Human rights are the universal rights to which all humans are entitled. In South Africa, we celebrate our freedom to these rights. Did you know that you have credit rights as a consumer? The National Credit Act (NCA) can be quite a scary document to tackle, so we have pulled out the most important rights that you should be aware of:
The right to apply for credit
Everyone in South Africa, regardless of race, gender, where you live, or marital status may apply for credit, and must be treated equally during the application process. Banks and providers may evaluate your application using their own evaluation method as long as it is in line with the guidelines set in the NCA – on this basis they may accept or reject your application. If you think that your application’s rejection is due to unlawful discriminatory practices, you can contact the National Credit Regulator or go to the equality court.
The right to know why credit has been refused
Your credit provider or bank must explain in writing, at your request, their reasons for:
- Reducing your existing credit limit
- Refusing to renew a renewable loan/credit (like a credit card)
- Refusing your application for an increased limit on existing loan/credit
- Offering a lower credit limit than the limit you applied for
- Refusing your application for a new loan/credit facility
If your credit report is showing incorrect information that is impacting your credit applications, your bank or provider has to tell you which credit bureau they are using and give you the contact information so that you can see what is stopping your application from being successful.
The right to receive your information in plain and understandable language
To make sure that you understand what kind of agreement you are entering into, the credit provider or bank must give you the information in simple language, simple sentence structures, uncomplicated graphics and illustrations.
The right to confidentiality
Unless you give your permission, credit bureaus, credit providers, and banks may not give out your personal information to any other party unless required by law or court order. Credit bureaus are allowed to pass on your information if they satisfy the regulations regarding prescribed purposes.
The right to a free credit report
Every year, you have the right to a free credit report, which is why Compuscan offers unlimited full free credit reports for life at www.mycreditcheck.co.za. This is where you check your financial health, and make sure that all your financial information is up to date. You have the right to dispute incorrect information, and if you can’t reach an agreement with the Credit Bureau, you are allowed to approach the Ombudsman.
Your financial well-being is in your hands, and you have the right to know what your rights as a consumer are, so that you can manage your credit responsibly.