Eva Smith (Attorney) @ Lucid Living
The National Credit Regulator (NCR) has embarked on an intensive national awareness campaign aimed at informing consumers about the importance of getting their credit report.
Darrell Beghin, credit information and research manager at the NCR, said the education campaign was in line with the National Credit Act (NCA) and the consumer’s right to know what information the credit bureau publishes about them.
Beghin urges consumers to actively manage their credit report. “You are more able to control your credit experiences if you are aware of your credit report. By doing this, your credit report will not come as a shock when you apply for credit or are denied credit”.
Your credit report will also help you to understand where you are ﬁnancially in terms of affording your existing and possibly more credit,” adds Beghin“ It is in your interest as a consumer to ensure that your credit report reﬂected at the credit bureau is correct.
According to the NCR when a consumer applies for new credit, the bank or lender will view their credit report to determine whether of not to approve the loan. If the consumer is blacklisted with the credit bureau the credit/loan is almost always declined.
For this reason alone, a consumer must get their credit report to ensure that the information is accurate and correct.
Credit bureau process millions of records of information monthly and errors are common. This has been highlighted by the Credit Ombud.
The NCR said if consumers felt that there was information that was not suppose to be on their credit report, or which was incorrect, they had the right to lodge a dispute with the relevant credit bureau.
The NCR pointed out another indication of increased consumer awareness – there were 1.7% more consumer disputes (i.e. incorrect information on the credit bureau) than in the corresponding period (Q2, 2010) last year, bringing the number to just under 6500.
Beghin said credit providers were now forced to conduct an affordability assessment of clients by checking a consumer’s level of debt and credit worthiness. This is done in part by looking at the consumer’s credit report.
“Every person who has an account, anywhere in the country with a credit provider which uses credit bureau services, will find the information about the accounts recorded,” Beghin said. “This is irrespective of whether that person pays their account regularly or not.
NCR recommends that consumers obtain their credit report from all 11 credit bureaus as they may contain different information. It is wise for the consumer to have a comprehensive understanding of the information about their credit report, because they believe that an informed consumer is a protected consumer, concludes Beghin.