Credit bureaus and NCR join forces to educate consumers


To educate consumers about their credit information, credit statuses and credit scores, the National Credit Regulator (NCR) in partnership with the Credit Bureau Association (CBA) and credit bureaus, is urging consumers to know their credit statuses by accessing their annual free credit report.

This partnership has resulted in the “Know Your Credit Status” campaign which kicked off on Tuesday 20 October at Greenstone Mall, Johannesburg. The week-long event will offer consumers the opportunity to engage directly with bureau staff in order to access their free credit reports. Compuscan, who will be joining the other major bureaus, will be issuing free credit reports to consumers via their online portal, www.mycreditcheck.co.za.

In a statement released by the NCR on Monday, Mpho Ramapala, Manager: Education and Communication, expressed concern over the amount of credit reports issued to consumers in the last year. Statistics (for the quarter ended June 2015) show that out of 23.37 million credit active consumers, over 157 000 credit reports were issued to consumers at their request. Since the same quarter last year, the NCR has seen a 25.4% decrease in reports issued, a clear indication that many South African consumers still don’t know their credit status.

Echoing the objectives of the “Know Your Credit Status” campaign, Ramapala reminded consumers that under the National Credit Act (NCA), they are entitled to one free credit report from one of the 14 registered credit bureaus per year. “Should a consumer require an additional copy of his or her credit report within the same year, there will be a fee that credit bureaus will charge,” she confirmed.

Why you should know your credit status

Irrespective of whether a consumer pays their account regularly or not, credit bureaus hold both positive and negative information reflecting their behaviour. This data is submitted to the registered bureaus by credit and service providers and could include positive information, such as consumers paying their accounts on time or negative information, for example when a consumer has fallen behind or defaulted on payments.

Executive Manager at the CBA, Jeannine Naudé Viljoen, explained that the purpose of listing information collectively at the credit bureaus is to create a comprehensive view of the consumer for both prospective and existing credit and service providers. “This will assist them in evaluating new credit or account applications, and also to assist in the management of their relationships with their customers,” she said.

The “Know Your Credit Status” campaign aims to educate consumers about their right to access and challenge information on their credit records if they believe that it is not accurate.

Get your credit report online. Simply visit www.mycreditcheck.co.za

“When challenging the credit bureau record, the consumer needs to contact the credit bureau that issued the credit report. The credit bureau has 20 business days to investigate the matter,” says Ramapala.

If the consumer is not satisfied with the outcome from the credit bureau investigation or they do not have an answer after waiting for 20 business days for the bureau to assist them, they should escalate the matter to the Credit Ombud’s office where they will receive assistance free of charge. However, consumers need to have a reference number from the credit bureau first.