what you will learn in this webinar
Justin Harrison 00:40
Okay, so we’ve got five people who have joined us. Good evening. Welcome to the mycreditstatus.co.za webinar. We're just sending out all the notifications via WhatsApp, as well as email, just going to give everybody a chance to quickly get on here. We are running a later schedule than normal. For the last couple of weeks in lockdown, we've been running the webinars at 09:30 in the morning and obviously, now people are back at work. We've run a survey and a lot of people are saying that they prefer to do it in the evening because of their work schedules. Hence, the slightly later than usual schedule. We'll try not to make this webinar too long because we know you guys have got families to get to and I'm sure everybody's had a long day. So, yes, please leave your comments for us and introduce yourself. If it's your first time on the webinar with us, please let us know; if you are a regular attendee, please reach out, say hello, let us know. We love seeing the names and faces of all the people on here. It's pretty exciting knowing that we're connecting with people all around the country, so, please leave your comments, let us know where you're from. And if you do have a specific question, related to your credit report, your credit profile, please type that in the comment box and we will get to those, as soon as possible.
David Bester 02:16
Yes, welcome everyone, thanks for joining us tonight. Like Justin said, please introduce yourselves, tell us where you guys are from. Just a few things to mention, before we get started; this is not going to be a very long webinar; we're basically going to show you how to use our platform, and how to make use of My Credit Status to get a great credit score. It's actually one of the most common questions that we've been getting from users is, how to use the platform and how can you actually get a great credit score by using it, so, that's the point of tonight. I'm sure that it will give you a lot of clarity in terms of the My Credit Status platform, and how we're using it. If you guys get cut off by any chance, we will be posting the replays as well; that will be going out tomorrow morning. So, let's see who's online here. Vuyisa: “Good evening”; Sifiso; Makungu; Godfrey.
Justin Harrison 03:10
I see we’ve got people from Tembisa; we've got people from Cape Town. So, welcome guys, thank you for spending the next 40-minutes or so with us. Before we get going, we're just going to give a couple more minutes for everybody to get on. I think everybody's scrambling to grab dinner, grab a coffee, put the kids on one side, grab a quiet spot in the house and so, just a little bit of background on these webinars, as we get going and we say hello to everybody here. David and I decided to start these webinars at the beginning of the lockdown. We felt that you know, we are currently the only credit reporting platform in South Africa, that is 100% focused on you guys, the users. What a lot of people don't know about the credit reporting industry, is that typically, credit reports and credit profiles are something that is shared between businesses. So, usually what happens is, your data is sent into a central location, the credit bureaus grab that information there, they generate a profile on you, and then they share that with businesses, so businesses can make a decision, on whether to grant you finance, to give you leases and all those sorts of things. And, we got into this industry about eight years ago; so, My Credit Status has been going for about eight years, and we took the decision that we were going to focus 100% on the consumer and the end-user. We feel that this has been the one very neglected part of the market, so what we decided to do, is we decided, to really sit down and create some content, and really educate people about how to manage their profiles, how to get better scores, because all of those things, will help you get finance and not only that, it’ll help you get better deals on your finance. So, that's been the motivation behind it and Dawie and I, we’re pretty scared about putting our faces out there, right at the beginning of lockdown; being on video, is not natural to us, as I’m sure you can tell?
David Bester 05:09
Especially when you are Afrikaans speaking.
Justin Harrison 05:12
"Especially when you are Afrikaans speaking" - Dawie, I don't think you've got it that bad but I've got no hair and I've got a lisp. So, you know, we're doing our best here and we really do hope that the information that we've been sharing for the last three or four months, has really been helping people. We've had some awesome, awesome, awesome feedback from users on our platform. People are saying that having joined mycreditstatus.co.za and having become a member, is probably one of the best decisions they've ever made, in terms of financial decisions during the lockdown. So, without further ado, I think that's a great point to start off from. Dawie, if you can take it away.
David Bester 05:53
Perfect. Okay, let me just get my screen up here.
Justin Harrison 06:58
Juanita, I recognise your name. You’ve definitely been here before. We’ve got a lot…
David Bester 06:05
[Inaudible] Isn’t she a member as well?
Justin Harrison 06:07
Yep. And we've got Lolo; we’ve got Makunya; we’ve got Saphile. Ja, so welcome guys, thanks for joining us. David, you’ve got your screen up, let's go through the system quickly.
