In This Episode
The Coronavirus has brought havoc to our lives and our economies.
While some people are going to default on their payments and cause massive harm to their credit scores, others will use this opportunity to fix and increase their score.
In this webinar, Justin Harrison and David Bester explain how you can make the best of this lockdown period and use it to get a great credit score.
They will explain how to negotiate lower payments with creditors and show you what to do if you can not make your current payments on time.
David Bester (00:04)
Okay, welcome to the webinar. You are speaking to David Bester, which is Justin Harrison and me. So, we are both with My Credit Status. We've been with My Credit Status since its inception, which is 2013. We have been in the credit report industry for about seven years and in personal finance for a lot longer than that. Just to show you quickly - if I can share my screen with you - what you'll be getting today. We're going to be discussing "How to get a great credit score while you're on lockdown". We thought it's appropriate to do this webinar now, especially with the coronavirus that's going on at the moment. I just thought I wanted to share or give you a quick overview of us, the authors. I'll start with Justin.
So, Justin has been in the personal finance industry for a very long time, built many businesses, and has written a few books on the subject. Here's his author page on Amazon, where you will see the books: 'The Money Secret', 'Cryptocurrency', 'Passive Income Secrets', 'Stock Investing', 'Compound Interest Secrets' and 'How to Retire Rich. If you want to get your hands on any of the books after the webinar, we've got them in digital format and hardcopy. You can go to Global Money Academy on Facebook; you'll see that both he and I are involved in that project as well. And you can send him a quick message, and he will set you up with a special deal after that.
So, yes. Let's continue with the topic today, which is "How to get a great credit score while you're on lockdown". The first thing I think we need to discuss, Justin, maybe you can talk about this as well, is the coronavirus and how it is currently affecting our economy and the people in the industry as well, and how it's affecting people and their credit scores.
Justin Harrison (02:11)
I think, obviously, the 'coronavirus thing' is having a significant impact on everyone personally; it's affecting businesses. There's a lockdown, which is mainly affecting self-employed people. I think self-employed people will probably be hit the hardest, and most companies have got good policies where they're going to be paying people during this period. Still, some companies can't afford to pay total salaries. So, I think what's happening is that we, as individual consumers, have to look at budgets very closely during this period. And I think one of the things that are, sort of, positive, coming out of the coronavirus thing is it's stopping everything. It's stopping the economy in a way that everybody has to stand still and look at things. During this time period, I think one of the most important things that people can do, consumers can do, in preparation for when Corona's gone, is to take care of their finances and make sure that their scores aren't affected. And also, which we're going to be discussing today, is how to improve those scores.
I think one of the things that are very, very important at this moment in time - and we were discussing this before the webinar started - is that there's almost an instinctive desire to stop paying for things, like don't pay your bills, at this moment in time, because coronavirus is here. If there's one word of caution or word of advice I would give, it is that you must keep paying your bills. If you can't afford to keep paying your bills, I would highly suggest you get in contact with whoever you need to be paying. See if you can make some payment arrangement and contribute something towards your bills because what that will do is it will maintain your credit score. The last thing you want to do is come out of coronavirus, and the doors open up again. Business goes back to normal (which it will), things might change - and we'll talk about that today as well - I think there's a lot of things that will change, in terms of the personal-finance space and money and credit scores. But I think the most important thing is to prepare for when we come out of this, that you've got your score intact and that you haven't damaged your score, because ultimately, things will have to go back to normal; you'll have to access finance. You'll have to have a good credit score to do that. So, coronavirus is changing things; it's going to change everything. But at the same time, it's a fantastic period to sit down and look at your finances and take control of things.
David Bester (04:58)
Yes, I couldn't agree more, especially with the part about late payments. The problem is, people kind of give in, and they give up and say, "Listen, I can't pay my bills, so I'm going to skip this month", where that's the worst thing you can do. The most significant impact - and if there's one thing you guys get from this webinar - is that your score's most significant impact is late payments. The problem is, even if you fix these late payments, even if you go to a creditor afterwards and get them to take it off or remove the listing from your credit report, it still stays there for a considerable period. It can last for up to two years: default information. So, instead not let it get to that point. Like Justin said, negotiate with creditors. But that is a point that we'll get to in this webinar as well.
