In this week’s feature we explore why your credit report is essential in debt management and why managing your credit status can contribute positively to your financial wellness.
What is a credit report?
When you apply for credit, whether in the form of higher purchase at a store or a loan at a bank and any other credit provider, you will be requested to provide an ITC report as a part of the Know-Your-Customer (KYC) process.
An ITC report is information about your credit history that a credit bureau maintains. This includes your details like names, ID, addresses, previous employment, your account history and history of your paying habits, indicating whether you pay your creditors on time.
It is essential to maintain a good credit report because organisations that provide credit use this information to gauge your level of risk before providing you with credit. The report also enables them to determine whether to approve your credit application.
Your credit report can also allow you to get a better interest rate if you are considered a lower risk, which can put money back into your pocket. It is essential to regularly review your credit report to ensure that the information is accurate and represents your credit history. If anything is incorrect, it should be fixed to ensure it will not affect you in the future.
Maintaining a good credit status
You can maintain a good credit report by ensuring that you pay your instalments on time as this reflects on your credit report. Always make sure that once you finish paying any accounts, the account is closed.
You can request a credit report from any post office in Botswana: your identification and a small fee are required. Any disputes on your credit fee can be logged with the credit bureau to ensure your credit report is accurate at all times. A simple oversight like not checking your credit status can affect you negatively financially. Still, in addition to these, there are other good practices you can engage in to manage your credit.
- Keep the frequency of your credit to a minimum. Interrogate whether you need credit before taking it. Where possible, delay gratification and instead save for or layby your goods,
- Save for a deposit to reduce the amount of credit you need, enabling you to pay a lower interest on your loan.
- If you have run into problems paying your loans, ensure that you speak to your credit provider. Credit providers are usually willing to provide alternative arrangements to enable your leeway to clear your loan.
Surround yourself with experts or people who possess the knowledge to assist you achieve financial well-being. Have a financial advisor to help review your financial plan and help you take care of your financial affairs. Article by Bakang Pearce – Business Development Manager at Old Mutual Life Insurance.
In the next instalment, we explore the secrets of the lion.
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