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?

 

Are cash-strapped consumers affecting your business’s credit risk?

Know your customer by investing in an online credit check, consumer trace and ID verification tool

Know your customer by investing in an online credit check, consumer trace and ID verification tool

Whether you earn a salary, run a business or are in charge of risk management services for your company – you probably know that people are increasingly strapped for cash. Even though the dreaded January has passed (where people are usually a bit more broke than usual thanks to over-spending during the holiday season), it seems like many South Africans are still struggling to keep their heads above water. Why?

According to the latest TransUnion Consumer Credit Index (CCI), consumer credit health deteriorated at a slower pace in the fouth quarter of 2013 than in the previous four quarters, but it is still under pressure. This, coupled with rising food and petrol prices (as well as the hike in interest rates that was announced towards the end of January), means it’s not surprising that people are struggling to pay their bills.

“Unsecured loan approval rates have moderated, indicating that credit grantors are generally applying a more conservative approach to mitigate their risk and have, for now at least, been able to stabilise their loan defaults. Much will depend on whether overall economic growth and pressures in the job market stabilise in 2014, and this is far from certain at this point,” commented Transunion CEO, Geoff Miller.

In order to minimize your business’ financial risk, you need to know exactly who you’re dealing with before you process a transaction or extend a line of credit, explains Leon van der Merwe, Business Development Manager at local credit check company pbVerify.

Know your customer by investing in an online credit check, consumer trace and ID verification tool

“Fin24 recently reported that in aggregate, consumers haven’t been able to reduce their credit card utilisation since 2010. If your company relies on payments from South African consumers – which most do – it would be wise to invest in a fool-proof ID verification and online credit check tool so that your employees can make sure they are dealing with clients that would be able to honour their commitment of repaying any outstanding debt, fees or bills to your company,” explained van der Merwe.

pbVerify’s online credit check system allows you to know your customer by giving you 24.7 access to current Consumer and Business credit information. Whether you need to verify the identities of consumers, do background credit checks on consumers and/or businesses, verify company and director registration detail, verify VAT registrations, verify Deeds information on properties or need to do pre-employment and academic background verifications, pbVerify does it all. The best part is that pbVerify is one of the most cost-effective solutions in South Africa, giving you the option to only pay for what you use (as well as the ability to process bulk consumer traces).

You can also, follow us on Twitter and Like us on Facebook to stay updated with all the news and new solutions here at pbVerify.

Author: Google

How the deteriorating credit health affects South Africa’s retail sector

TransUnion’s Consumer Credit Index has declined to 43.6% in the second quarter of 2013 from 43.8% in the first quarter of the year. TransUnion, which is an international leader in credit and information management, says that this drop in the Consumer Credit Index (CCI) reflects a deteriorating consumer credit health. According to TransUnion, “Credit Health” refers to the ability of consumers to service existing credit obligations within the constraints of monthly household budgets.

retail“The fall in the CCI reflects escalating consumer loan impairments and sustained growth in distressed borrowing, both indicators of rising household financial stress,” explained TransUnion in a statement to the press.

What is the Consumer Credit Index?

The CCI is a unique indicator of consumer credit health based on a 100-point scale. Deterioration in credit health is represented by an index below 50.0 and an index above 50.0 indicates improving credit health.

“Consumer credit health has now been deteriorating for four straight quarters and the risk of deterioration in the credit cycle has risen materially,” commented TransUnion Africa President, Geoff Muller.

“Credit-sensitive retail sectors need to become increasingly vigilant to the risks this trend poses to their business,” said Muller.

How pbVerify can help

pbVerify, an innovative web service, is already helping many companies in the credit-sensitive retail sector. Our consumer tracing, credit check, ID verification and business credit check tools make it quick, affordable and easy to do the thorough research that is needed before taking on new clients.

“In a tough global economy, it becomes even more important for retailers to mitigate risks. A deteriorating consumer credit health – while not permanent – shows that companies need to be more vigilant with regards to issuing credit and making sure they’re on top of all consumer repayments,” says Leon van der Merwe, Business Development Manager and Anti-Fraud specialist at pbVerify.

If you want to find out how pbVerify can help your business mitigate risks, contact us today. We’ll give you a demonstration on how our system is helping hundreds of other South African businesses.

 

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Consumer Trace: 3 Easy steps to find customers that have defaulted

In South Africa today, virtually any business needs to implement a sound consumer tracing system to find consumers that have defaulted on payments. Not only is this necessary in order to minimize risk and losses, but also to ensure the growth and prosperity of your business.

The problem that many businesses – as well as professional tracing companies – have is that a single consumer trace can be an expensive, complex process. Not only do you need subscriptions to all the major credit check bureaus (such as Transunion and XDS) to find various bits and pieces of information, but these subscriptions can also become expensive if it’s not something that you use on a continuous, regular basis.

