improve your credit score
out how to improve your credit record and increase
your credit score.
key credit must do:
single most important way of improving your credit
record is to pay your accounts on time. This is
because the most important information, other than
negative blacklistings, is the fact that you are
(hopefully) now paying your accounts on time. Each
month your payments get recorded in the Payment
Profile section of your credit record and provided
you have been paying your accounts on time for at
least six months, or preferably a year, you stand a
far better chance of being granted credit, and
improve your credit record.
Paying unpaid accounts (but be careful when doing
If you have `forgotten` to pay some old accounts
that are less than three years old you should pay
them and have the accounts reflect as paid, unless
they no longer appear on your credit record.
It is also no use paying an old account in the naive
hope that the negative listing will be automatically
removed. Unfortunately the law does not force
creditors to remove these negative blacklistings
once the account has been paid. It is important that
you obtain written confirmation from the creditor,
before you pay the account, that they will remove
the Adverse Information and not simply amend it. If
they will not remove it make sure they, at least,
agree to amend the listing to reflect the account
an Adverse Information listing which can be removed
or at least amended, a court judgment can only be
removed before the 5 year data retention period (see
below) if the court that actually granted the
judgment orders that it be "rescinded". Judgments
are very negative and should not be ignored, they
are given a higher weighting than other negative
listings because a magistrate or judge has held you
liable. It is therefore really important to have any
judgment rescinded as this will greatly improve your
credit score. In rare cases you may still get credit
despite a judgment reflecting on your credit record
but you will be playing into the credit providers
hands as they will feel justified in imposing a
higher interest rate.
not a simple thing to have a judgment rescinded. It
involves obtaining the original court papers, having
the application typed up and correctly served,
setting the application down for hearing, appearing
in court and answering any objections, obtaining and
processing the court order. That may not seem like
much but the "devil is in the detail".
While many people think of themselves as lawyers
they often find their inadequate knowledge of the
law results in long delays, frustration and
embarrasment. The famous American President Abraham
Lincoln said "He who represents himself has a fool
for a client." It makes sense to have an attorney
assist you as rescinding a judgment requires a court
how expensive is it? Law firms usually charge by the
hour but we charge a fixed amount, usually R1900
incl VAT, to have the judgment or blacklisting
rescinded and removed. It really isn't a lot
considering the amount of work involved. Given the
far larger saving you will make by qualifying for a
lower rate of interest, it makes sense to have a
reliable lawyer, who specialises in this field,
assist you. To find out what our clients have
written about us click here.
Yes, there are many other aspects to getting credit
cheaply (and you should read more about them below)
but if you want credit or are being asked to pay a
fortune for it, you should consult a specialist
consumer attorney and sort the problems out
efficiently before you get taken to the cleaners.
from the three key issues explained above it is
essential that you also take other action as part of
your strategy to save on interest.
First, by law you are only entitled to the credit
that you can afford. That means that should you have
an existing credit facility that you do not use,
such as an Edgars store card, this should be closed
as the credit provider must take this facility into
account when determining whether you can afford
further credit. In other words, close those accounts
you do not use.
Second, some types of credit such as credit cards or
personal loans are revolving, in other words the
account gets paid but quickly goes back into credit.
In their nature these accounts reflect poorly on you
as they imply that you are in regular need of
credit. If possible, you should close these types of
Third, try to avoid debt spiral behaviour. In other
words, do not borrow to pay your instalments on
other credit facilities. Likewise, you should try to
pay more than the minimum instalment amount on each
credit facility as this indicates that you have
disposable income. Lastly, avoid expensive debt,
such as short term (30 day) loans.
Fourth, whenever you apply for credit an "enquiry"
is added to your credit record. This is fine if it
is done seldom, but if you make several enquiries
for credit you will seem desperate and this will
also reflect the possibility that you have already
been declined credit. It is therefore best to rather
clear your credit record of negative information and
then apply to as many creditors as possible on the
same day. That way they are unlikely to pick up the
enquiries immediately as the enquiry data usually
takes a couple of days to reflect on your credit
Fifth, if you apply for credit when you have "maxed
out" all your credit facilities you will also run
the risk of the application being declined or the
interest rate being "loaded" (made higher), so
ideally, try to apply for credit when you have paid
down your existing credit facilities.
