the bacteria and viruses that cause them densely populating indoor air.

In fact, if we had to really grasp the extent of allergens, particles, germs and irritants that circulate through our indoor air during the winter months, we would probably wonder how it is that we can breathe at all.

The good news is, using a high-quality air purifier can reduce – and even completely eradicate – winter allergy symptoms and significantly reduce your susceptibility for catching a cold or getting the flu.

pbOffice (a division of PBSA) offers a range of top-quality air purifiers by IDEAL, which feature all the vital components needed to turn contaminated indoor air into pure, healthy and allergen-free air – including HEPA filters and intelligent air quality sensors.

Our devices work on a six-stage AEON Blue air purification system, which filters almost 100% of the smallest particles and pathogenic germs from the polluted air before they reach your airway. Additionally, the clean air is enriched with negative ions – oxygen atoms that are charged with an extra electron (as found in nature) and are proven to have significant health benefits.

With pbOffice’s air purification solutions, you can safely say goodbye to indoor air pollutants like viruses and bacteria, pollen, animal hair, chemical fumes, dust, odours, tobacco smoke and aerosol fumes.

This winter, don’t succumb – invest in and enjoy a quality air purifier for your home and office and say goodbye to the “sick season” blues.

[REFERENCES]  

Wikipedia – HEPA

Web MD – Negative Ions Create Positive Vibes

Consumer credit checks and the NCA

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Consumer credit checks

Businesses need to provide reasons for drawing consumer credit reports, in terms of the National Credit Act. 

If you are a credit provider of any kind, it is inevitable that you will frequently have to dig into the financial history of potential debtors.

pbVerify offers a range of Business to Consumer (B2C) credit check services*, which help businesses make better business credit decisions when assessing new debtors. As SA’s leading data bureau, we know that the better the information you have on your potential customers, the better your decisions will ultimately be.

At the same time, you need to be aware that the rights of the credit-seeking consumer are clearly enshrined in legislation, in particular the National Credit Act (NCA) No. 34 of 2005, and the onus is on you to make sure you comply.

Yes, as a credit grantor following good business practice, you have the basis for an enquiry into a potential debtor’s financial history (i.e. via a credit report) – but a consumer’s credit report is confidential and may not be accessed without legal grounds, or the consumer’s explicit permission.

These “legal grounds” are laid out in the NCA, in the form of prescribed purposes (the Act requires that you specify the reason you are drawing a credit report).

In this article, we will outline the rationale behind the NCA, and list some of the prescribed purposes it incorporates.

The purpose of the NCA

South Africa’s population consists mainly of lower LSM (Living Standards Measure) individuals with limited to no access to credit channels.

According to the Banking Association of South Africa, the complex nature of credit agreements has left many of the country’s consumers vulnerable and often exploited by credit providers.

“This led to the establishment of the NCA [which includes] mechanisms to protect consumers against unscrupulous lending and over-indebtedness.”

The NCA seeks to “promote and advance the social and economic welfare of South Africans, promote a fair, transparent, competitive, sustainable, responsible, efficient, effective and accessible credit market and industry, and to protect consumers.”

The association lists credit providers as banks, micro-lenders, retailers (e.g. furniture and clothing stores) and “all businesses, companies, close corporations, partnerships and individuals who do business on credit, provide loans or charge interest on overdue accounts; and who offer credit within the prescribed threshold values in terms of the [NCA] Act”.

Consumers, says the association, include both individuals (natural persons) and “certain juristic persons [e.g. companies, close corporations, trusts (with more than three individual trustees), partnerships and an association of persons] whose asset value or annual turnover, together with the combined asset value or annual turnover of all related juristic persons, at the time the agreement is made, equals or exceeds the threshold value of R1 million”.

Prescribed purposes

A credit bureau may issue you with a consumer’s credit report in terms of the NCA, under a number of prescribed purposes – including, but not limited to:

  • Account Management
  • Affordability Assessment
  • Alternative dispute resolution
  • Book Assessment
  • Consumer Enquiry
  • Credit Assessment
  • Credit Limit
  • Credit Ombud Enquiry
  • Tracing (non-credit provider
  • Debt Review
  • Education / Employment
  • Employment
  • Fraud Investigation
  • Fraud Prevention
  • Insurance Application
  • Marketing Services
  • Other Legislation
  • On consumer instruction/consent
  • Score Development
  • Tracing
  • Unclaimed Funds

The above are abbreviated descriptions. For the full description, explanation and NCA references, click HERE.

pbVerify’s B2C credit check suite and is available after registration to any business that grants credit to other businesses or consumers.

 

*pbVerify’s Consumer Credit Check services include the Transunion ITC Credit Check; Compuscan Credit Check; Experian Credit Check; XDS Credit Check; pbVerify Credit Check; and our recently added Express Credit Score product (See related blog here).