It is for this reason that pbVerify has launched a comprehensive South African consumer tracing system that combines all the information that you are looking for into one easy-to-use platform. Besides being able to get all the info you need in one place, it’s also more cost-effective (for small companies as well as professional tracers) because there’s no pricey monthly subscription – you simply pay for each  consumer trace search you do.

Here’s how to do a consumer trace in THREE EASY STEPS with pbVerify:

Consumer Trace Step 1:

Register an obligation-free account at pbVerify. This gives you access to all the main credit and consumer bureaus in South Africa. The membership is completely free and you will only be billed per transaction when you use our consumer tracing system.

Consumer Trace Step 2:

Enter any of the following data on hand to initiate the trace:

  • ID Number
  • Passport number
  • Surname, Initial and Date of Birth
  • Telephone number (historic or current); Land line      (work or other)
  • Mobile number (historic or current)

Consumer Trace Step 3:

The following information will pop up on your screen:

  • Identity      information: Verified Names, Surname and ID number
  • Address/es:      Current and previous Physical and Postal
  • Telephone:      Land line/s and Mobile number/s
  • Employment Information and contact details

It’s really as simple as that. One of the reasons why many small businesses and tracing companies have switched to the pbVerify system is because the information we provide current and accurate. Any time a customer opens an account, the details are updated so that you have instant access to the most recent details of your customers.

Sign up for FREE and check out our consumer trace reports to see how quick and easy our consumer tracing system system works!

CREDIT CHECK

BE A SME, BUT THINK LIKE A CORPORATE

How a SME business can manage CREDIT RISK like a Corporate

Credit Check is an extremely helpful tool that allows businesses across South Africa to find out exactly what they are financially getting involved with before entering into any type of credit agreement. You don’t want to end up chasing around your debtors; the Consumer credit check system saves you time and money by preventing you from getting involved with individuals and the Business credit check with companies that have a history of defaulting on payments. It is your right to demand financial transparency whether it’s in relation to an individual credit check or a business credit check and it’s recommended to review all the information you can find before entering into any agreements or deals.

The Credit Check systems are designed with you in mind, as more and more businesses fall victim to scams and scam artists every year. In order to protect yourself and your financial well-being, it’s necessary to know the complete financial history of whomever you are doing business with. In the past it was easier for scam artists to cleverly erase or cover up their dodgy financial history, but with online credit check systems, businesses can be proactive in protecting themselves by ensuring they aren’t dealing with financially irresponsible parties.

How Credit check systems works

Start by digging into the individual or businesses’ financial background reports. Credit bureau data from TRANSUNION, XDS and EXPERIEN combined with data from CIPRO, SARS and the DEEDS OFFICE will prove to be very useful in uncovering any financial defaults and fraudulent information on credit applications and contracts. With these reports you will have access to business registrar and consumer identification information, which you should compare to the potential client’s credit application information to be sure that all the information matches up. You will also be able to see directors details, history, trade and bank history, business default information, listings and judgements containing all information recorded against that business or consumer.

Once you have all the necessary records in your possession and you’ve read and understood the information, you’ll be able to make an informed decision regarding how to move forward. Being proactive and protecting yourself and your business is the best way to defend against a likely defaulter.

For one the most comprehensive online SME Credit Check solutions in South Africa, visit www.PBVerify.co.za

Pitney Bowes SA launches pbVerify

On the 1st January 2013, Pitney Bowes SA launched pbVerify – Online Credit, Trace and Deeds search services for small to medium sized enterprises (SME) on www.pbverify.co.za

pbVerify is a web-based system that was also designed to cater for Pitney Bowes’ pbSecure anti-fraud document security solution and is extremely feature-rich, providing businesses with instant access to various Credit check, Consumer trace and registrar information. The system was originally designed as an online credit vetting tool for businesses to do background credit checks and analysis of their debtors and prospective credit clients. Today the system features so much more, with added functionalities that include:

  • Business registration verification through CIPRO
  • Business Director verification through CIPRO
  • Business VAT number verification through SARS
  • Consumer ID verification through Home Affairs
  • Deeds Search (seven different types)

The system offers credit bureau reports from three of South Africa’s largest credit bureaus, namely:

The credit bureau searches include:

  • ID Verification
  • Consumer Trace
  • Consumer Credit Check
  • Business Credit Check

pbVerify also boast with one of the most comprehensive Consumer Trace systems on the South African market, used by tracing agents and businesses to locate Consumers and Directors whom have defaulted.

Part of the pbVerify offering also includes an Application Programming Interface (API) access to ID verification data on the Pitney Bowes Information System (PBIS) SOAP server that can integrate with any application. This allows system integrators instant live access to XML ID verification data.

For more information on pbVerify or pbSecure, please contact Leon van der Merwe, Senior Solutions Consultant at Pitney Bowes South Africa on 011 516 9400