Yes, it is very much possible to clear your name with credit bureaus. Although it might not be an easy road ahead, it is worth it for your financial future if you can get yourself on the right side of the credit bureaus. Once all your debt has been settled and you are up to date on your bond payments, you will be issued a clearance certificate. You can make additional payments to your credit providers to get your debt paid off quicker.

What is a Debt Review?

Debt Review is a process introduced by the National Credit Act (NCA) to help over-indebted South Africans become debt-free. Only consumers who have successfully registered with a National Credit Regulator (NCR) approved debt counsellor, such as Debt Rescue, can be placed under Debt Review.

Just like it was stated above, once you have settled all your debts and received your clearance certificate, your debt counsellor is mandated by law to notify the credit bureaus. The bureaus are then legally expected to remove the ‘under debt review’ flag from your credit profile within 21 business days of being notified that you are no longer under debt review.

If you are considering how to clear your name from debt review after withdrawing from the process, the same will apply. Howbeit, remember that your credit record will still show your payment and default history for five years. If you have a history of not repaying your debts or still have a lot of outstanding debt to pay, you will likely be denied access to credit.

Also know that every time a credit provider runs a credit check on you, it will show that you were under debt review but cancelled the process before you have settled your debts. Withdrawing from the process will show that you are not committed to becoming debt free, which will more or less lead to credit providers rejecting your credit applications going forward.

However, if you have settled your debts and received a clearance certificate, your credit application should not be rejected on the basis of you having undergone debt review. If your application is denied, it would be advisable to draw a copy of your credit report to check that the bureaus have in fact removed the ‘under debt review’ flag from your profile.

Have it in mind that you can easily pull one free credit report yearly at any of the credit bureaus, i.e. TransUnion, Experian etc. and, if the bureaus have not removed the flag, it will be displayed on the front page of your credit report. In such a scenario, you can contact the credit bureau dispute centre and ask them to investigate why they have not received the clearance certificate or updated your credit report.

How to Clear Your Name from Debt Review in South Africa

Unfortunately, in accordance with the NCR, you won’t be able to get your name removed from debt review if you have a court order in place without making an application to exit the process. Credit bureaus in South Africa are registered businesses that obtain, record, collate and maintain credit information. This is done corresponding with your ID number.

Note that the information they obtain provides a picture of how you conduct yourself when you take on a debt. The bureaus make their services available to other businesses. For a fee, they provide a retailer a report about your credit habits and status. However, if you’ve been blacklisted, here are some ways to clear your name:

  1. Pay the Debt

Note that the first and easiest way is to approach the business to whom you owe money and settle the account. Most times, you can negotiate a settlement with them. Afterward, you can ask your creditor to write a letter to the credit bureaus exonerating you of the debt because you’ve paid it.

The credit bureau will then delete the blacklisting. In South Africa, the creditor is, by law, not obliged to write such a letter. Always remember to make the letter part of your negotiations by means of a written contract or agreement. When you agree to pay the debt, make it conditional upon the creditor issuing the notice to the credit bureaus. If you feel you need help, consult an attorney.

  1. Go into Debt Counselling

Debt counselling and consolidation is simply a route to settling outstanding debts if you cannot pay them immediately. Howbeit, be warned; use a reliable and established company. A lot of fly-by-night debt counselling businesses will take your money and not pay your debts.

Check out the track record of a company before you approach them. Once you have consolidated your debts, keep track of them to make sure they’re being paid. It will take you longer, but your debts will eventually be paid. Then you can have your creditors write a letter to the credit bureaus absolving you of all debt obligations.

  1. Check out your Report

If you have been blacklisted and you feel it is unfair, you can approach the Credit Bureau Association (CBA).

Their postal address is:

PO Box 2146

Pinegowrie

2123

Their email address is:

[email protected]

Their phone number is:

(011) 463 8218

Their physical location is:

The Campus

Twickenham Building

Ground Floor

Corner Main and Sloan Streets

Bryanston

Johannesburg

Conclusion

People who incur unnecessary debt find themselves in a position where they are no longer able to service those debts. Failure to pay debts has long-term consequences. Your name will be registered with the credit bureaus. Failure to pay debts leads to blacklisting which affects your ability to apply for credit. If you are blacklisted, settle the outstanding debt and get your creditor to write to the credit bureau.

Always remember that the best way to keep your name away from credit bureaus is to service your debts. You can’t get a loan without a debt record. This simply means that you need to incur debts to show you can be responsible and pay them off. If you can’t pay the debt, don’t bury your head in the sand; get help before you are blacklisted.

Ajaero Tony Martins