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?