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A credit bureau is a vital tool to ensure access to credit and it is therefore important to understand the role of a credit bureaus including ITC & Experian. A credit bureau is a ‘library’ of credit information, providing a centralised database of consumer credit behaviour i.e. how well you manage your credit commitments. This information could either be positive (i.e. accounts that are up to date, or fully paid up); or negative information pertaining to judgments and adverse credit information of defaulted credit accounts.Looking for a free credit check?
The role played by credit bureaus is an important one as they usually provide vital information to credit providers to prevent over-indebtedness of consumers and the granting of reckless credit. The NCA contains detailed provisions dealing with information held by credit bureaus.
Section 70(1) provides details of what information a credit bureau may store. It employs a wide phrase, ‘consumer credit information’ which means:
- a person’s credit history, including – applications for credit, credit agreements to which the person is or has been a party;
- pattern of payment;
- default under any credit such agreement;
- debt re-arrangement in terms of the NCA;
- incidence of enforcement actions with respect to any such credit agreements;
- the circumstances of termination of such credit agreements, and related matters.
a person’s financial history including;
- past and current income;
- assets and debts;
- other means within the scope of that person’s financial means;
- prospects and obligations as defined in section 78(3)73 and related matters.
Credit Bureaus in South Africa
In South Africa we have 3 credit bureaus;
- ITC (MyTransunion)
Obviously when it comes to home loans, the banks ultimately decide whether you get credit or not, but in terms of Retail Accounts and personal loans the decision comes down to the company and their financial department. This decision is based on the credit lender’s own credit granting policy, which could also take into account the information on your credit report.
Current issues with ITC & Experian:
There have been many complaints with regards to the ITC and EXperian IT systems. ITC systems as you may have heard are very out of date and innacurate. The information dispayed is incorrect partly due to people being able to ad information without any proper legal checks and processes in place.