Justin Harrison (05:46)
People need to understand that your credit score is a collection of data. That data is then taken into a mathematical calculation, which develops your score. Now, the thing is, like we've just said, late payments have one of the most significant impacts on the negative score, right? It doesn't take into account because it's not the kind of information fed into the system currently, or how much of a payment you're making. So, the point is, if you have a bill of R1000 a month that you need to pay and you can only afford to pay 200, and the creditors are prepared to accept that, then they're going to take that R200 payment, and they're not going to mark it as a late payment. And the thing is, instead of making some payment, than, no payment. But in addition to that, I'd like to say this: Because this is a mathematical equation, your history is going to build up. So, if you have a terrible score now, it probably will take 12 to 18 months for you to get consistent payment scores of not paying late, to erase those insufficient payments or non-payments that you made basically. So, it's very easy to lapse on a payment, and it's very easy to have a non-payment on your record, but it's very, very hard to get that off because it takes time.
David Bester (07:08)
Yes, exactly. Okay, so let's start.
So: "Getting a great credit score". What we're going to do is, we're going to go through the primary points of getting a great credit score. And we're going to try and not make it complicated because we know what it's like. We know what jargon is like in the industry, especially when dealing with lawyers. It's sometimes just very overwhelming, and people tend to give up before they even start. So, we're going to keep this simple; we're going to keep this very brief, and we're going to run through it so that basically, anyone knows how to get an excellent credit score from here on.
So, the first thing is you cannot get an excellent credit score if you don't get your credit report, right? So, I think that's pretty much a no-brainer at this point. To fix your credit report, you have to get your credit report; you have to see if there's wrong information on there, and you need to have the tools to go forward. Most people get wrong - and we see this often on My Credit Status - is they get a credit report once, they look at it, and then they stop. The problem with that is, you cannot fix your score if you don't get a credit report the following month and the month after that because, let's say you get your report now, you fix something on there, and you leave it. Nothing's going to happen. You have to get your credit report to see the progress that you've made. You have to work on it continuously. I think the thing that people get wrong, most of the time, is they work on it a little bit and then that stops. It's a continuous effort that you need to make, especially if you made mistakes in the past. As you said, Justin, obviously you've got a history, and if you made one mistake in your history, it takes a long time to repair that fault or that problem.
Justin Harrison (09:02)
Ja, I think the key thing in getting your credit report is probably the most crucial point everybody should take home, is. First of all, it's vital to get your credit report. I would put it up there by going and having an HIV test today. It's that simple. This is the health of your finances that you're speaking about. And, the thing is, it's irresponsible, personally, not to check your credit report. It's irresponsible not to monitor it continually because here's the thing: companies make mistakes all the time. You may, for example, have been with Telkom for the last 15 years, and Telkom messes up all the time. They sometimes put people on the credit bureaus, list them by mistake. So, the thing is, if you're not continuously monitoring your credit report, you shouldn't even monitor it at all. If you're going to take a report, you should be taking a report every month. That's the first thing I'd say.
The second thing I'd say is that in a country like South Africa, we have an exceptionally high rate of fraud related to personal finance. We have identity theft. Everybody must check their financial records every single month. And the best way to do that is through a credit report.
David Bester (10:28)
100%. I know you, and I spoke about it quite a few times before, but according to news articles, they say that 80% of people have errors on their credit reports, and 25% were harmful.
Justin Harrison (10:47)
Ja, and it can affect you right down to the smallest of things. People think it's about the big stuff - it's about buying a house, buying a car; people think it's about opening an account at Woolworths or Edgars or whoever, right? But it can even affect you as far as being admitted into a hospital. Hospitals are doing credit checks on people now, on the way in and unless you've got a clear credit record, there's a high probability that the private hospitals won't let you in, even if you have medical aid.