David Bester 06:20
Okay. So, the most common question we get, when people ask for their credit scores is, “How do I get my credit score?” So, I'm going to start off with the basics. I'm going to start off with the front end of the site, the three sections of the site, and then I'm going to go into the member’s area and show you guys how that works. So, the first thing is the homepage. Now, this is the page, where you're going to get access to your credit score. So, first thing is, you need to enter the form here - complete the form - and you need to agree that we are allowed to actually get your details from the credit bureaus. So, in South Africa, the law states that a person has to give consent, in order for someone to pull their credit records. Even if you apply for a bond or a personal loan, if you do not give that company consent, then they are not allowed to pull your credit data. And that is actually the reason for this little checkbox here, which is to give consent for us to pull your credit data from the credit bureaus. Now, the thing is, if we pull your credit report data, it will not show up in your credit report because it's seen as a ‘soft inquiry. You get two different kinds of inquiries: you get a hard inquiry which is, if you apply for a bond or if you apply for a personal loan. And that negatively impacts your credit score, depending on how many times in a month or how often you pull up a hard inquiry. Now our system is considered a soft inquiry. A soft inquiry doesn't impact your credit score; it doesn't even show up on your credit report because you're personally looking into your own finance or your own credit score. Here are some testimonials of other people that have been using our platform. This part just explains what makes us different from the other credit report platforms out there. The most important thing is, we do not use your data to sell you any kinds of personal finance products. You will most probably notice, as soon as you start signing up for a lot of the free platforms out there, that you'll immediately start getting phone calls and offers for personal loans, credit card offers. And that's actually, the most important thing, that separates us from them is, we do not do that. We actually prefer to be completely separated from the whole financial area because we're consumer-based and consumer-focused and educational-focused.
Justin Harrison 08:47
[Inaudible] If I can just interject and add one quick point, that I think people need to be aware of. When you go in and request your report on our platform and you check the box for consent, that consents us to pull a report on your behalf. However, I just need to make it very clear. Nobody at mycreditstatus.co.za can see your individual data. As Dawie was explaining, it is a soft inquiry, which means, that you yourself, are making the inquiry; you yourself, are viewing the data. When it's a hard inquiry, it's typically a company that will be vetting you and checking your credit profile, and then, that would go on your record. However, with this being a soft inquiry, you're checking your own thing. All you're doing is, you're basically saying, “Here are my details and I consent to you, requesting my data on my behalf”.
David Bester 09:40
Correct. And then, this part simply shows our Google ratings, and if you don’t believe us, you can just type in My Credit Status, you'll see our Google ratings for yourself; you can read the reviews from other people. The next part is the education part of the site. This is the articles. There are tons and tons of articles on how to increase your credit score, the different credit score ranges. I'm not going to go into that in detail, but you will also see, that we've got finance calculators - a vehicle finance calculator, seeing what you'll be repaying; a personal loan calculator; a life insurance calculator; even a retirement, how long it will take you to become a billionaire.
Justin Harrison 10:22
Dawie, I think what makes our platform pretty unique is that a lot of the credit reporting profile platforms out there, providing people with a profile, firstly as you said, a lot of them are basically using the client's data to on-sell products. So, often, it's a bit like going on Facebook these days and you’re just bombarded with ads, right. A lot of these platforms exist and their primary source of revenue is, by selling your stuff. So, what makes mycreditstatus.co.za completely unique, is that we don't sell to you. Once you become a member of our site, we pretty much just give you, absolutely everything we can. And I think the number one thing that we have to offer... David and I, have had been in personal finance for the last 25-years and so, we bring a wealth of knowledge, in terms of, not just the holistic approach, in terms of, increasing your score and giving you the actual tips and tricks and little hacks to get a better score, but we really are focused on the holistic, financial picture. A lot of the credit reporting industry revolves around debt. So typically, people come to a platform to get their credit score because they want to make debt, they want to take on a loan. And so, what we do is, we’re not just trying to promote responsible borrowing and responsible lending, but we’re really wanting to bring about financial education. And I think that, coupled with our platform, is just an absolute win and that's why, the stuff that Dawie is showing now, about the calculators, the personal finance tips and all the stuff he's going to go through, there isn't another single platform in South Africa, that can offer this. Nobody rivals what we have to offer. I can absolutely promise you if you become a member of mycreditstatus.co.za, you're not going to regret it. In fact, you might feel a little bit overwhelmed at first, with all the information. But we’ve put everything in really neat sections, really neat categories, and you can take your time and go through it. And we've got enough testimonies from people, telling us how, in the last couple of months, even during the lockdown, people have been able to get out of debt, people have been able to increase their scores. And the stuff that Dawie is showing you, right now, is absolutely key because here's the thing. We can give you a score, but if we don't enable you to understand that score, if we don't enable you to increase your score, if we don't explain to you how you can access better finance deals with that score, then really, we're doing you a disservice. So, that is why we built the platform, the way we have.
