Despite rising interest rates and the rising cost of living, the National Credit Regulator (NCR) encourages consumers, especially young people who have already signed credit agreements, to consistently pay their monthly bills on time. and in full in order to maintain a good credit bureau record.
Young people are also encouraged to check their credit bureau reports regularly.
Checking credit bureau reports allows consumers to spot any incorrect information and/or fraudulent transactions, giving them the opportunity to remedy the situation.
Knowing what is contained in one’s credit report gives consumers the opportunity to improve their credit reports.
All consumer credit information held by the credit bureaus must be accurate. Incorrect credit information can harm a consumer’s chances of obtaining credit or employment when a company is considering a candidate for employment in a position that requires honesty in handling money or finances.
Therefore, it is very important to dispute incorrect information before it negatively affects you.
Under national credit law, every consumer has the right to challenge the accuracy of their information held by the credit bureaus free of charge. If a consumer has disputed the accuracy of the information, the credit bureaus should take reasonable steps to seek evidence supporting the disputed information.
The credit bureaus have 20 business days to do this. If the credit grantor and/or service provider fails to prove enrollment within 20 business days, the credit bureau must remove the disputed information from the consumer’s credit profile.
It is very important for consumers to know that inaccurate credit information will remain on the consumer’s credit profile, until it is corrected or until the end of its retention period.
A retention period refers to the length of time a credit reporting agency may keep a consumer’s information on their credit file. However, consumers should not waste time disputing accurate credit information, knowing full well that they have skipped payments or overdrawn the account.
Consumers are entitled to a free credit report once a year, in accordance with the national credit law.
The National Credit Regulator would like to see more consumers request their credit reports from the credit bureaus, as currently the number of those requesting their credit reports is low. According to the NCR Credit Bureau Monitor, at the end of December 2021, credit bureaus had records of 26.38 million active credit consumers. Of this total, only 648,280 credit reports were issued. Of this total, 35,919 consumers disputed the accuracy of the information held by the credit bureaus. Other disputes have been resolved in favor of the plaintiffs.
To clarify a persistent perception, credit bureaus do not decide whether or not to extend credit to consumers.
Credit bureaus are organizations that specialize in creating consumer credit profiles based on information received from a person who provides goods, services or utilities to consumers, whether in cash or on credit , a state body, a court, a judicial officer and a person providing long-term services. or short-term insurance. They keep valuable information about recent and past consumer accounts, payment history, defaults, judgments, follow-up alerts, collections, and inquiries.
Often, consumers ask how long their information will be reflected in the credit bureaus. It is important to note that under national credit law, there are different retention periods for consumer credit information held by credit bureaus.
Below is a table of the different retention periods:
|Category||The description||Time kept|
|1.||Complaint details and results||Number and nature of complaints lodged and whether a complaint was dismissed; no information will be displayed on the complaints that have been retained
Note: WinCredit does not display this information
|2.||Requests||Number of requests made on a consumer’s file, including the name of the entity/person who made the request and a contact person if available||1 year|
|3.||Payment Profile||Factual information about the consumer’s payment profile
Note: WinCredit does not display this information
|4.||Unfavorable qualification of enforcement measures||Classification related to enforcement actions taken by a credit grantor||1 year or within the period prescribed in section 71A|
|5.||Unfavorable classification of consumer behavior||Subjective classification of consumer behavior||1 year or within the period prescribed in section 71A|
|6.||Debt restructuring||Pursuant to section 86 of the Act, an order made by the court or tribunal||Within the time prescribed in subsection 71(1) of the Act or until a clearance certificate is issued|
|seven.||Civil court judgments||Civil court judgments, including default judgments||At the earlier of 5 years or until the judgment is quashed by a court or waived by the credit provider under section 86 of the Magistrates’ Court Act 32 of 1944 or within the time prescribed in Section 71A of the Act|
|8.||Judgments in maintenance matters within the meaning of the Maintenance Law||According to the judgment of the court||Until the judgment is overturned by a court|
|9.||Sequestration||According to court order||5 years or until rehabilitation order is granted|
|ten.||Rehabilitation||According to court order||5 years|
|11.||Administrative order||According to court order||5 years or until the order is overturned by a court|
|12||Liquidation||–||Deleted – delete|
|13.||Other information||–||Deleted – delete|
Young people are especially advised to maintain a good credit report, as this shows credit/service providers that you are making payments in accordance with your credit agreements, portraying you as trustworthy to potential credit/service providers and employers.
Below is the credit bureau and other important contact information:
Poppy Kweyama is responsible for the education and communication department of the NCR