Sixth, the fewer different credit facilities you
have the better. You do not need to consolidate all
your credit but you should aim to reduce your
"lines" of credit, as the fewer you have the better.
Seventh, if you are applying for credit with your
spouse (or even someone else standing as
surety/security), you should also ensure they have
fixed their credit record and gone through all of
the above tips and done their best to add to the
good impression you are trying to create.
Those are the keys tips to ensuring you get credit
and get it as cheaply as possible.
term blacklisted is the colloquial term used to
describe people or companies who have a bad credit
profile, otherwise known as a credit record. While
everyone understands the term `blacklisted` there is
actually no `blacklist`.
easy to find out, all you need do is get your credit
record, from South Africaís two largest consumer
credit bureaus, TransUnion Credit Bureau (Pty) Ltd
and Experian Ltd. You need to get your credit record
from both of these credit bureaus as they have
different business subscribers and usually have
different, but overlapping, credit data for every
user of credit.
Blacklisted: the full picture
illustrate, you may find that an adverse listing
such as a "Bad payer" or "Slow Payer" default by
e.g. Appliance City only appears on your Experian
credit record and a magistrates court judgement by
e.g. Standard Bank only appears on your TransUnion
credit record. So, to be on the safe side, get your
credit record from both credit bureaus, either by
applying directly to each credit bureau in turn
at an issue being blacklisted?
blacklisted is horrible. It is extremely difficult
to get any kind of finance if you have a poor credit
record. Even when you get finance the rate of
interest charged is usually far higher than it would
otherwise be. Basically your financial reputation is
negatively affected by any adverse listings and
unless they are removed you are treated like a
of negative blacklistings
type of listings on your credit record are broken
down into four major categories: Payment Profile;
Adverse Information (previously called Defaults);
Judgments; and Notices. These listings are also
generally known as negative or adverse listings and,
depending on the type of listing, you will either
not qualify for credit at all (where for example you
have a Notice on your credit record) or have to pay
much more (by way of interest, an upfront deposit,
increased security or loaded settlement terms). So,
it is best to try to have as many of these adverse
listings removed as possible.
bad is each listing type?
worst listings are without doubt Notices. If you
have been placed under debt counselling or
administration or been sequestrated you will not get
credit, full stop. You can apply to court to have
the situation corrected. Unless any Notice is
removed you cannot get credit because the credit
provider is acting illegally in lending you money.
Judgments are the next most serious type of listing.
They are highly likely to stop you getting credit.
In rare cases you may still get credit despite
having had a judgment granted against you. You will
just pay far more for it. Much depends on the amount
of the judgment, how long ago judgment was granted,
what other listings you have and whether your
payments over the last two years have been on time
or were frequently missed or delayed. Fortunately
getting a judgment removed is relatively easy - you
still need to go to court but the process is less
Adverse Information can stop you getting credit but
in most cases it will impact the cost of credit more
than your ability to get credit. Again, much depends
on whether it was a recent listing and whether the
account remains unpaid. Generally this type of
listing can be removed on instruction by the
creditor (but often the creditor will refuse to do
so unless they receive a detailed motivation). At
the very least it is important to have the listing
amended to reflect that the account was paid.
Payment Profile information changes monthly as the
payments made or alternatively missed during that
month get noted on your credit record. The most
recent data gets added while the oldest data gets
deleted. It is far less serious than the other types
of listing but like the other types of listing, if
you have a very poor payment profile during the last
six to twelve months you will either not get credit
or find the cost of credit far higher.
