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Most of the content below was taken from a publication of the University of Pretoria Law Clinic 

A credit bureau provides credit providers with information on a consumer’s credit commitments and how consumers manage their Credit Report 2 credit commitments. With this information creditors/lenders will be able to make fair, informed, and responsible decisions before granting credit.

What does a consumer’s credit record consist of?

In terms of section 70 of the NCA consumer credit information consists of the following:

“70(1)(a) a person’s credit history, including applications for credit, credit agreements to which the person is or has been a party, pattern of payment or default under any such credit agreements, debt re-arrangement in terms of this Act, incidence of enforcement actions with respect to any such credit agreement, the circumstances of termination of any such credit agreement, and related matters.

(b) a person’s financial history, including the person’s past and current income, assets and debts, and other matters within the scope of that person’s financial means, prospects and obligations, as defined in section 78(3), and related matters.

(c) a person’s education, employment, career, professional or business history, including the circumstances of termination of any employment, career, professional or business relationship, and related matters; or

(d) a person’s identity, including the person’s name, date of birth, identity number, marital status and family relationships, past and current addresses and other contact details, and related matters.

 

How is a credit record compiled?

Upon application for credit, a consumer fills out a credit application form.

By signing the credit application form, the consumer:

  • gives the credit provider permission to pass the information completed on the application

form to the credit bureaus to store on their database;

consents to the information being shared with other credit providers;

  • agrees to the credit provider sending the credit bureaus regular updates on how the account is being conducted;
  • provides the credit provider with sufficient information about the account when deciding

whether to proceed with legal action in the event of non-payment.

A credit report is held which shows all the accounts that a consumer currently holds. The credit bureaus regularly update the consumer credit information as and when they receive it from credit providers.

 

The importance of a credit bureau report

a) Importance for the consumer

The consumer’s ability to obtain credit will be influenced by his/her credit bureau report. Negative information may influence interest rates charged against a credit agreement and may prevent the credit provider from granting credit.

Landlords also check credit bureau reports before entering into a lease agreement. Employers considering a candidate for employment in a position that requires honesty in dealing with cash or finances may also require a credit report for a prospective employee. The job description of the position must however clearly define this requirement and the prospective employee must consent to the credit check in terms of regulation 18(5).

b) Importance for the credit provider

When a consumer applies for credit, the credit providers will use the consumer’s credit report to assess the consumer’s payment behaviour. This will assist the credit provider in determining the risk involved in granting credit to the consumer.

 

Some of the uses of a credit report can include:

  • considering a candidate for employment in a position that requires trust and honesty and entails the handling of cash or finances.
  • assessing an application for insurance;
  • verifying educational qualifications and employment;
  • tracing of a consumer by a credit provider
  • developing of a credit scoring system

 

If you are under debt review it will be recorded on your credit report and it can negatively affect your future job applications and even prevent you from renting property.

Sample Credit Report: 

To view The Sample Credit Report click here