David Bester (11:12)
Exactly. I know even some employers look at people's credit scores before they hire them.
Justin Harrison (11:19)
Absolutely. So, get a credit report. It's critical.
David Bester (11:21)
Yes. So, the next thing you need to analyse the report and look for the errors. I want to share a screen with you just quickly to show you where you can find these errors or where to pick up the errors.
Justin Harrison (11:34)
Ja, Dawie, maybe if I can just talk about something while you're pulling up that screen. We've tried to do differently with My Credit Status, which is really dumbed down and simplifies the information. We both know, having been around this industry for seven odd years, if you look at the major reports available out there, they are tough to understand for the average consumer. Things are put in the kind of data format that a normal human being can't read. Even a brilliant computer scientist or actuary will have a hard time making sense of it. What My Credit Status has done is analysing your reports and understanding your report exceptionally easy. All you have to do is get the report, open the screen, and it'll tell you exactly what's going on.
David Bester (12:28)
Yes, it's like the example here. This is a demo report I've just pulled up, but it shows you exactly if you apply for finance or not. It tells you exactly where you fall in the credit ranges. It tells you a brief summary of all your accounts on one page, and, from there on, we've made it really simple. To get back to the errors part, you'll need to look at your addresses; you'll need to look at the phone numbers. But that's not the thing that will impact your credit score mainly. The thing that will affect your credit scores is this part: it's the Payment Profile, and obviously, if you've got judgements, then I honestly suggest you go to a lawyer because that's quite a tricky part to sort out. But with anything else.
Justin Harrison (13:15)
Not impossible, but tricky. If anybody does have judgments on their reports, we have got a very reputable person to whom we can refer to them, to help them on judgments.
David Bester (13:31)
Yes, even with this webinar, we also gave away a book with legal templates. So, you don't actually need a lawyer if you don't want one but it's just much simpler getting a lawyer for judgments. Anything else, I recommend you do it yourself. If you look at this part, you can see the 150+, if it's in red, this basically means that you're behind on your payments; you are 150 days behind with your payments. Now, something like this will have a great, great impact on your credit score. So, just to make it really simple, look for these errors, look if there are errors and if there are, you need to dispute it, which is the next point we're getting to after you have looked for all the mistakes.
The next part is, obviously to dispute the errors. I need to make it very clear, if you're disputing an error, with My Credit Status, we're currently making use of the Experian data but you will obviously have to dispute the error with each credit bureau. It's really simple, actually. Every single credit bureau out there has a dispute process, you just need to follow the dispute process, but it's pretty simple.
Justin Harrison (14:42)
I think what's relevant also, is just to explain to people how they land upon a credit bureau's listing and then the role of a credit bureau. So, basically, if you have a loan with a company or you have a payment arrangement, like for example, insurance, or whatever, those companies have the choice of listing you on the credit bureau and in fact in many cases, it's mandatory. Because of our Financial Act, which basically means that there can't be any reckless lending, all credit providers basically have to list you on the credit bureaus. Now, the thing is, you get listed by a company and then, in terms of your payment history, they have to keep that up to date. So, it's not the credit bureau that's responsible for the information; it is the company with which you have the agreement. The credit bureau is simply the custodian of that data. They're simply holding that data and showing it to both parties. Now, when you have a dispute on a listing, your dispute isn't actually with the credit bureau. Your dispute is with the individual company, but you have to log your dispute through the credit bureau, as a custodian of the data. That is the correct process to follow.
David Bester (16:03)
Yes. I think one massive tip I can give people here is, dispute every error that you get. The thing with disputes is, if you are disputing something, legally, what the credit bureau has to do, is they have to prove to you, who listed that dispute, and they have to give you the contact details and the person's details who listed that dispute. If that credit bureau, within 60 days, cannot get back to you and give you that information, then legally, they have to remove the listing from your report. And if they don't do it, you can dispute it again. And if you're not satisfied with that, you can go to the NCR and believe me, the credit bureaus don't want to deal with the NCR. It's a massive, massive headache. So, a lot of the time, they will just remove the listing because if they can't find that person's contact details then, rather than going through the effort, the credit bureau will just remove the listing. And that is a massive tip that very, very few people actually know about this when it comes to disputing errors.
