JOHANNESBURG – Good news for consumers is that African Bank is now offering unlimited access to their detailed credit report through an innovative partnership with TransUnion Credit Bureau.
George Roussos, group executive of digital and transactional banking at African Bank, says credit reports from the big four bureaus are limited to one free credit report per year or up to three months access with XDS. Access to the reports can be quite difficult, coupled with the fact that many South Africans are surprisingly unaware of the importance of a good credit score.
Roussos says one cannot under estimate the value of a good credit score. The role of the credit bureaus is to record each person’s credit history. Details on cellular contracts, insurance services, retail credit applications, secured and unsecured credit agreements, payment history and payment behaviour, as well as other consumer credit related information are all collated by the bureaus. “Your information – both positive and negative – is then given a score and stored by the bureaus. TransUnion, for example, uses a score from 0 to 999. The score bands used vary from credit bureau to credit bureau. They are used to determine the risk you potentially pose to credit providers,” says Roussos.
A high credit score means you’re more likely to qualify for credit, as well as more favourable interest rates. “Your credit score is essentially a personal asset and an investment in your future. It is used by credit providers to determine whether consumers should receive credit or not, in what amount and over what term. Most consumers are simply unaware of what their credit bureau scores are. When their credit applications are declined, it is most likely because there is an adverse score or negative report on their credit bureau profile,” explains Roussos.
If you default on payments or pay late, your credit profile is affected, which could make it much more difficult for your applications to be approved when you are trying to get ahead in life. “While adverse information is cleared as soon as your repayments are up to date, or the account is paid up, the negative repayment history or any judgements against you remain for years,” he says.