Do you want to know how to increase your credit score in South Africa? Stick around because, in this video, I will discuss five super easy techniques that you can use to increase your score. I will be dropping some gold nuggets in each of them, so make sure that you have a pen and paper handy to take notes.
1. get your credit report
Okay, this might seem pretty obvious, right? Duh, of course, if you want to fix your credit score, you need to get your credit report. Let me tell you something that will blow your mind - we get asked every day by thousands of people to help them increase their credit scores; however, when we ask them if they have pulled a credit report yet, almost 90% of them reply they have not.
Imagine going for a consultation with the doctor. You feel a bit under the weather, and you schedule a consultation with your GP, but you refuse to tell him what is wrong with you. Guess what… your GP will not know how to diagnose you.
Well, the same is valid for credit scores. First, you need to get your credit report. The next step is to analyse it and find the problem areas within it. And now we are going to get to the exciting part. Now I will show you how to pull apart that credit report and unlock the key aspects that will increase your score.
So, according to news sources, about 1 out of every five people have errors on their credit reports that hurts their scores. To put it into perspective for you - there is a 25% chance that you have errors on your report that are causing your credit score to suck!
Well, how can this be? Simple - creditors report data to an organisation called SACRRA. SACRRA distributes this information to the different credit bureaus in South Africa, who then calculates a credit score.
So essentially, all the bureaus get the same data. However, if a creditor makes a mistake, it ends up on your credit report and hurts your credit score.
Let me give you an example. Let’s assume you have an account with company A which has been outstanding for a few months, causing your credit score to go down the toilet. You get a bonus and decide to pay the full balance.
Now let’s assume this same month, Company A has technical difficulties and doesn’t inform the credit bureaus about your payment to settle your account. (because you know - these technical difficulties happen every day, just like our current power outages).
Now, because of the technical problem and company A not informing the credit bureau, your credit report still shows that you are deeply behind on your payments. Therefore, this error is causing your credit score to suck!
This is a straightforward example, but it’s an issue that happens daily. So the big takeaway and the easiest way to increase your credit score are getting a credit report and fixing the errors. This will cause your credit score to skyrocket overnight. If you like this tip - please hit the like button below this video now. It will help a lot in the YouTube algorithm to get this content out to the masses.
2. Make sure your payments are up to date
Your repayment profile accounts for around 40% of your total credit score calculation, so it has the most significant effect on your credit score.
If you can remove incorrect listings that we spoke about in technique number 1 from your payment profile, which many people have, you can immediately increase your score. You can see if you have any inaccurate listings by doing a credit score check at MyCreditStatus.co.za.
Suppose you don’t have incorrect listings, but you have accounts where you have been behind on your payments. What do you do now?
In that case, you can have it removed if the creditor listed them illegally, or you can negotiate with your creditor to have it removed.
That’s a massive secret I just revealed there, and no one talks about this - ever! Your creditor can remove listings from your credit report. This means that you can negotiate a repayment plan with them to have it removed. You see - despite what you might think - the credit bureaus are only the custodians of the data on your credit report. The creditors are the ones who own the data. This means that if they want to remove it from your credit report, then they certainly can. And you have the power to negotiate this outcome with them.
3. Reduce your credit utilisation ratio
Your credit utilisation accounts for 30% of your total credit score, which means it's the second most significant factor in your credit score calculation.
So what exactly is your credit score utilisation?
To make it very simple - it's the percentage of the money you use available to you from your credit card facility.
For instance, let's assume you have an R10,000 credit facility, and you only use R1,000 of that facility. Then you are using 10% of your total credit facility because R1,000 from R10,000 is 10%.
So here is a simple tip that will increase your score almost overnight. If you simply reduce your credit utilisation to 30% or less, then you can significantly increase your credit score in a few days.
You know - it’s funny how we don’t learn this stuff in school. It’s the basics of personal finance, yet not even our teachers are aware of it.
4. Build up age on your accounts
Creditors like to see a history of how well you have been paying your accounts, so it's only logical that they want to see open accounts on your credit profile.
This is a long-term process, so it's better if you start right now than starting later and losing time.
Contrary to popular belief, many people think they need to take out debt to accomplish this, but it's not true.
Accounts as simple as a telephone account or insurance will give you the same results since most of them post your payment behavior to the credit bureaus.
I see some of the most respected financial influencers in South Africa telling people to take out different credit lines to increase their credit scores. What a bunch of crap! It saddens me that the people we look up to can give us such damaging advice.
I have no debt, and I have an excellent credit score. What I do have, however, is I have a Telkom month-to-month internet account that posts to the credit bureaus. My insurance provider also reports payment behavior to the credit bureaus. This means that I have two credit lines that aren’t debt and enough to give me an excellent score.
I am saying that you don’t have to make debt to get an excellent credit score. You simply need accounts that will post your payment behavior to the credit bureaus.
I bet you have never heard this before, right? So next time some financial guru tells you to make debt please refer them to this video. I am living proof that this is not the case. Now I listed two accounts of mine showing up on my report; if you have any other accounts popping up, please let me know in the comments below. Let’s help each other by putting together a list of companies that post to the credit bureaus without having you take out any debt.
5. Limit your credit inquiries
Credit inquiries are creditors looking into your credit profile.
For instance, if you apply for any kind of finance, the creditor will perform a credit check on you, which is an inquiry.
If you apply for lots of inquiries often, you will get penalised, and as a result, it will damage your credit score.
In South Africa, we get hard inquiries and soft inquiries. A soft inquiry doesn’t show up on your credit report. An example of this is you requesting your credit score.
An example of a hard inquiry is when you apply for finance such as a home loan, personal loan, or credit card.
And there we go - those are the five simple and easy techniques to increase your credit score in South Africa.
So let's recap.
To increase your credit score, you must:
- Get your credit report and remove those errors.
- Fix your repayment profile
- Reduce your credit utilisation ratio
- Build up age on your accounts
- Limit your credit inquiries
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