What is a Credit Bureau?


A Credit bureau is an organisation that keeps a record of your credit information. Your credit record shows how you manage your debts and is used by credit providers and moneylenders to decide if you can afford to borrow money or pay back a new loan.

The National Credit Act says each credit bureau must be registered with the National Credit Regulator – who decides how your credit information can be used and who can see your credit record.

What is the role of a Credit Bureau?

When you take out your first loan with a credit provider, you have to fill in a form that asks for consumer credit information – including your credit history, financial history, education, employment and identity details.

This information, and the details of the loan, is given to a credit bureau that then puts together credit report.

What are the responsibilities of a Credit Bureau?

  • To file information on your credit record after the fee is paid by the credit provider
  • To make sure the information is correct and not to keep inaccurate information
  • To only keep information for the prescribed period and to a prescribed standard
  • To provide a report of the information ( a credit report), when required by credit providers or anyone else who has your permission
  • Not to charge for corrections or challenges to the information by you, the consumer
  • Not to make a negative judgement about you when they do not have any credit information

How can your credit information be used?

  • To decide whether or not you can afford credit
  • To investigate fraud, corruption or theft
  • To consider you for employment in a position that requires trust, honesty and the handling of cash or finances

What are your rights regarding a Credit Bureau?

  • To be told that a credit provider intends to report negative information on you to a credit bureau 20 working days before they do so
  • To get a copy of your credit record from a credit bureau when you ask for it – you can get one free record each year but may be charged a small fee for further records
  • To challenge information kept by a credit bureau if you are unhappy with it
  • For your information to be kept confidential, and for it to be used only for the purposes that are allowed

How do you apply for your free Credit Record?

  • Contact the Credit Bureau and ask them to send you your credit record You will need to provide some personal information – such as your ID number and address

How do you correct your Credit Record?

  • If you disagree with your credit record, you must send in the corrections within 30 days. Thereafter you can get additional free copies of your record to check the corrections have been done. After this, you must pay a small fee for a copy
  • Contact the credit bureau and ask for a dispute form. They will send you the form and a reference number
  • Complete the forms and send them back to the bureau with a copy of your ID
  • Include proof of the information you want changed, such as a debt clearance certificate or statement of account
  • If they have kept a negative listing longer than they should have, insist they remove the record from their system. They have 20 working days to investigate the matter
  • Ask for another copy of your credit report to check that the changes have been made
  • If they are unhelpful, contact the Credit Bureau Association on 011-4477194 or email enquiries@cba.co.za OR the National Credit Regulator on 0860 627627 or email complaints@ncr.org.za

 

Permission to use this material has been granted by Black Sash

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