Incorrect information on your Credit Report? Challenge it

Many consumers are unaware that the information in their credit report is inaccurate until it is too late – when they are either refused credit for which they have applied; or when the credit provider offers them credit on less favourable terms than they would otherwise have received. A simple solution to the problem was to check your credit report regularly. This is particularly necessary before applying for credit to purchase a big-ticket item such as a home, car or furniture; or even before applying for a credit card or to increase your credit limit on any of your existing accounts. According to the latest available Credit Bureau Monitor, just less than 0.4% of the over 23-million credit active consumers obtained a free copy of their credit reports in the three months reviewed by the Monitor. This is despite the fact that every consumer is entitled to one free copy of their credit report from credit bureaus like TransUnion every 12 months. “Because your credit report summarises your financial behaviour such as whether you regularly pay the full instalment on your accounts on time, inaccurate information in your credit report could paint a picture of your financial health that is not true,” she explained. Information contained in a credit report is provided to the various credit bureaus by various service providers such as, but not limited to, financial institutions, retail stores, insurers and cell phone companies. Mistakes can be made. Consumers who regularly check their credit report are in a better position to make sure their report accurately reflects their credit history and behaviour. Then, if you find a mistake or information you don’t agree with, you can immediately take the matter up with the credit bureau. This is what is known as lodging or submitting a dispute.” When submitting a dispute, it is important to provide the credit bureau with as much supporting documentation as possible to prove that the disputed information on your credit report should be removed. A lack of supporting documentation can result in a delay in resolving the issue. Lodging a dispute with the credit bureau who issued the credit report is easy. If you received your credit report from TransUnion, this is the process to follow to submit a dispute:

  1. Call the TransUnion call centre on 0861 886 466 to lodge your dispute; or you can log your dispute online at www.transunion.co.za .
  2. You must log your dispute within three months of issue of the credit report that you are querying.
  3. Complete the Challenge Form, and submit it.
  4. A TransUnion call centre agent will contact you and give you a TransUnion reference number.
  5. Submit all your supporting documentation to TransUnion, including proof of ID and address.
  6. TransUnion will investigate your complaint. This will be completed within 20 working days.

If any changes have occurred on your credit report – for example, if information on your report needs to be updated or amended – TransUnion will send you an updated credit report.