Check bureau records before seeking credit
THUMBS DOWN Many consumers find that their credit application has been turned down due to negative information from a credit bureau. “Of all our cases last year, 70% of consumers contacted the Credit Ombud office for assistance after their credit application was rejected due to a negative listing on their credit profile,” says Credit Ombud Manie van Schalkwyk. “To avoid disappointment it’s imperative for consumers to ensure the credit information held with credit bureaus is correct before applying for credit.” Most credit providers use credit bureau information when undertaking credit assessments. The credit profiles are used to determine interest rates and the terms of business. According to National Credit Regulator (NCR) statistics, a total of 199,26m inquiries were made on consumer credit records for the quarter ended March 2011, an increase of 12,8% on the previous quarter. This was an increase of nearly 60% against the previous year. “There was a marginal increase in the rejection rate of credit applications to nearly half of all applications — from 43,21% to 43,25% for the quarter ended March this year.” Van Schalkwyk says consumers are entitled to a free copy of their credit bureau record from any of the registered credit bureaux annually. “In addition consumers’ credit reports can be obtained from credit bureaux for a minimum R20 a copy of the report,” he says.