David Bester 12:52
100%. It’s like giving someone a car but you don't teach them how to drive.
Justin Harrison 12:56
David Bester 12:59
I encourage you to go through these calculators. It's very good calculators and especially the retirement and becoming millionaire calculators; I'm sure you'll find them very interesting. I'm not going to go into each one of them because we only have that much time tonight. As Justin said, it's all laid out in very neat categories. If you want to go jump to the different categories, you can always use the sidebar here. And then, we've got podcasts as well, that are dedicated to industry players and the biggest names in the industry. We've got Laura Palmieri running these, which is our business partner in My Credit Status; she's running all the podcasts with the industry players. You'll see here, some very well-known ones: Moonstone, XDS, Debt Busters, NCR, even the Credit Ombud. If you have any issues with creditors, I highly encourage you to go listen to these podcasts. There's really good information on there, on how to deal with them. As you can see, it's all neatly laid out here. This is a recent one we did with the Credit Ombud; it basically tells you, exactly, from the Credit Ombud themselves, how to deal with companies and how to lay complaints, if you’ve got any issues. And this is Laura, right here. So, the next part is obviously the part that you are attending right now, which is our webinars. We've got a completely different section just laid out for the webinars. Here you'll see the previous webinars we did - property purchasing; how to get and stay out of debt. This was a really good one we did with a debt counsellor - registered debt counsellor and legal lawyer. I'm not going to go through each of them but there are lots and lots of tips here, that you can use for free when it comes to increasing your credit score.
Justin Harrison 14:50
I just want to add one more thing quickly, Dawie. On top of that, Dawie also recently added a subscriber-only Facebook group. That subscriber-only Facebook group is, the moment you become a member, a subscriber of mycreditstatus.co.za, you get access to an exclusive Facebook group, where you can ask Dawie and I and our business partners and our staff, one-on-one questions, specifically related to your profile, specifically related to credit status and get an answer within a very short period of time. We’re pretty active on there; it would appear that Dawie and I hardly sleep these days. But we are usually on there at least 16-hours a day, answering questions. And we've been able to help an enormous amount of people. That Facebook group is an absolute, absolute win, so you’d get access to that as well, as a paid subscriber. And I must tell you, the feedback that we're getting from people, being able to, pretty much, give them one-on-one advice, is just huge. So, please, if you do have a credit score that you're battling with, if you feel that you need to increase your score, please become a paid subscriber, go and join our Facebook group; we'll give you the details once you become a subscriber, and you'll immediately have access to myself, Dawie our business partners and all our staff, to be able to answer your questions, directly related to your credit score and your credit profile.
David Bester 16:11
Yes. I'm actually in the Facebook group, right as we speak, now and as you can see, we're pretty active on here. There are quite a lot of people asking questions here and this is where you can get one-on-one access to Justin and I. Like Justin said, what we do is, we basically answer these questions ourselves, every single day. You can even see, there’s actually a very nice comment from one of our members, Dalene. I think she's actually joining us on this webinar tonight.
Justin Harrison 16:41
[Inaudible] Ja, she’s on the webinar.
David Bester 16:45
Okay, so let's get started and start showing people the platform.
Justin Harrison 16:54
Just quickly, Dalene asks, “But it says it’s only available for 72-hours and then it's deleted?” Dalene, just to explain to you how the credit reports work. We are custodians of the data, which means that we do not own the data. The data belongs to you, the consumer. So, the moment you pull a report, what happens is, when you’re on our platform, you go there and say “request report”, which Dawie will show you in a second. The report is available on our platform for 72-hours. We are audited and checked by the National Credit Regulator, to make sure that we adhere to all the codes of ethics and conduct that they require. In addition to this, making sure that we are fulfilling our custodian role, in terms of the data. So, our custodian role only allows us to hold the data for 72-hours. However, that being said, you can download your report, you can have it emailed to you. All it means is, that report, once you pull it, is only available on our system for 72-hours. However, we can't see it, it's fully encrypted. And my advice is then, just click and download. You have an option of getting it via email; you the option of downloading it; you also have an option of sending it to a Dropbox account - lots of great options. Once you’re in there, you pull your report, even though it's only available 72-hours, once you've downloaded it, it’s yours, you can keep it. And you can get one every single month.
David Bester 18:15
Yes, it's supposed to be to safeguard you, as the consumer, as well from hackers. You guys know, a hacker these days, can log in to anything, or hack into anything. I think there was once a 14-year-old guy that hacked into the Pentagon. Nothing is impossible. And after 72-hours, your details get removed; nothing is stored on our system; nothing is stored on our servers. Your details are completely gone, which means it's completely safe.
