Credit bureau reports and scores


In the ever-evolving world of personal finance, understanding your credit bureau report is vital to making informed financial decisions. Your credit bureau report is a snapshot of your credit history, and it plays a crucial role in shaping your financial future.

It is important to investigate the intricacies of credit bureau reports, exploring what they are, where to find them, the factors that influence your credit score, and actionable steps to improve your score.

A credit report is a detailed record of your credit history compiled by credit reporting institutions called Credit Bureaus. These reports contain information about your credit accounts, payment history, outstanding balances, and other relevant financial activities, such as adverse classification of customer behaviour and an enforcement action initiated by credit providers. Adverse classifications of consumer behaviour include classifications such as delinquent, slow paying, absconded or not contactable which may remain on your credit report between one to two years.

Adverse classifications of enforcement action where action was taken by a credit provider include being handed over for collection or recovery, legal action, write-off or judgement which may remain on your credit report between two to five years.

Credit reporting institutions, such as TransUnion and Credit Info, as registered under the Credit Bureau Regulations: Bank of Namibia Act, 1997 collect and maintain customers’ credit information, providing lenders with a detailed overview of your creditworthiness when you apply for credit.

Accessing your credit report is a fundamental step in taking control of your financial health. As per the section 23(1)(c) and (d) of the of the Credit Bureau Regulations: Bank of Namibia Act, 1997, individuals are entitled to a free annual credit report from a credit bureau and may challenge information contained in the credit report. You can obtain your report by visiting the websites of the two registered credit bureaus in Namibia. Regularly reviewing your credit report allows you to spot inaccuracies, unauthorized accounts, or potential signs of identity theft.

Once you obtain your credit report and you come across inaccuracies, discrepancies or disagree with the information presented, it’s crucial to take prompt action to correct these errors. Please log a dispute with the relevant credit bureau as any incorrect information could impact your ability to obtain finance.

If your credit score isn’t where you want it to be, you can take proactive steps to enhance it. Remember, a good credit score will enable you to get the financial assistance in a time when you most need it.

Understanding your credit bureau report is a crucial aspect of financial literacy. By being aware of what influences your credit score and taking proactive steps to improve it, you empower yourself to make informed financial decisions. Regularly monitoring your credit report and implementing sound financial practices will not only enhance your creditworthiness but also pave the way for a more secure financial future.

*Patricia Louw is finance credit manager at Old Mutual Namibia

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