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Credit Bureaus SA

21 February 2014, 07:35

What are your thoughts on the various credit bureaus in South Africa? From previous experience I personally, had only knew about transunion. Approximately 2 years ago, I had requested a report from transunion and found that some of the information relating to my personal credit report was negative an untrue. I had contacted them and laid a complaint and 20 business days later this was removed of my report. I thought this was excellent (not thinking back on the implications it would have had previously e.g.  the cost of credit when I had previously bought a car or taken a personal loan). I even went on to sign up for the R280 promotion, where you can view your credit report whenever you wanted as I decided that it was good value for money and also to prevent any further unexpected mishaps. I continued to monitor my credit report and it worked quite well until recently….

I had contacted a bank regarding a personal loan and was turned down, so I had asked if they could give me a reason for turning me down as I view my credit report with transunion and there’s nothing negative on it that would decline my application. The call centre agent advised that they were working with Experian Credit Bereau. So coming off the phone from the bank I decided to request a credit report from Experian instead, only to find that the negative history that was taken away 2 years ago via transunion was still present here. I had to go the same route and 20 business days I received an updated credit report which was in my favour. After reading the report I had contacted the Experian Call centre and was also made aware that there is also a Compuscan.

So I contacted Compuscan and requested a credit report via the web, and when I received it, it was more or less like the Experian one before the updates, I also went ahead and placed the same complaint. 20 business days later I was informed that my report is updated in my favour. After further scrutiny I found that the CS adverse listing was moved to the open account section. And also other accounts which were paid in full years ago still reflected as open. So I contacted Compuscan and asked if they could rectify this and was told that they would look into it and another “dispute” must be created with another 20 day lead time. The accounts that were paid ages ago…I received an email requesting proof of payments.

To me the credit bureaus of SA is a nightmare, there are too many and all of them in most occasions do not have the most updated details of your credit history, but this is just my opinion. For people that have first hand knowledge of credit reports and credit scores this might seem unnecessary (because I’m not sure if everyone, personally is in contact with all credit bureaus) but to me it seems that credit bureaus may partially be to blame for the high exorbitant interest rates that we pay to the banks when they paint incorrect pictures about consumer credit behavior.

Does the credit bureaus ever provide statistics (quarterly / annually) showing the number of people requesting credit reports and the number of complaints generated from incorrect negative listings?

And lastly will the credit bereau ever be able to calculate the amount of increased interest payable by the consumer because their information relating to a particular active consumer was incorrect? E.g. a person receives a personal loan with an interest rate of 31% as opposed to 10% because the credit bureau paints a negative image of the borrower and later rectifies the image of the borrower after the loan had been paid to the borrower at the interest rate of 31%

My personal opinion is that there should be just one credit bureau in SA as too many people hold incorrect information. Whilst we are fortunate to have the ability to contact all credit bureaus via internet and telephone, not everyone has these facilities, so majority don’t even know if they are really a poor borrower or its just human error.

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