most consumers and/or debtors are unaware of is that
all types of credit data are subject to strict
maximum data retention periods. These data retention
periods are as follows:
Notice of Sequestration - 10 years
Notice of Rehabilitation - 5 years
Notice of Debt Counselling (after termination of
Debt Counselling) - removed immediately
Notice of Administration (after lapsing or
rescission) - removed immediately
Notice of Administration (if current, i.e. not
lapsed or rescinded) - 10 years
Civil court judgments (High Court or Magistrates
Court) - 5 years
Adverse Information - 1 or 2 years (depending on
Enquiries by Credit Providers or Subscribers - 2
Removing blacklisted data before the data retention
these listings stay on for what seems an eternity
and sometimes it is impossible to wait for these
listings to fall off. It is possible to have most of
these listings removed before the data retention
For starters, court judgments can be rescinded by
the court that granted the judgment. Once rescinded,
the credit bureaus must remove the judgment listing,
this is because the court has made the judgment
Adverse Information can also be removed on
instruction by the creditor. While members of the
Credit Providers Association will only remove the
adverse information in limited circumstances, most
other creditors will do so following payment of the
Administration, Debt Counselling and Sequestration
notices can also be removed following application to
can help me fix my credit record?
repair is the general term used to describe the
removal of negative listings from your credit
record. While many companies advertise that they are
able to remove negative listings, they often promise
more than they can deliver.
It is also important to remember that in terms of
South African law (Notice 169 issued under the
Harmful Business Practices Act), you should only pay
an attorney upfront to help you in this regard.
Credit repair agencies other than practising
attorneys are not permitted to collect an upfront
fee, because they often fail to perform the
advertised credit repair services.
It is always better to approach a registered firm of
attorneys, which charges a fixed fee to rescind
court judgements or negotiate the amendment or
removal of Adverse Information.
Beware of paying upfront fees to problematic credit
repair agencies such as Credit Clear or Credit Fix -
not only do you stand to lose your money without
anything being done, but you will have acted as an
accessory in helping the credit repair agency break
credit repair discouraged by Banks and other credit
Bank can charge you more interest because you have a
poor credit record it will have an easy excuse to do
so. It is obviously not in their best interests to
help you qualify to pay less. That is the main
reason why they discourage you taking action to
improve your credit record.
In addition, when a Bank or any other credit
provider adds a negative listing to your credit
record they limit your ability to get credit
elsewhere - this allows them to hold you hostage so
that you have to take up their credit facilities
rather than one of their competitors. Standard Bank,
Capitec and some other creditors go so far as to
withhold consent to the rescission of a judgment -
to make it harder to have the judgment rescinded.
While Banks and credit providers often play down the
importance of credit repair, everyone in the credit
granting industry knows that it is essential to have
a good credit record if you are to qualify for
credit or get it cheaply.
Correcting false information on your credit record
the other hand, you never had an account with the
creditor that blacklisted you, or were listed after
you settled your account, report the matter to the
Credit Information Ombud. The Credit Information
Ombud will only investigate the matter after you
have lodged a complaint and obtained a reference
number with the relevant credit bureau(s) and waited
30 (thirty) days for them to respond, but it is a
free service and provided the listing was made in
error, it will be removed. It is important to
understand that the Credit Information Ombud is
appointed by Credit Providers and does not assist
consumers to remove negative information from their
credit record - he simply facilitates the correction
of credit data.
whether you are Blacklisted or not.
Blacklisted? You can do an ITC blacklisted check and
check your credit records to find out if you may be
blacklisted for unpaid debts. Keeping abreast
of your credit status will give you peace of mind
when you next apply for credit. Checking and knowing
whether you are blacklisted is important and
consumers and should be done at least once a year.
Consumers are entitled to one free credit report a
year according to the National Credit Act. You
should check your credit record at the credit
bureau, especially when you have been refused credit
or told you that you have a bad record or are
blacklisted. Many blacklisted people feel
embarrassed when they apply for a loan with a lender
only to find out they have a blacklisting against
their name due to previously un-paid debts.
Transunion ITC will do a blacklisted check for you.
In any case, no matter who you go to when you need a
loan from a financial institute they will always run
a blacklisted check to see if you are a high risk to
lend money to. The best you can do is to run a
blacklisted check on your name to know your credit
score and rating before you approach a lender. You
can apply for a loan without knowing your score, but
it is always best to be prepared and to do a
blacklisted check to know your credit rating before
you fill out any applications to get finance.
If you have done a blacklisted check and discovered
that you are indeed blacklisted, there is help. A
professional counsellor will guide you with the
utmost of integrity and understanding of your
situation, to a successful and satisfactory way to
clear your debt and work out a plan that will help
pay your debt back, clear your name, and get all
your blacklisted data removed.