Credit bureaus in South Africa

A guide to the credit bureaus in South Africa

If you are wanting to take a bond out on a house or finance a car, you need to have a good credit score, lenders will ask one or more of these bureaus for information about you before accepting your credit application To make sure your credit score is healthy you need to check with South Africa’s 4 main credit bureaus. These include:

  1. Experian
  2. TransUnion
  3. Compuscan (now owned by Experian)
  4. XDS

What is a credit bureau?

Credit bureaus in South Africa are the ultimate guides to your credit report. You can compare your credit report pulled from all 4 of South Africa’s main credit bureaus in an understandable format to show you what you need to do to better your credit status.

They get their information from lenders and other sources. These lenders will also ask the credit bureaus for information about you before they decide to lend you their money. Therefore, you want to make sure you understand your credit report.

Different creditors refer to different bureaus so each one will have different information about you. Therefore, you should know what all 4 of your credit reports look like.

How do you check your credit score?

  1. Experian

  • Access to one free report per year through Experian’s CreditExpert service
  • Or pay R21 for a month’s subscription or R145 for a yearly subscription.
  • Their score ranges from 0-705
  1. TransUnion

  • You can get access to your report once a year for free
  • After your one free report you will have to pay R40 for one report or you can pay R40 per month for a subscription
  • The score ranges from 0-999
  1. XDS

  • Credit4Life lets you get 30 days free access to your XDS report
  • Or you can join the Credit4Life consumers club which gives you access to your report for R99 annually.

You are legally allowed access to your credit report for free once a year from each credit bureau as per the National Credit Act. Once you have looked at your credit reports you will now know what you can do to improve your score. This will help you to keep onto of your finances.

If you have a poor credit score, check out our article on ways to improve it.

What is a credit report?

A detailed report of an individuals’ credit history prepared by the credit bureaus. The report is used to determine a loan applicants creditworthiness.
What does it include?
  • Current and previous addresses
  • Employment history
  • Number & type of accounts that are in arrears or in good standing
  • Date accounts were opened
  • Your credit report also lists credit enquiries and details of any accounts handed over
  • for collection and any judgements that are against you
Who looks at your report?
  • Current & potential credit providers
  • Insurance companies
  • Rental property landlords
  • Potential employers
  • Debt collectors
  • Utility providers – cell phone, prepaid electricity etc
Why is it important?
A good credit rating is important for everyone.
A solid credit history and credit rating impacts your life now and in the future:
  • Buying a house
  • Buying a car
  • Starting a business
  • Getting a job
  • Getting lower interest rates

Really look at your report.

  • Which accounts have you not been paying? Don’t shy away from it. Pay the full instalment owing on each of your accounts on time, every month. If you really can’t make the payment, contact all your creditors to make a payment arrangement.
  • Review the debt you have, try to keep your use of credit facilities to less than 35% of the limit given to you. So, if you have a store card of R1,000 try to maintain the balance to under R350 if you cannot make it zero.

  • Do you have judgements or administration orders issued? If yes take active steps to pay outstanding amounts in full as per 1. This information can be removed from your credit profile once paid.

  • Try to maintain a healthy mix of credit. (i.e. home loans, vehicle finance, service contracts, cell phone accounts as well as store and credit cards if needed). This will help establish a strong credit history if balances are not overdue. Watch the number of account applications and enquiry activity. Too many simultaneous applications indicate there is a change to financial circumstances and can indicate a level of distress.

  • Lastly, check your credit report and score regularly. Contact the credit bureaux straight away to dispute any inaccuracies or likely identify theft.
If you follow these pointers, you’ll see a difference in your report.

If you find you are falling behind on debt repayments, our debt rescue solution could be the answer. Find out more or call us on 021 003 4535 and we’ll discuss the right solution for you.