The next thing is, you have to keep organised. You have to give them proof, you have to show them proof, and you have to document your communication with the credit bureaus as well. Let's say, you settle your account today with Foschini, and next month that listing isn't updated yet. If you have the proof to give to the bureau, then it just makes the process so much easier. Especially with me, I don't like being very organised but, in this case, you have to be organised when logging disputes.
Another thing, when you log disputes, you should only do them one at a time. It's very simple to understand. If you go ahead now and dispute 20 items at a time, obviously, the credit bureau will assume that you're taking a chance with them and you're just trying to game the system.
So, the next thing you have to do, once you've started looking through all the errors, and started disputing the errors, obviously, you have to set up a budget. So, I think Justin also can give you some very good info on budgeting. He's dealt with it extensively over the past few years… Justin…? Seems like we've lost him there. I'm sure he'll be back soon.
Anyway, when it comes to budgeting, I suggest the 'envelope system'. Like Justin will tell you as well, when you set up a budget, the reason you set up a budget, is to track your net worth and to increase your net worth in the end. The important thing about credit reports and budgeting, is you need to follow a budget, otherwise, you'll eventually default on your payments - which at the beginning of this, we've discussed already - is the exact thing you actually don't want happening.
Also, the reason why you want to set up a budget is - we're going to get to this next - is you're going to have to go back to your creditors and start negotiating with your creditors. Now, what you need to do is make a list of all your payments that you've got, and put it in your monthly budget, tell them what you can actually afford at the moment, and be very transparent with them. Set up a budget and then go to creditors. When you go to your creditors, call them up and ask to speak to the manager. Be very sincere; never, ever get angry. When you phone up the manager, tell them, "Listen here, I've set up a budget. I'm committed to repaying my loans or my account with you. The only thing I can afford at this moment is the 'X' amount. I'm committed to repaying it, and committed to paying off my loans, and settling my account with you. The only thing I ask is that you meet me halfway. Let me pay off this account, and don't list me as a 'bad payer' on credit bureaus". You'll be amazed to find how many people actually go with this because they would rather take something, that little bit that you can afford right now, than letting you default. The problem is, if you default, they have to now go to a debt collector and give you over or sell your information to the debt collector, and they're most probably going to have to write it off as 'bad debt', anyway. Okay, Justin, I see you're back… Can you hear me? Okay. So, when you're negotiating with creditors, you have to be sincere; never lose it, never get angry. When you're speaking to them, let them know that you're committed to paying it off. As I said, you'll be amazed to find how many people will actually accommodate you and meet you halfway, because they don't want you defaulting on your payments.
Justin, I told them about budgeting as well and the reason for budgeting; talking about the 'envelope system' and the importance of budgeting, which is to increase your net worth in the end. I don't know if you want to add something there?
Justin Harrison (21:08)
Ja, look, I think, budgeting is not a foreign concept to most people. It's just something that most people don't really want to do. I think the most important thing about budgeting, and this is probably the thing that's missed by 99% of people, is WHY your budget. People think that you budget to, basically stay within your financial means, and I think this is why people see budgeting as a restrictive process because it's about constraining spending. But there's actually a different way of looking at budgeting, which will change most people's perspectives on it and that is, your budget in order to free up money that you can save, invest, put to debt and thereby increase your overall net worth. So, once you see budgeting as a tool to increase wealth, once you see it as a tool for decreasing debt, then budgeting becomes an entirely different process. And you can make budgeting as complex, or as simple as you want to. My personal advice is, to make it extremely simple and you've obviously told people about the budgeting system that we recommend, which is the 'envelope budget'. People have been doing this successfully, going all the way back to the early ‘40s and it's a highly effective way of controlling money and only spending what you have available for each specific thing. And I think the most important thing is to sit down and look at your budget, if not daily, at least weekly. It's something you have to be disciplined about. It's something you have to get control over. 95% of people out there don't have a budget. Of the 5% of the people that do have budgets, they draw up a budget and they look at it once a month and the problem with that is, that you're dealing with problems in a reactionary way. So, once the problem has happened, then you try and fix it; whereas, if you are looking at your budget daily, as you spend, you're looking at it weekly, as you spend, you can fix problems during the course of that month. So, those are my budgeting tips and my budgeting advice. Keep it simple and just be very persistent at it.
