A Fin24 reader planning to buy a house found that her credit score has dropped after a credit query since her bond pre-qualification. She writes to an expert for advice on how to rectify the situation.
I pre-qualified for a bond of over R1 million, but my credit score was 599 at the time. I then opened a platinum cheque account and I am still waiting for the card delivery.
The banker did not make me aware that she also attempted to see how much I could qualify for, for a credit card which was declined. My credit score has dropped to 537.
I do not have any debts as I settled a loan I had in January. I only have one clothing account left with a R300 instalment to be paid.
In this case, what options do I have to improve my credit score? I desperately need a house. Is it possible to write a letter to motivate the bank with settlement letters?
Kriben Reddy, head of consumer at TransUnion Africa responds:
The most significant influence on your credit score is managing your accounts and whether you pay your accounts on time. While too many credit queries can affect your credit score, being denied credit does not impact your score.
We suggest that you draw your credit report, which is available free once a year from TransUnion, and scrutinise it carefully to see if there are any outstanding debts or judgements against your name. If there is information you don’t recognise or disagree with, you can lodge a dispute with the credit bureau, providing them with settlement letters where necessary.
This process is legislated and takes 20 working days. You will then be able to approach the bank to demonstrate your amended credit record.
The most important things that you can do to improve your credit score are:
- Manage your accounts. Make sure you pay your accounts every month, and if you can, pay more than the minimum balance owing each month, or you’ll end up paying more interest than you have to. Partial payments can negatively impact your score and leave you playing catch-up with growing outstanding debt.
- Limit your amount of debt. Keep the utilisation of your current credit facilities below 35% of your limit.
- Limit your enquiry activity. Don’t shop around for too much credit at the same time. Too many applications in a short space of time could raise a red flag to lenders about your current financial situation.
Disclaimer: Feedback is based on general findings. We are unable to comment on this specific reader’s situation without reviewing their credit profile. Credit and risk policies applied by credit providers are proprietary to them and the credit bureau has no sight of this.
Questions may be edited for brevity and clarity.
- Have a money problem that needs solving? Fin24 can help! Send your question to firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer: Fin24 cannot be held liable for any investment decisions made based on the advice given by independent financial service providers. Under the ECT Act and to the fullest extent possible under the applicable law, Fin24 disclaims all responsibility or liability for any damages whatsoever resulting from the use of this site in any manner.