Nine tips to keep your credit score healthy

Only 53.3% of credit-active consumers in South Africa are in good standing, according to the Credit Bureau Monitor’s 2010 fourth-quarter report. What does this mean?

Well, if you’re hoping to secure a home loan, it’s bad news if you’re one of those not in good standing. Banks want to know that you’re a safe investment so they’re unlikely to lend to you unless you have a clear credit record.

A bad credit rating or adverse listing can seriously hinder your ability to secure home loan finance, says Kay Geldenhuys, property finance processing manager at Ooba.

It’s therefore very important to pay your accounts on time and make sure they’ve been paid before you apply for a loan. Retail stores’ and banks’ default listings will stay on your profile for two years. If you do close an account, settle the account balance and contact the credit provider to check your name and record has been cleared.

To keep your credit score healthy, follow these tips:

  • Make sure you meet your monthly debt repayments on time. Even a payment that is only 24 hours late can be bad for your rating.
  • If you fall behind on repayments, get back on track as soon as you can.
  • Always pay the minimum instalment required (or more, if you can).
  • Close accounts you don’t use. Credit providers assess the full facility of the credit agreements on record, even if they’re not being used.
  • Draw up a budget — and stick to it.
  • Boost your buying power and reduce your debt. If possible, pay more than the minimum payment on your accounts to further improve your credit standing.
  • If you can’t make a payment, talk to the relevant creditor about making an alternative payment plan.
  • Don’t ignore a letter of demand. Always be proactive and take appropriate action.
  • If you have a judgment on record, clear the account and contact an attorney to have the judgment rescinded, says Geldenhuys.

Read more news, blogs, tips and Q&As in our Smart Money section. Post questions on the site for independent and researched information

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories

Political elites, not foreigners, are to blame for South Africa’s problems

What if we told foreigners to voetsek? We have fallen victim to the illusion of scarcity. And we are led to wrongly believe immigrants are a threat

Indians in South Africa, a historical excerpt

In the book, The Indian Africans, academic Kiru Naidoo explores the society of colonial Natal in the late 1800s to early 1900

A colossus with feet of clay

South Africa is disproportionately targeted by cybercriminals. Digital attacks call for digital solutions and technology is a the prime weapon in this fight

The president, the preacher and the great escape

Malawi’s new president was furious after Shepherd Bushiri’s dramatic disappearance from South Africa

Patel: South Africa on target to attract R1.2-trillion in investments

The trade minister says the country is on track to reach more than R1-trillion worth of investments over five years, despite Covid-19 disruptions

South Africa must revisit and refresh its idea of itself

Covid has propelled citizens into feelings of a new shared identity in which the historical force of ‘whiteness’ is fading into irrelevance

Subscribers only

FNB dragged into bribery claims

Allegations of bribery against the bank’s chief executive, Jacques Celliers, thrown up in a separate court case

Dozens of birds and bats perish in extreme heat in...

In a single day, temperatures in northern KwaZulu-Natal climbed to a lethal 45°C, causing a mass die-off of birds and bats

More top stories

ConCourt asked to rule that Zuma must testify for 10...

It is Zondo's legal end game and will leave the former president, his supporters and those implicated in state capture to increasingly play fast and loose at imputing political motive to the commission

Carlos on Oozymandias’ goodbye grift

"Look on my works ye Mighty, and gimme 50 bucks!"

This is how the SIU catches crooks

Athandiwe Saba talked to the Special Investigating Unit’s Andy Mothibi about its caseload, including 1 000 Covid contracts

Richard Calland: Not much has shuffled in the political pack

Stocktake at the end of a momentous year shows that the ruling party holds all the cards but has little room for manoeuvre

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…