David Bester (23:25)
Ja, I agree. I didn't explain to them how the 'envelope budget' works but it's beyond this webinar. I think what people can do is, they can just Google it, there's lots of information about the 'envelope budgeting system'. They can watch some YouTube videos as well; there'll be a ton of videos out there.
The next point, which is the last point, is to keep track of your progress and stick to the process. I always give this an example: It's like a person who wants to lose weight, but they never climb on the scale - it's absolutely useless. The thing that people don't realise is, fixing your credit status is a long-term process. It's not a short-term process. It's not something that you do right now, that you set up and you do a few things and it's over and done with; your credit score is going to stay the same, it's going to stay great. It doesn't work like that. It's a long-term process, just like personal finance, just like budgeting. It's something you have to consistently work on. And that's why we also said in the beginning, that you have to get a monthly report, instead of getting a once-off report because it's something you have to consistently monitor, especially with identity theft, as well. If you don't monitor your credit report, it's very easy for people to steal your identity. The main thing to remember is obviously, the more you do these things, the easier it gets, especially when it comes to disputing items. If you've got multiple items, like I said, to only dispute one item at a time. So, this month you'll dispute item 1. Once that is sorted out, you move onto the next thing and the next thing. And you'll soon realise, within six months or within three months, sometimes in a month, depending on how many issues you've got with your credit report, I mean, there are some people that are really hectic into debt. So, it's going to take them about a year to get out of their financial problems but then again, you've got some people that just made stupid mistakes, like forgetting to settle accounts or something like that. If you sort out the small issues, you could fix your credit report within a month.
Justin Harrison (25:24)
Ja, also, the important thing of monitoring your progress on a monthly basis, is that you catch problems as they occur. Companies make mistakes. We have to accept that, when dealing with large amounts of data, companies make mistakes. So, you may very well have made a payment on your account, you may very well have done what was needed of you but the company that you have the agreement with, doesn't list that payment and it shows up on your profile as basically, being overdue. If you catch the error quickly, within the month that it happened, there's less chance for it to build up and affect your score over time. So, monitoring it monthly cannot be overvalued.
David Bester (26:10)
Yes, exactly. And then the next thing I wanted to chat about as well and Justin, I think I'm going to hand this over to you as well as, obviously, once you fix this, the next thing is to manage your money. I think you'll be better off talking about this; you know people's mindsets when it comes to money. In the old days, it was different from what we've got now. In the old days, people used to work with physical money, all the time. Now, all of a sudden, people have got credit cards, they've got phone apps. Spending money is so much easier and it's just so easy these days to get into these problems.