Once you sign up as a member, this is the first page you'll see. This is your dashboard and this is just to categorise things for you, very neatly. And here’s the video where I go through the entire platform as well, explaining how it works. If you are a member, I highly encourage you to go check out this video, which shows you exactly how to make use of the platform, and the tools and features here.
The thing that you most probably want to know is the credit report. If you click on a credit report, you will see the part that Dalene just mentioned, which is the part that says your report will be deleted in 72-hours. Now, you've got the option to save it to Dropbox; you can email the report to yourself, or you can download the report. Here you'll be getting your credit score. This is a credit score; it shows you the different range class that you fall into, and it shows you the different range classes, right here. Here's a summary of your complete credit profile.
And then this part basically shows you, what you're most likely to apply for. Now, this is an estimate, there's a lot of variables that gets involved here, as well, but it's pretty accurate, based on the credit scores, and if you've got a good relationship with your banker or if you've got a good payment history, and your credit score is good enough, based on the requirements, then this part should be pretty accurate.
Next is your debt utilisation ratio. Now, this part, is the second most important part, of your credit report. I don't know why but I think, we are the only ones in South Africa, that are actually talking about the debt utilisation ratio so much. I don't know why the others don't, but this part accounts for 30% of your total credit score, so, if you only fix part alone, you're basically fixing 30% of your entire credit score, which is massive. Now, as you can see here, this part will show you where you are starting to go wrong; where it’s safe zones; where is the average; and where you start going into danger. So, below 30%, means that you are still well within your means and your credit score will be pretty good – best as it can be, according to the utilisation ratio; as soon as you go over 30%, then you start losing points on your credit score. So, it's advisable that you check your credit report, every single month, and make sure that you stay under the 30% range here. That's the problem that most people make, is they get a credit score once and then, they just leave it. They don’t monitor it monthly, and that's where the problems come, when it comes to the debt utilisation ratio and identity theft and a bunch of other errors, popping up on their credit profiles.
Justin Harrison 21:29
Dawie, if I can just interject quickly? We have done other webinars, specifically related to the debt utilisation ratio. So please, if you're not already a subscriber, go and subscribe to our YouTube channel, just click on the [subscribe] button, you'll get all our content. Go back and look at some of the previous webinars; we've got some really good content. I cannot stress the debt utilisation ratio strongly enough. If you stick within 30% of your utilisation ratio, 30% or less, in other words, if you have a facility - let's say a credit card with a limit available of R100,000 - just try and use less than R30,000 at a time. In other words, never let your balance go more than R30,000. That will keep you within a utilisation ratio of under 30%; the impact on your score is absolutely phenomenal. More importantly, besides the increase in score, it really is just good financial practice not to spend to your limits because the moment you start spending to your limits, you're going to, not only start getting into a problem with debt, but it is going to decrease your score. So, I cannot stress this enough. Please, please, please, go back and look at your debt utilisation ratio. I see Juanita came back and said you have a 0%; Juanita, I'm in the same position. I don't have any retail accounts; I don't have any credit card balances, so, I'm in the same position. It's not going to negatively impact your score. There are a lot of other things that you can do, to increase your score. This is specifically, for people who have accounts, who have facilities available. You need to get your utilisation within 30%. If you get it within 30%, you're going to see the biggest bump in your score.
David Bester 23:13
Yes. If you've got difficulty understanding what a credit utilisation score or ratio is, you can just simply click on the question mark here; the video will pop up, and there will be an explanation of this section.
Next up is, understanding your report. It's basically, explaining everything that goes on. It's also the listing explanations, and then there are some tips to improve your score, your previous addresses, your phone numbers, your previous employers, previous inquiries, and that is what I mentioned when it comes to the hard inquiries and soft inquiries. All these, are hard inquiries and this video will also explain this to you…
Justin Harrison 23:55
Okay, Dawie, if I can just add a tip there on your hard inquiries. This is really a very critical tip. If you go into a report, and you see that there are inquiries being made, that you are not aware of. So, for example, if somebody is looking into your profile to open up a Foschini account or an Edgars account, a Mr Price account and you've never been anywhere near any of those stores to open up an account, there's a very high chance that somebody has stolen your identity, there's a very high chance that somebody is trying to open up accounts in your name. One of the things, I just absolutely want to stress is, every month, look through your previous inquiries, have a look if there's any strange activity there. Identity theft is absolutely on the rise in South Africa; it is a very scary thing. This is crippling to people, financially. This is something that can absolutely break a family, financially. So please, please take the time to go and look at your previous inquiries. Make sure to look at it on a regular basis because if you don't know what's going on in there, you really need to grab it pretty quickly, before it gets out of control.
