A record of bad credit can stay on your credit report for anything between two years to ten years. A judgement will stay on your credit report for five years, a default for two to five years, an administration order for 10 years, and a rehabilitation order for ten years.
A bad debt record on your credit report can be very damaging, not only for your hopes of getting more credit but also your reputation with your employers. While most creditors would reject your request for more credit on the basis of a bad credit record, it is even possible that some employers would not hire you if you have such a record on your credit report.
This is why it is important for you to make sure that any unfair instances of a bad credit record is removed from your credit report as soon as its period expires. Here is how you can go about doing this.
1. Study your credit reports:
Before anything else, what you need to do is order your credit report and check if there are any instances of a bad debt in it that should not be there. This should not be very difficult because you can get one credit report from each credit bureau every year for free.
Moreover, getting information about your personal finances through your statements and comparing them to your credit report should not be that difficult either.
2. Note the relevant period of bad credit:
Each type of bad credit information has a life span in credit reports which is mentioned above. You should see the starting date of bad credit on your credit report and assess if it should have expired. This way you can know if bad credit information needs to be removed, even if it was true in the past.
3. Collate proof of its unfairness or expiry:
Once you have spotted instances of bad credit that should not be there on your credit report, you can categorically go about collating proof of the same. Go through your personal finances and find documents that prove this.
4. Contact the relevant credit bureau:
After you have all the proof ready, you should contact the relevant credit bureau with a request to remove the bad credit information that should not be in your credit report in the first place.
You can contact them through the telephone or via email but you should be prepared to send the documented proof of your claims because they will require it.
5. Get the right credit report back:
The removal of bad credit from your credit report is called a dispute. If you have provided enough documentation to prove that the bad credit instance should be removed, the credit bureau would do it willingly.
However, it is important for you to ask them to send you a corrected credit report as this would allow you to ensure that your credit report is clean. You are entitled to this which is why if you request it, your request would be honoured by all three credit bureaus in South Africa.
Wrongful instances of bad credit on your credit report can be very damaging to your future. This is why you should follow the steps mentioned above to make sure that they are removed from your credit report.
Also, you should send your corrected credit report to all the third party organisations that have requested it in the last few years.