 

REFERENCES

  1. National Credit Act 34 (2005)
  2. The Banking Association of South Africa website
  3. IOL – Who may see your credit report?
  4. pbVerify blog – Credit vetting: an essential key to SME success
  5. Compuscan’s “Prescribed purposes for access to consumer data” guide

Portfolios feature aids POPI, FICA compliance

doc dSignFlow’s secure multi-document portal, Portfolios, offers businesses a reliable means of complying with stringent regulations.

There are two well-known and much-publicised Acts that make South African businesses shudder in their shoes – the Financial Intelligence Centre Act (FICA) of 2001 and the Protection of Personal Information (POPI) Act of 2013.

The two pieces of legislation have much in common. To begin with, they both have to do with how your business deals with customer identification and verification processes, and how it stores and maintains customer and transactional records. Secondly, there are severe penalties associated with non-compliance – severe enough, in many cases, to cause irreparable reputational and financial damage.

Third of all – and this is the good news – SignFlow can help you comply with both. Our digital signature workflow solution offers you an efficient and sure-fire means of making sure your business processes and IT systems are up to scratch when it comes to compliance with both these Acts – so you need no longer shy away from the dreaded “F-word” and “P-word”.

Portfolios

FICA and POPI compliance largely comes down to how you transmit, maintain and store customer data and, while the sheer volume and variety of data may make the process seem very complicated, SignFlow’s Portfolios feature offers you a surprisingly simple means of tackling it.

A SignFlow Portfolio is basically a portal where you can accumulate multiple documents that have been through a workflow and signed, in combination with documents that are just uploaded and stored.

Because there is no email (which is inherently insecure) involved and all documents are uploaded through a secure, encrypted channel, to an online portal where they can only be accessed by the individuals authorised to access them, Portfolios is an invaluable tool to have in your arsenal when you are striving for FICA and/or POPI compliance.

Let’s take an insurance company, for example:

  • The company requires identification and proof of residence documents (documents required by FICA that both also have a bearing on POPI) from a client.
  • That same client needs to sign a contract, which contains personal and financial information, and send it back to the company.
  • SignFlow Portfolios enables you and your client to upload and share documents (both signed and unsigned) via an encrypted portal.
  • There is no emailing, printing or scanning of documents involved at any stage.
  • All your client’s information is kept neatly in one designated, easy-to-access and searchable databank.

Given that the implementation date for the POPI Act is expected to be set this year – and in light of the FICA failures* we have seen in the past, you are under more pressure than ever before to make sure your business complies. Contact SignFlow today for more information on how we can ease the pressure and give you total peace of mind.

* In April 2014, the South African Reserve Bank fined the country’s four largest banks R125 million collectively for failing to comply with FICA. (www.sanews.gov.za)

Who says nothing in life is free?


bunny DSignFlow is giving all new and existing SignFree users three FREE workflows.

When we created SignFree, the only digital signature platform worldwide with a totally free, fully functional interface that doesn’t expire, we told you it was free – and always would be. Great news, right? Well, it just got better.

Stepping it up a notch, SignFlow is now giving all SignFree clients – new and existing – three free (that’s free, not “free”) workflows.

What’s the catch, you may ask? There isn’t one. Simply sign up as a SignFree user – either by registering on the website or receiving a document to sign from another user – and you get a free passport to our digital world of efficiency.

And if you are already a SignFree user, you don’t need to do a thing – three free workflows are yours. You’re welcome.

Essentially, we are giving SignFree users a fully-fledged SignFlow with Workflow account, limited to three workflows (effective as of 1 March 2017).

Interested? You can register right now, right here.

Benefits & features

Now that you have this awesome digital signature solution securely in your grasp, you probably want to know what you can do with it.

First of all, you can sign as many documents as you want and store up to 50 in the SignFlow cloud. So you can upload documents requiring your signature, sign them in SignFlow and send them on to the relevant person through the system – no email tennis, no printing, no scanning, no time wasting.

With your new workflow account, you can also bring a document in to SignFlow and send it out to as many people as you want to sign your document. A workflow can comprise of any number of signers and/or approvers.

As a SignFlow user, you have your own Dashboard and Profile setup, which is full of functionality and easy to navigate. This includes, among other handy items, a suite of Microsoft plug-ins to make your SignFlow experience even more seamless.

Then, of course, there are all the cool customisable features that come with having a SignFlow account – like the option to either free-hand draw your signature, or choose one from a variety of fonts, as in the images below.

Choose font signatureDraw signature

In a nutshell, SignFlow is a digital signature workflow manager fully digitises (and enhances) any process that requires a document to be signed or approved. When it comes to our SignFree with Workflow solution, compared to others out there, you will find more functionality, more documents, more security, stronger compliance and a superior customer experience.

We could go on for pages about all the things you can do with your SignFlow account and free workflows, but figure it would be more fun for you to explore your newfound digital signature capabilities yourself. To learn more about the world of options SignFlow opens up, visit our Features and Benefits page, here.

Finally, all that’s left to say is, “Enjoy!” If you like the system and want to keep on workflowing – why not sign up for a SignFree with Workflow account? It’s easy, affordable and sure to become so indispensable a tool, you’ll wonder how you ever got along without it.