David Bester 25:03
I couldn't agree more. Next up, is your loan accounts. This is personal loans and microloans. And then, the retail accounts, which is home loans, vehicle finance, cellphone accounts.
And then, this part is the most important part of your credit report; it's your payment profile. Now, if you don't make your payments on time, then obviously, your payment profile is not going to be very good. You're going to be seeing – okay, this one has got the payment profile up to date, but this is what you want to see - that [OK] sign, right. This means that your accounts are paid on time, and you are a responsible person when it comes to handling credit. If you see red, let's say 150, in red numerical numbers, then it means that you are 150 days behind with your payment and that's what you absolutely don't want to see. Now, this part accounts for 40% of your total credit report. It is the most important part of your credit score, or on your credit profile, so make sure you spend a lot of time when it comes to this section. There’s also another video, explaining exactly how this section or that process works.
And then, this, of course, is the judgments; if you've got any judgments on your name. You will notice that this specific person has a pretty bad credit score. And that is because of the judgment. Now, if you've got a judgment, you're not going to get any finance. Make sure you sort out the judgments and make sure you get them removed.
Then - excuse me - the final part of this credit report is, the dispute generator. Now, with the click of a button, you can get an automatic dispute template generated for you, with our system and that's completely unique, from all the credit bureaus in South Africa. None of them provides this because, quite frankly, they don't want you to dispute information because it takes resources away from them.
Justin Harrison 26:58
Dawie, also, before you get going with the dispute generator; I think it's important for people to understand, traditionally, how you would generate a dispute. So, you would get a report, you would have to go through that report manually, have a look if there are any listings on the report that is inaccurate, incorrect or shouldn't be there. Then, your next step would be, to go and collect documents proving the dispute, that you're about to generate. So, in other words, you’d have to collect payment letters, proof of payment, anything that might have gone to court, paperwork – a paper trail. And then, what you would do is, you put that into a document, you’d have to get a legal template, in terms of how to generate your dispute, you'd have to put that all together, collate it, and then, you'd have to contact the credit bureau - one of the credit bureaus and then dispute it with them. Now, it is quite a lengthy process; I've done it manually in the past, three times and I must tell you, it's an absolute pain in the butt. What mycreditstatus.co.za has done is, we've taken this whole process, and pretty much automated, about 90% of it. So, what you do is, you see an adverse listing and then, you would just pretty much, select the listing you want to dispute, and you will then arrive at this page and then as Dawie will explain to you, it's a really simple process to follow.
David Bester 28:19
Yes. Let me give you a secret here. The thing that credit experts actually use the most is the errors. So, if you find an error on your report and you fix it, your score is most probably going to go up, right. Now, if it's an error, it's quite simple to fix because you just dispute the error, and get it removed. That is actually what most people use or most credit experts and credit repair agencies use, when they increase, or when they help people to increase their credit scores. They first go and look for everything that is wrong with a credit report. Now, we have discussed this in detail before, on our previous webinars, so, I highly suggest you go look back into that, and then follow the dispute processes and I'm going to show you how easy it is with My Credit Status. So, you go to the listing on your credit report, you click on the [dispute] button, it'll take you to this screen here. Now you can choose the accounts, inquiries, employers, whichever thing you want to dispute. Let's say we want to dispute this Bayport account. What do you want to accomplish? I want to have it updated or I want to have it removed. Let's say ‘remove’ because I feel that I was the victim of identity theft and I never applied for this thing. You can upload your proof if you've got any proof. Let's assume you've got an account that hasn't been paid up, it hasn’t been marked on your credit report that it’s been paid up. Then you can upload your statement, saying that you have paid up their account, and then simply click on [generate dispute letter]. This will download a dispute legal letter directly to your computer. You simply take this letter and send it off to the credit bureaus, and then you wait. The credit bureaus then have about 30-days to get back to you. If they don't, then you can threaten them with the NCR. I actually replied to one of our users’ comments on our Facebook group earlier. He said that he did not much success with the NCR; they gave him a different number. So, I told him, well, there’s actually a very simple trick to this, instead of going directly to the NCR, simply threaten the bureau that you're going to go to the NCR, because the bureaus take it very, very seriously, and they know, it's the law. So, they have to come back to you within 30-days. You will most probably get an answer quicker from the bureaus, than actually just going directly to the NCR because if you go to the NCR, you have to go through this entire process again, upload all your information, give them all the proof, and explain your situation to two or three different people. Whereas, you can just threaten the bureau, simple as that.
