MONEY CLINIC | I'm finally free from my debt. How do I build a good credit score?

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
It is a good idea to start with a small account.
It is a good idea to start with a small account.

A Fin24 reader who managed to settle all her debt wants to know how she should go about fixing her bad credit score.

She writes:

Most of my accounts were handed over to collection companies about three years ago. I have tried paying off or settling all of them and have finally managed to break free from my debts. How do I then start building a good credit score? Will I even qualify for any accounts to help fix my score?

Neil Roets, founder and CEO of Debt Rescue, responds:

The best point to start is to obtain a copy of your credit report to confirm the status of the accounts that were paid, and to confirm that the credit report does indeed reflect this. If there are any discrepancies, please log a dispute with the credit bureau.

There are many factors that are important with a credit score, of which some of the important ones are that the account is paid when due and that at least the minimum amount is paid.

It is a good idea to start with a small account, such as insurance or a cellphone and ensure it is always paid on time. Once that track record is built, you can move on to a smaller credit agreement. Pay it on time, and always try pay more than the minimum.

Don’t apply for credit with too many creditors in a short space of time, as this also affects your credit score. You are entitled to one free credit report per year. Check it annually for any items that might not seem accurate. 

Questions may be edited for brevity and clarity.

  • Have a money problem that needs solving? Fin24 can help! Send your question to

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.

Get the biggest business stories emailed to you every weekday.

Go to the Fin24 front page.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Company Snapshot
Voting Booth
Facebook is facing a fresh crisis after a former employee turned whistle-blower leaked internal company research . Do you still use Facebook?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Yes, the benefits outweigh the risk for me
26% - 350 votes
No, I have deleted it
44% - 584 votes
Yes, but I am considering deleting it
30% - 394 votes