The role of Credit Bureaus
Credit bureaus collect personal and business information from various types of data sources, including financial institutions, non-bank lenders, telecommunication companies, courts, insurance companies, the South African Credit Risk and Reporting Association (“SACRRA”), the Department of Home Affairs (“DHA”), the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (“CIPC”) and all other sources, as permitted in section 70(2)(a) and (b), section 70(3)(b) and Regulation 18 (7) of the National Credit Act, 34 of 2005 (“NCA”). This information is then collated, merged and analysed to form a comprehensive credit and/or financial history record for each consumer. Reports containing all or part of this information are then sold to lenders and other companies for assessment of risk in the provision of credit and for other purposes permitted and prescribed in terms of the NCA. Third parties are only allowed to access this information held if they have a lawful or permitted purpose as set out in the Regulation 18 (4) of the NCA, or where the explicit consent of the consumer has been provided.
The NCA requires all credit providers to provide credit information to credit bureaus in terms of Regulation 19 (13). Furthermore, the NCA requires all credit providers to access the records of the credit bureau prior to the granting of credit to any consumer in terms of Regulation 23A. Credit information includes both negative and positive information about a consumer, and includes, but is not limited to: information relating to identity and contact details, account information, payments and repayments, microloans, previous enquiries conducted on a consumer, information available publicly (such as court judgments), accounts which are in default, other adverse behaviour, collection efforts, debt restructuring or rescheduling information, disputes, fraudulent behaviour, property or deeds data and/or other assets held.
Once the provisions of PoPIA become effective, credit bureaus will also be governed by the provisions of PoPIA and in addition to the rights afforded a consumer in terms of the NCA, you will also be provided with rights in terms of PoPIA as set out below.
Your right to access personal information and credit and credit records
The Protection of Personal Information Act, 4 of 2013 (“PoPIA”) provides you with a right to establish whether a Credit Bureau holds your personal information and to request access to these records (personal information) held by a Credit Bureau.
- Access to Personal Information in terms of PoPIA
When you request confirmation from a Credit Bureau as to whether it holds personal information about you; records of your personal information held on a Credit Bureau; or changes to your personal information due to inaccuracy of the information held on the Credit Bureau; you must provide:
- Your full name
- Your ID/passport number
- Proof of residence;
- A description of the personal information that you seek to be provided to you; and
- How you would like to receive the information (eg. a letter, email or SMS).
A Credit Bureau will, within 30 (thirty) days, provide you with a response to the requests referred to in 2 above in the manner indicated by you.
- Right of refusal
There are circumstances in which a Credit Bureau may refuse your request for information. You will be notified within 30 (thirty) days, or if an extension is required to deal with your request, within a further period of not more than 30 (thirty) days, whether your request has been refused.
- Credit Reports and Charges
A credit report contains your personal information processed by a Credit Bureau. You are entitled to request a free copy of your credit report once a year.
- Right to dispute your Credit Report
Please see the credit report and dispute section of our website