Justin Harrison 30:47
Ja, I think Dawie, the big take on there is, to use the leverage that there is an oversight body. What a lot of people don't quite know about the credit reporting industry at the stage is, that the National Credit Regulator has been charged, in terms of the parliamentary regulations, with overseeing all custodians of data and that would be the credit bureaus and ourselves. And so essentially, we have licensing requirements that we have to meet; there are compliance requirements we have to meet. Just as do all the other bureaus in the industry. So, when Dawie says “threaten the credit bureaus”, the thing you want to do is, you want to basically take the leverage of understanding that, there is an oversight body and say, look, guys, if you don't resolve this for me, I will have no choice but to go to the National Credit Regulator, which is the oversight body. And if you've ever done any sort of compliance in the financial industry, you will know that this is something that most businesses do not want to go through. So, if you're not getting any headway there, just say to the bureau, look, we can sort this out or I can go to the NCR. It's pretty simple.
David Bester 31:57
Ja, that actually happened to me during the level five lockdown. So, I raised a dispute with the credit bureau, and they didn't get back to me within the 30-days. I simply phoned them and told them, listen here, I know my rights, I know you guys are supposed to be getting back to me. I expect an answer soon. And she told me that they’re running behind; it's COVID time; it's lockdown and they’re understaffed. So, I just said, listen, it is what it is. You guys have got 30-days, so you need to get back to me. I think it was two hours, I got an email from them, saying that the dispute has been finalised.
Justin Harrison 32:31
David Bester 32:34
So, this little burger icon here is your menu, and you will see that it has changed a bit since you've logged into your member’s area. Not only do you see the dashboard, articles, but you also see your credit reports, and then the next part is the download section. So, here, you've got access to our book; it’s called: ‘Insider Secrets to Improve Your Credit Score’. This contains loads and loads of legal templates, that you can use to sort out judgments, to sort out late inquiries, to sort out disputes. There's a lot of, a lot of good information in there. You can download it simply, by clicking on this [download] button.
The second one is for people that prefer spreadsheets. I know there's still quite a lot of them, our CFO, doesn't like online tools; he still prefers his spreadsheets – each to their own. Here you can get a spreadsheet that you can download, that you can keep a budget on your computer. Obviously, if you've got a bad credit score, one of the most essential parts of improving your credit score, is having a budget, and making sure that you can make your payments, and pay off your accounts, so you can increase your credit score.
The next part is the financial assistance hotline. So, very few people actually know this and we haven't been punting this too much but it's actually a really awesome service to have. With this feature, you can have access to 24/7 financial assistance; you can phone up this hotline at 12 at night, three o'clock in the morning if you'd like, and you can get advice on any of the following stuff: debt advice, you can get banking advice, personal finance budgeting, even a will and tax advice. So, I think this service alone, already pays for the membership and more. This is you card that you get when you sign up.
Then, the next part is the education section. This is where we upload all the education, all the courses, that we've compiled. We've got a few lined up in the next couple of months, but this one is called: ‘20 Secrets to Increase Your Credit Score’. It’s got 20 different things you can use; it's all video templates, showing you exactly how to increase your credit score.
Then, let me go back to this part. Last but not least is, the budgeting tool. As I've explained already, a lot of people prefer online tools, such as me and a lot of people prefer spreadsheets, on their own computers. So, we've created a simple budgeting tool, that you can use to set up a budget for yourself. You can add your expenses here. You can add different expenses if it's not listed on here already. And then at the end, it will show you a budget. Obviously, I haven’t included this or I haven't completed this, so, there's nothing showing for me, right now.
And then, last but not least, is the Facebook group that Justin told you about already and that I've shown you as well. You can always go back to the dashboard, to see all the different sections here, or you can use the menu here, to navigate between the different sections. We will send mails inviting you to the Facebook group, and you can always access the Facebook group, by accessing it directly from the dashboard in your membership area.
And, that's about it. Further, are only the bottom sections here. It's the delivery policy, other policies, and then, you can always contact us by clicking on this link, over here. We've also got the social menus here, that will take you to our different social pages such as our YouTube. Speaking of which, if you are not subscribed, please hit the [subscribe] button now. This will allow you to get all these webinars, as we make them live. And that is the membership area.
