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The Removal of Adverse Consumer Credit Information Regulations kicks off in April Print E-mail
Monday, 31 March 2014

The removal of adverse consumer credit information and information relating to paid up judgments, commonly referred to as the “credit amnesty”, will be implemented from 1 April 2014.

From this date, all registered credit bureaus (listed below) will have to remove adverse consumer credit information.

The adverse consumer credit information that credit bureaus will have to remove from 1 April 2014 includes:

1)      Subjective classifications of consumer behaviour such as: delinquent, default, slow paying, absconded or not contactable;

2)      The adverse classification of enforcement action, i.e. those that are related to enforcement action taken by credit providers including classifications such as: handed over for collection or recovery, legal action or write off;

3)      Details and results of disputes lodged by consumers irrespective of the outcome of such disputes; and

4)      Adverse consumer credit information contained in the payment profile represented by means of any mark, symbol, sign or in any manner or form.

Paid up judgments, which means civil court judgment debts, including default judgments where the consumer has settled the capital amount under the judgment, should also be removed from the credit bureau records from 1 April 2014, says Nomsa Motshegare, CEO of the National Credit Regulator (NCR).

Consumers are therefore urged to approach credit bureaus to check their credit records and to settle amounts owed on judgments as quickly as possible so that they can benefit from the process.

Motshegare says the main purpose of the removal of adverse consumer credit information is to allow consumers to start with a clean slate. “We want to encourage them to maintain a clean credit record to allow them to regain access to affordable credit, rental accommodation and employment. This initiative does not seek to remove the consumers’ obligations to repay their debts, but rather seeks to create the incentive for consumers to repay their debts more diligently and in a more timely fashion.”

The payment profile on the consumer’s credit report will remain, Motshegare confirms. Only adverse consumer credit information contained in the payment profile represented by means of any mark, symbol, sign or in any manner or form will be removed. The payment profile information remains to assist credit providers when assessing consumers’ applications for credit.

Consumers should check their credit reports to see if they are eligible for the removal of adverse consumer credit information and information relating to paid up judgments. If consumers find that they have judgments on their credit reports, they should settle the debts first and then send the proof of payment to the credit bureaus. This will allow the credit bureaus to first verify and then remove the information where applicable.

A credit record contains information to assist a consumer in keeping track of his or her payments on a monthly basis, which in turn helps him / her to manage his / her debts better in the future. The consumer is, by law, entitled to one free credit report per year, and consumers are urged to get the free credit reports from any of the registered credit bureaus. There are 13 registered credit bureaus.

“It is important to note that this is not a credit amnesty and irrespective of the removal of adverse consumer credit information from a consumer’s credit record, the consumer remains liable to meet his or her obligations in terms of the credit agreement/s”, concludes Motshegare.

 

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