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Fact and Myth: What Credit Bureaus do for You

A credit report is your first stop if you want to get on top of your finances.

Sharon Coppola, a senior executive for risk and compliance at Experian South Africa, said it’s a good idea to regularly check your credit report to find your credit score.

“They provide people with a good indication of their financial health and where they can improve, while assuring them that their credit information is accurate.”
Finial Status 

There are a number of myths that seem to be standing in the way of people checking on their financial health, according to Coppola.

- Myth: Credit reports can only be accessed by credit providers

- Fact: Anyone can access their own credit report – and it’s for free – once a year.

Your credit report gives you the power to manage, protect and improve your personal credit information. It also shows information that a lender will see when you apply for new credit. For a free credit report, contact Experian’s consumer helpdesk on 0861 105 665.

- Myth: You cannot challenge information reflected on your credit report

- Fact: The National Credit Act allows people to challenge the information contained in their credit report.

Once your identity has been successfully verified, the dispute process starts. The credit bureau requires the source of the information to verify the accuracy. Credit bureaus have 20 business days to investigate and resolve information that has been challenged. To initiate a dispute, contact 0861 105 665 or email consumer@experian.co.za.

If you are not satisfied with the outcome of the dispute, contact the credit ombud on 0861 662 837 for more information.

- Myth: Credit bureaus decide whether to give you credit or not.

- Fact: Credit bureaus only record people’s repayment trends and creditworthiness – NOT who gets credit and who doesn’t.

- Myth: Credit bureaus can blacklist me.

- Fact: Credit bureaus do not blacklist. Instead they are like a library: they receive, organise and maintain information, and issue credit reports based on that information. They may only provide information about your credit history. They do NOT comment on or decide if you are should get the credit you apply for or not.

- Myth: Someone can fix your bad credit report for you

- Fact: There is nothing that a “credit repair” company can do for you that you can’t do yourself – and no one can remove accurate information from your credit report. - Daily Sun

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