Justin Harrison 36:38
Dawie, shall we take a quick couple of questions, and maybe we can do a little giveaway here? We didn't even discuss this, but I'm just watching people's questions come through here and I see a lot of people, are obviously worried about money, worried about debt, worried about financing, and what a lot of you guys might not know, on this webinar is it, David and I have both written several books on personal finance. We are listed all over Amazon, and one of the reasons why we are so passionate about the subject because, we’re running a platform like My Credit Status, and we see the problems that people are having. And so, Dawie and I decided to create a platform called Global Money Academy, and we basically teach people how to work with money, and teach people beyond their credit scores, how to just really sort out their financial situation. So Dawie, I would like to give away a couple of these books: ‘Money Secret’. And I think the way we'll do that, if anybody is a subscriber on here already, please reach out to us. David will give you an email address on the screen shortly. Please reach out to us, if you're already a subscriber and you'll get yourself a free copy of this, for free, via PDF, we'll send it to you. And if you are currently not a subscriber, just subscribe to My Credit Status as a paid subscriber today and just send us proof of your subscription. So, Dawie will just ask some questions, when you email him, and we'll get a free copy of this off to you as well. This book is very quickly becoming a bestseller, internationally. A lot of people are saying, the stuff that's in there should actually be fundamentally taught at school and I think Dawie and I really believe in the core principles, that are taught in that book, purely because we see in action, every single day, with My Credit Status, how people are falling short, financially. So, if you're a subscriber, email us at email@example.com and let us know that you're a subscriber, we'll send you a PDF version of this book, and if you become a subscriber this evening, then please just email us, with your proof of purchase and Dawie will get you set up with one of these books, immediately. I really do believe it will help you on your journey towards financial freedom because we don't want to just encourage lending and responsible lending. We also want to encourage you to become financially independent and financially free and head into retirement, comfortable, and knowing that you're going to be financially taken care of.
David Bester 39:27
Okay, I'm going to stop my screen share and then, let's answer some of the questions here from the users.
Justin Harrison 39:32
Absolutely, so we'll scroll back up to the top. Dawie, do you want to bring up the questions and let's give it 10 minutes or so. Let's answer a couple of questions if we can. And please guys, don't forget to email us, to get a copy of your book, if you are a subscriber.
Sphe from Estcourt: “How do I deal with unknown accounts on my credit score? How long does an account disappear after being paid up?” Well, that's a really good question and I think that's the mistake that a lot of us make. When you pay up an account, please, please, please, get a paid-up letter to say that you have paid that account. That’s the most important thing, that you have documented proof. Having documented proof will help you to get the listings updated. Now, if you haven't got a paid-up letter, it's as simple as going back to wherever you had the account. Tell them that the account’s been paid up; give them proof of payments, if they need it again and just ask them to send you a letter. Once you have that letter in hand, go onto mycreditstatus.co.za system, click on the actual listing, where you have an issue, and go and click [dispute], provide that paid-up letter as part of the supporting documentation, and the credit bureau has 20-working days to remove your listing. If they don't remove your listing within 20-working days, you can then follow up with them, and they are under obligation. If they cannot come back and dispute the information you're providing, they are under obligation to remove that listing. Okay, I think Dawie is frozen a bit there, so I’ll just take the next few questions on my own. Just scrolling through here, if you've got questions, please leave them in the comment section; I'll try and address those in the last couple of minutes that we have left.
Makungo - I hope I said that correct – “I'm struggling with my credit score due to my personal information that has been updated wrong”. Once again, all you have to do, go to our dispute generator on mycreditstatus.co.za, click on the [dispute] button, and then just fill out the contact information, fill out the information that you need to provide, it will generate the dispute for you, it will send it off to the relevant bureau, and your information should be updated. Again, as I said to the previous user, you pretty much have 20-days for the credit bureau to basically action that information and if they don't, they are within 20-days to basically update that listing. Let me just add you back here, Dawie. I see you lost your connection for a bit.
Okay, one or two last questions and comments from Thobeka: “How do I ensure that the information on my credit score is correctly captured? My house was auctioned in 2016, and the amount reflected on my report is still showing the original amount.” Thobeka, I think the thing that's really important, that you need to make sure of; I mean, even if the account is listed on your profile, that's not the end of the world. What is important is the actual status of the account. Is the account showing paid-up? Is the account showing settled? Is it showing outstanding? If the account is not showing as paid-up, so, you may have paid-up accounts showing on your profile and that's absolutely fine; that's not going to harm you in any way. But if the account is showing as outstanding; if it’s showing that there’s debt on that account, then what you need to do is, you need to go back to the bank; you need to confirm the sale, the auction, get all the documented proof. And then, what you need to do is, generate a dispute. What we find at mycreditstatus.co.za is that more than 80% of users, do in fact, have incorrect listings on their profile. It may be something as simple as an account that you’ve paid up, it may be an address that is wrong, it may actually be an account that you've ever had, that is on your profile by mistake – things happen, data gets shifted around that are, unfortunately, incorrect. So, it is your responsibility to make sure that the profile is accurate for you. So, if there is an inaccuracy and if there is something wrong, all you have to do, get the documented proof, dispute it, and then, allow 20 working days for it to be updated. If it hasn't been updated, go back to the bureau and put some pressure on them.