SignFlow enables Group Signing for mandate registers

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group meeting eOur leading digital signature technology is further diversified with the addition of a feature enabling mandated group signing.

Our digital signature solution has just become more powerful with the addition of Group Signing – a parallel workflow feature for mandate registers.

The SignFlow team has been hard at work, as always, advancing what is already a world-class digital signing and workflow solution, to give our users a top-notch experience, with everything they need to do business at their fingertips.

The latest addition to the SignFlow set of business tools, Group Signing, is a valuable and efficient tool for companies with mandate registers (people in an organisation that are authorised to sign off certain key documents).

Unlike a sequential workflow, in which a document in need of a signature/signatures is distributed to a number of people, one after the next, Group Signing is a parallel workflow feature – meaning a number of people will receive a document at the same time.

Characteristically SignFlow, this new feature is completely user-friendly and the process quick and painless.

Let’s take facility letters sent out by banks to illustrate the process. There may be ten directors that have signed a mandate authorising them to sign annual facility letters, but the bank only requires signatures from two directors. The bank would then set up a group called “Company Directors”, for instance, and load all ten directors as signers. The document is prepared with two signature fields and sent to all directors simultaneously. As soon as any two of the ten have signed, quorum is reached and the workflow is complete (or, depending on how it is set up, it may continue to completion).

What makes SignFlow’s Group Signing feature unique, is the fact that it allows a combination of sequential and parallel workflow – also known as Advanced Routing – which lets users combine individual signers and group sign-offs, in a single workflow configuration.

The addition of Group Signing follows two other game-changing features that were built into the SignFlow application recently, namely Face-to-face Signing and Geolocation.

Want financial freedom? Know your credit status

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have-you-pulled-your-credit-report-yetDespite the country’s robust credit information industry, most South Africans do not know what their credit profile actually looks like.

It’s an all-too-common scene: you apply for an account at a retail store, and are taken aback when your application is declined on the grounds of bad credit. As far as you know, you’re the poster child for sound financial management – so what went wrong? Most likely, “as far as you know” is not far enough.

Sadly, even though South Africa has an incredibly strong credit information industry, many citizens are in the dark when it comes to what their credit profile actually looks like.

Earlier this month, local news site News24 cited African Bank executive Alfred Ramosedi as saying that many South Africans were “surprisingly unaware of the importance of a good credit profile”. What’s more, he said, many didn’t even know what a credit profile was – and in instances where they did know, they rarely checked their own personal credit profile.

And yet, the importance of managing your credit status – a task that begins with knowing your credit status – cannot be downplayed in today’s volatile economic climate. As Ramosedi rightly points out, many potential employers nowadays look at job applicants’ credit reports as a means of judging character and level of responsibility.

South Africa’s leading property website, Property24, lists bad credit records as the number one reason banks reject home loan applications, while car finance giant Carfin says the first thing you need to do if you’ve been declined for finance is “Find out why” – i.e. check your credit report. Step number two, says Carfin, is to improve your credit score.

No excuse

 The Credit Bureau Association points out that every single credit-active person in South Africa has a credit profile that shows how they manage their debts and accounts.

Fortunately, if you are a South African who wants to do the smart thing and familiarise yourself with your credit profile, you don’t have to climb any mountains to do so. On the contrary, our country’s credit information industry makes the process next to effortless for you. So much so, that there is really no excuse for not knowing your credit status.

On a scale of 0 to 8, South Africa ranks 7 on the World Bank’s Depth of Credit Information Index – a measure of the availability of credit information, where 8 is the highest level attainable by any country.

Additionally, according to the National Credit Act, every consumer has the right to one free credit report once in a 12-month period from the country’s main credit bureaus, namely TransUnion (formerly ITC), Experian, XDS and Compuscan.

A credit report is basically a comprehensive statement outlining your financial history and standing. It comprises information on your spending and borrowing patterns, how well you meet your financial obligations, general spending and payment trends and contact details. It also lists any judgment you may have against you, as well as any money owed to creditors.

MYpbVerify* – the most versatile personal credit check service on the Net – offers you this and more. The tool not only gives you instant online access to your personal credit report, it also allows you to customise your report with variable information.

MYpbVerify offers various pricing options to suit your needs. Depending on your status and credit history, you can choose either a Basic credit report, or a more advanced (Standard or Premium) report. The latter option includes directorship information, deeds data (properties owned), your personal Compuscan credit rating score and more.

This year, do yourself a great favour – get to know your credit status and start building a good credit profile today. Not only will you never have to fret about being turned down when applying for credit again, you will also be able to take advantage of the better repayment  terms that come with having a strong credit report.

*MYpbVerify™ is an online credit check system designed for consumers in need of quality personal credit check reports. The product offers three different credit reports, all instantly sent via email in PDF format once an order is completed. 

[REFERENCES]        

News24 – Ways to take control of credit

The Credit Bureau Association – http://www.cba.co.za/

The World Bank – Depth of Credit Information Index

Property24 – Why banks reject your home loan

Carfin – Have you been declined for vehicle finance?