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How to remove prescribed debt from your credit report

Your credit report plays a pivotal role in your financial life, influencing your ability to secure loans, credit cards, and even housing. However, if you're grappling with prescribed debt on your credit report, it can significantly hinder your financial prospects. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the world of prescribed debt and provide you with actionable steps on how to remove it from your credit report. Let's get started.

Understanding Prescribed Debt

Prescribed debt refers to debts that have exceeded their legally defined statute of limitations. In South Africa, this limitation is typically three years. Once a debt becomes prescribed, it can no longer be legally collected or enforced through legal action. This includes listing it on your credit report. However, prescribed debt can linger on your credit report, negatively impacting your creditworthiness.

The Importance of Your Credit Report 

Your credit report is essentially your financial report card, containing a detailed history of your credit and payment activities. Creditors, lenders, and even potential landlords use this information to assess your financial responsibility. A good credit report can open doors to favourable interest rates and financial opportunities, while a tarnished one can shut them down firmly.

Why You Should Remove Prescribed Debt 

Having prescribed debt on your credit report can be detrimental in several ways. Firstly, it can lower your credit score, making it difficult to secure loans or credit cards. Secondly, it may affect your chances of obtaining a mortgage or even renting a home. Lastly, it can hinder your job prospects, as some employers review credit reports during the hiring process. For these reasons, it's crucial to take action to remove prescribed debt from your credit report.

Steps to Remove Prescribed Debt from Your Credit Report 

  1. Verify the Prescription Date: The first step is to confirm that the debt is indeed prescribed. In South Africa, most debts are prescribed after three years. Check the date of the last activity or payment on the debt. If it's been more than three years, it may be prescribed.

  2. Request a Credit Report: Obtain a copy of your credit report from one of the major credit bureaus in South Africa, such as TransUnion, Experian, or Equifax. You are entitled to one free credit report per year from each bureau.

  3. Identify Prescribed Debt Entries: Carefully review your credit report for any entries related to prescribed debt. These may be labeled as "default," "collections," or "judgments." Note down the details of each entry, including the date of the last activity.

  4. Dispute the Entries: Write a formal dispute letter to the credit bureau reporting the prescribed debt. In your letter, clearly state that the debt is prescribed, provide evidence of the prescription date, and request its removal from your credit report.

  5. Follow Up: Credit bureaus are required to investigate disputes within a certain timeframe. Follow up on your dispute to ensure it is being processed. If the entry is not removed, you may need to escalate your complaint.

  6. Consider Legal Assistance: If the credit bureaus are uncooperative, you may want to seek legal assistance. An attorney specializing in consumer protection or credit law can help you navigate the process.

  7. Monitor Your Credit Report: Regularly monitor your credit report to ensure that the prescribed debt entry has been removed. It may take some time for the update to reflect on your report.


Removing prescribed debt from your credit report is essential for improving your financial standing and accessing various opportunities. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can take control of your credit report and work towards a better financial future. Remember that patience and persistence are key when dealing with credit bureaus, and seeking legal advice when necessary can be a wise decision. Don't let prescribed debt hold you back – take action today and reclaim your financial freedom.

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