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To enable each one of us to clean up our “Credit Act” or Credit Rating, we need to understand the definition of Credit.
The act of lending from a financial institution or purchasing an article on hire purchase is defined as “confidence” in a potential borrower’s ability and intention to repay either the loan or the item purchased over an agreed period.
Thus our willingness to repay and the history that our Credit Bureaus have on our repayment behaviour are the pivotal reasons a financial institution will agree to extend credit to a prospective client.
There are 2 dominant Credit Bureaus in SA that financiers utilize to obtain this information from; Trans Union and Experian.
These two bodies are now joining forces, and financiers will be able to access both bureaux on a single view - this initiative is called Project Evolution, and will be rolled out fully in the next 2 years.
This means only one thing: we all need to take responsibility for how we manage our debt. In the future it will become almost impossible for us to own, homes, cars, furniture or rent a property if we do not start cleaning up our credit behaviour.
When a prospective client approaches an Estate Agent to purchase a property the following advice can prove invaluable:
Ask the client to obtain his /her credit record from one of the Credit Bureaus above, this will give a good indication of how the client handles their accounts and pays their debts.
Very often the credit score an individual has will determine the extent to which a financier will be willing to lend.
In the case of a bond application, this factor will dictate the size of the bond and deposit that a financial institution like us would require in order for a bond approval to be given.
The manner in which one conducts the timeous repayment of one’s debts on a monthly basis is also the most important indicator of the payment behaviour of the prospective client we are dealing with.
A financial institution like ourselves relies on the historical performance of debt repayment, since we do not have other retail banking products to make an informed decision on the client’s likelihood to repay their bond instalments regularly and reliably. .
The other factor behind the usage of Credit Bureau information is that it has been proven in the financial industry that people who default on their accounts regularly are more likely to default on their bond repayments as well, which could lead to litigation to recoup the loss.
It is a misconception that it is a simple process to repossess a house where the owner defaults on their payments: the process is a lengthy one and can take more than a year to finalize. In this time, not only does the bond instalment fall behind, but in addition, the interest on the loan as well as the rates and taxes continue to accrue on the property, leaving the financier with a loss that is sometimes much larger than the value of the property.
From the above, it is quite clear how important it is to manage one’s debts responsibly, not to overextend oneself and to make payments on all accounts on or before the due date.
According to many financial planners, the first step to financial freedom is being debt free, herein lays the secret to cleaning up one’s credit act. Individuals struggle to get to this step because they continually increase their debt burden the moment their incomes increase.
Instead exercise this pearl of wisdom: break the debt cycle by limiting your debt and paying it off quicker as your income increases. If you can manage to put this into practise you will be 80% of the way to financial freedom and successfully building an investment portfolio.
These tips will ensure that one can obtain finance with very little difficulty, should it be required.
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