Justin Harrison (26:45)
Absolutely. I think part of the problem with personal finance, is that people don't really understand the monetary system that they're involved in. So, you don't have to be a rocket scientist; you don't have to be a financial expert but first of all, you need to really try and understand the monetary system. Debt, in general, is a bad thing; sometimes it can be a good thing. If you're purchasing certain assets and things that are going to make you money but generally, most consumers are taking on debt, that is bad debt. So, it's debt, and it's a big debt. It’s housing, it's cars and these are the kind of things that can literally break your financial future. So, the problem is people are going into a bank and they're signing a loan but they don't really understand what they're signing for. People are taking up a home loan and they don't really understand the lifetime of a home loan. They're probably going to pay that house off, four or five times in capital repayment. So, what's lacking for consumers, is that they really need to just get a very basic understanding of money. And, as you rightfully said, it's easier, now than ever before, to access loans and spend money. Before you had physical cash in your hand and with physical cash in hand, you knew what you had. You knew this is what I have, and this is what I'm going to spend it on. Whereas today, you've probably got a credit card, if not, more than one credit card. You've got a limit on there, which you can spend. Then, on top of that, you've probably got a cheque account, which has probably got an overdraft facility. And the thing is when you swipe your card, you aren't really emotionally, physically attached to that transaction. In the olden days, people used to be a lot more thrifty because they were physically holding their money. And then, it's made worse by the fact that you've now got things like Cryptocurrency, which adds another layer of things to it. Then you've got the fact that we buy certain things in US Dollars and we buy certain things in South African Rands because people are shopping overseas online. So now, was the exchange rate 18 today or was it 17? The money that comes out of your account might be different from what you expected. So, there's a lot of aspects of personal finance that people really need to come to grips with and I think, if I can give a shameless punt, it's one of the reasons why I wrote 'The Money Secret'? What's seriously and severely lacking, in terms of financial education, is a basic understanding of things. And people think they understand money because they've got an insurance policy, they've got medical aid, so they think they're doing the right things, financially but the question is, are you really doing the right things? Have you sat down and really studied your finances? And then, most people say, "Well, that's what financial advisors are for". So, they bring in financial advisors and, sorry to burst everyone's bubble, but financial advisors, for the most part, are selling policies. They're salespeople and the advice that you're getting, is not necessarily holistic and honest and true and unbiased. It's often geared in a manner, to keep you in the financial system, basically, spending your money. And one of the things that I've tried to address through 'The Money Secret' is that first, you need to understand the monetary system. Secondly, you need to understand how your emotions are wired to money because every single day when you leave your home when you leave your workplace, everybody's competing for your money; nobody's trying to keep money in your bank account. Here's a fact: every single billboard you see, every single radio ad you hear, every single TV ad you see, every piece of social media advertising that comes across to you, is designed to extract money out of your pocket. It's designed to get you to spend money, probably on things you don't need. And so, what I've tried to address through 'The Money Secret' is trying to teach people a new mindset towards money. And if there's one really positive thing, out of the whole coronavirus thing that's happening right now, is that people are having to look at their resources. People are having to look at what they have available and spend accordingly because we don't know how long this thing is going to go on. But the sad thing is, it's taking something like this, to force people to look at their money and that's something that people should be doing, every single day. If you go listen to Robert Kiyosaki if you go listen to Suzy Orman or Dave Ramsey if you listen to all the great financial experts out there, or financial gurus (whatever you want to call it), they're all basically targeting the same thing, which is, you have to sit down and look at your personal finances and the truth of it is, 95% of people don't do it. And then, even those that do it, don't understand their emotional triggers towards money. It's like an eating habit. If you overeat, there's probably a reason for it. The symptom is, that you overeat but what is the underlying cause? And it's the same thing in people's personal finances. You're overspending, that's the symptom but what is the underlying cause? The underlying cause, I can tell you right now, is emotional and once you figure out your emotional triggers with money, the sooner you will be better off for it.
David Bester (32:11)
Ja, I think for most people, it's a status thing, even though they don't even really realise it. If you look at some people buying cars, when they don't have the money; they're buying it for status.
Justin Harrison (32:20)
But the question has to be asked and again, it's very symptomatic of the problem. People are buying the car, for status. But why are they doing it? It's giving them a feeling. It's giving them a feeling of importance, superiority; it gives them a feeling of placement in society. But why do you need that? That's the question. I know this sounds really esoteric and from a psychological aspect, there are things at work, that most people don't understand and it's probably beyond the realm of this call to go into it too deeply but the problem is in your emotions. Why are you being triggered by those things? Why is it that one person will go out and buy a very expensive car, to make his status look good and another person, earning the same salary, will go and drive an old jalopy, so he can save his money to build up a healthy retirement? These are two different emotions at play there. And the important thing is, to be able to face those emotions and understand those emotions. And in 'The Money Secret', I actually give people the exact steps that they need to take, in order to undo these things. Whether we like it or not, we've been subjected to a financial system that we don't understand. We've been raised in homes, where finance hasn't been explained to us. We've been raised in schools, where we haven't been taught what the financial system is and how to work positively within the confines of that financial system. And it's very, very sad to me, that most people are going to fail when it comes to money because they don't have this information. So, I can't recommend it more highly, getting yourself some books on personal finance and starting to read. Whether it's my book or somebody else's book, but start by reading some stuff and really understanding money.
