Many South Africans are enduring financial strain with the current economic situation. An accidental missed payment on your credit card or a bounced debit order can happen to anyone. If you do not settle your outstanding debt as soon as possible then you may fear being blacklisted. You may even get a call from a collection agent threatening to blacklist you.

With South African law, the concept of blacklisting is no longer practised. It was used by some credit bureau agents to keep a record of non-payment of outstanding debt. It has created a perception that credit bureaus only keep negative information about consumers. There are positive and negative credit information held by credit bureaus. That has been valuable in identifying the behaviour of consumers in the future.

Credit Reviews

Credit reviews keep track of all your accounts and display your payment behaviour over time, especially if you missed payments on your accounts. Your low credit score can change and the “bad credit record” will not last forever. A preview of your credit profile shows how high risk you are at any point in time. Apart from missed payments, it can also indicate if you are over-indebted. This preview changes when additional information is added on to the credit bureau files.

How do you clear your credit record?

It requires some effort to fix your credit rating and restore your reputation. However, it is not impossible to restore your credit profile. Firstly you should contact your creditors to negotiate with them to reduce your monthly payments. Most will be accommodating and set up a separate payment plan for you. Be realistic when negotiating your monthly repayments – you should be able to comfortably afford it.

Monitor your outstanding credit balance closely. It will help you plan your finances and you may be able to find ways to settle your debt faster. A debt counsellor can undertake all of these activities for you and negotiate a better repayment plan with lower charges. Negative credit information is not permanent and can be remedied. Do not be misled by the concept of blacklisting which is sometimes used as a scare tactic.

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