Dalene, I maybe missed your questions here: “Where do I go to activate a debit order when I log in?” I think this may be related to our service. Please comment below, in case I'm getting it wrong but we currently don't offer debit orders as an option for payment. We currently do most of our payments via EFT, or alternatively through credit card.
Godfrey, you want to know: “How do you increase your credit score because it's weak”. Godfrey, there's a lot of information on our YouTube channel, please go and check the previous webinars. We've got a webinar specifically dedicated to how to improve your credit score. But in a nutshell, what you really need to look at: make sure your good financial citizen; make sure you're paying your accounts on time; make sure that you are, in fact, within your debt utilisation ratio; and try not to open too many accounts, at the same time. That should pretty much help you get your score in the right direction. Once you become a paid subscriber of mycreditstatus.co.za, all you have to do is, come to our Facebook group and ask us questions. You can also ask questions specifically related to your profile and we will try and guide you as best as possible. There's a number of people who, at the beginning of lockdown, started listening to our webinars, and within the lockdown period, they have seen their credit scores go from very weak, to very strong. So, you know, the information definitely does work; you just have to follow it.
Makungu, who asked a question earlier: “My accounts have been paid-up in the last two months but nothing has changed, and it's affecting my score badly”. Again, all you have to do, get a paid-up letter, prove that the accounts have been paid. And then just, go and list a dispute, so that that can be updated. Also, something to appreciate, with regards to your data: all of the credit bureaus, basically draw the data of a central database known as SACRRA. Now, your data will go in there and whether your data comes to us or TransUnion or Experian or wherever it goes to, it's all coming from the same central location, and sometimes there is a slight delay. I usually say, allow 90-days for your profile to update; if it doesn't update automatically and your score is still low, my suggestion then, if you have been taking the appropriate actions, is to go and list a dispute.
So, I'm going to take one or two last questions or comments here, and we've already gone over 45 minutes. I really don't want to take up your time too much, and I do value your time here this evening, on the webinar. I know you guys have got families to get to; I know everybody's got stuff to do. So, I'll just try and take the last few questions and comments. If you do have a last question or comment, that we haven't covered yet. Please, just bomb in the comment section and I'll try to answer as quickly as possible.
So, Des asks: “How long does it take your credit score to increase?” Des, the answer is, how long is a piece of string? It really depends on your profile. It really depends on your individual situation. But typically, if you do the big things first, and you sort those things out, and your listings are corrected, and you get your debt utilisation ratio intact; you should start seeing a movement on your score, within two to three months, and you should certainly see major improvements by month three if you are following things correctly. But this is something you need to sit on; you cannot just do something and then walk away, and hope for it to increase. This is something you have to work on all the time. And so, Dawie and I are really focused on teaching financial responsibility and teaching people how to be good financial citizens because, ultimately, this is what lenders want to see. I absolutely think that you should see movement within 60-days. But, please, please, please take the time to sit and look at your report every month; there's no use you look at one month, you don't look at it the next month. It's a bit like budgeting; it's something you have to sit down and do, all the time. It is absolutely important.
One last question or comment. “I called five times and every time I have a problem logging into my account. I want to change my username and password”. I am guessing this is related to our system, although, a lot of people sometimes confuse us with the TransUnion or Experian, so please just make sure, it’s specifically related to our service. If you’ve forgotten your username or password, there's a little link underneath where you log in that says, [reset my username and password], and you can get access, almost immediately.
David Bester 49:16
Yes. So, let me bring this up quickly. When you go to My Credit Status and you go to the login form, right. Sorry, I'm having troubles today with my internet connection; for some reason, I cannot get it.
Justin Harrison 49:40
I think your connection is a little bit slow at the moment. [Inaudible] But anyway, on the login screen, you'll see, there is a little link there, where you can reset your username and password. And please, if you do have a problem at any time, you can access our support desk at firstname.lastname@example.org, we are there 24/7. We've got staff working around the clock. We're not an eight hour a day operation; we work 24-hours a day. Sometimes, we may take a little bit longer than a couple of hours to get back but that's just because of the sheer volume of people, that are on our system. But Dawie and I are always, always committed to helping you guys. We really want to empower you guys; we want to help you guys make the most of your scores; we want to help you guys make the most of your finances. This is not just about your credit profile; this is not just about your score. This is about you guys becoming financially independent. We want to see a better South Africa; we want to see a brighter future, for everybody in this economy, and we believe the way to do that is to empower people financially. So, from our side, thank you very much for attending the webinar this evening. We’ll leave it on that note. If you do have questions, you've got our email address. Become a subscriber, get yourself a copy of one of our books, and we really do look forward to helping you. So, from my side, tot siens; hamba kahle; sala kahle, until next time.
David Bester 51:06
Cheers guys. See you again in two weeks.