David Bester (34:15)
No, for sure. It all starts with education. For instance, I spoke to my brother-in-law the other day, he bought a new car. When I asked him what the interest rate was, he didn't know. And I think that's the problem with most people. Obviously, because we're in the credit report space, we obviously check what our competitors are doing as well. I was logging into a competitor's website the other day and there were cards on there, with interest rates of 27.5%. And on one card, there was basically a card from every single bank, that they were promoting to these people. Now, how can you be transparent with your users and try and help them to get a great credit score but at the same time, you're making offers that have interest rates of 27.5%? It's absolutely insane.
Justin Harrison (35:00)
Well, besides that I think that's probably a relevant point to end this call on... We often get asked, why do we charge for our reports; we often get asked why there is a fee attached to our report when they can go someplace and get it for free. Well, there's a very simple answer to that - there's no free lunch in this world. If you believe there's a free lunch, well, you're going to get dealt a serious lesson because the fact of the matter is, somebody has to pay somewhere. And through the platforms that are promoting free reports, or giving away free reports, what they do, is they basically either sell your data, so that people can sell you things, which is not the best thing. Alternatively, on those platforms, they're advertising financial products to you. Now, the problem I have with that fundamentally and I think we agree on this holistically, is that, if you are going to help somebody with their credit report and help them into a better financial situation, one of the things you have to try and encourage is: no debt or responsible debt. And the problem is, when you're promoting financial products, in order to make a fee, which a lot of platforms are doing, they're not necessarily putting the best offers in front of their users. So, this is the reason why we charge a fee. We don't promote anything on our platform, and we are totally 100% user-centric-focused, in terms of making sure that we help our users get the best possible credit score; rather than making our money through promoting stuff, that's just going to further put them in the hole.
David Bester (36:28)
Yes, exactly. Well, to end this call, the last thing we can just tell people is, to keep it simple. A lot of people - when it comes to getting a great credit score - a lot of people expected this call to be pretty complicated as well and expected a magic solution. Even though we did give some tips, pretty simple tips - like the disputing part - to quickly fix your credit status. I think it's very important to just mention that it is a process and you have to stick to it monthly and you have to be disciplined as well.
Also, keep it simple; not making it too complicated. If you stick to the bullet points which we gave you here, within a few months or within one month even, you can get a great credit score. And, there's no better time to do it, than now. We're on a lockdown; rather than sitting binge-watching Netflix, rather spend your time constructively. Rather get your financial stuff in order because obviously, the decisions you make today are going to influence your future.
Justin Harrison (37:33)
Absolutely, couldn't agree more.
David Bester (37:35)
Okay, well, thanks for joining me on the webinar, Justin.
Justin Harrison (37:39)
Cool. It's an absolute pleasure.
David Bester (37:41)
Justin Harrison (37:43)
8 Steps To Get A Great Credit Score
Get your credit report every month to track the progress you are making. It's a process that you have to follow and track every month and not a once-off quick fix.
Analyse your credit report and look for errors. They appear far more often than you think.
Dispute the errors on your credit report with the bureaus
Stay organised in the dispute process and document all communication. Keep proof of them and mark them down in a spreadsheet.
Do not dispute more than 1 item at a time
Set up a budget and stick to it. See it as a means of increasing your net worth and not as a restrictive process. We recommend the envelope budgeting method.
Negotiate lower repayment terms with your creditors. Show them your budget and what you can afford to pay. You will be surprised how lenient some of them are - especially during the lockdown period.
Track the changes you make every month and document the positive/negative changes on your credit report. This point relates back to point 1 where we mentioned that you need to track your score every month.