Johannesburg - In these difficult times it is more important than ever to keep your credit slate clean.
Barrett Whiteford, head of marketing at First National Bank's credit card division, points out that it can take up to five years to clean up your credit record if a judgment has been issued against you. During this period you will not be able to access further credit.
"We recommend that consumers who have mismanaged credit, no matter how small, must make a continuous effort to restore their good names." By last March credit bureaux were handling almost 8 000 disputes.
"It is important that consumers realise they are fully entitled to credit information relating to themselves." According to Whiteford, consumers should try to discharge their debts as quickly as possible. At the end of the process it is to the consumer's advantage to get a letter from the creditor that he or she is entirely debt-free.
"The better your financial reputation, the more likely the bank will be to lend you money."
FNB has the following advice for consumers:
Identify any negative reports against your name at a credit bureau.
Immediately rectify any incorrect information.
Pay as much as possible off on your credit and store cards.
If you are in a financial jam, don't try to ignore the problem.
Contact your creditors and the bank and set up a repayment plan. Don't wait for a judgment against you.
The credit bureaux will examine your financial record when you apply for credit. They also have a comprehensive record of your loan history.
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