DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE BEEN BLACKLISTED OR HAVE BAD CREDIT?

The term "blacklisting" or "blacklist" is a term still widely used among South African consumers. "Blacklist" is a misleading term, a category that dates back to when credit bureaus only kept negative information.

Now credit bureaus hold both positive and negative data, the combination of which has proved immensely beneficial in predicting the future behavior of consumers. Today, it simply means that you have an account with a particular credit service provider who makes use of credit bureau services.

Often credit checks bring up long-forgotten bad credit decisions, but that low credit rating can change. As hopeless as the situation may seem, bad credit won't last forever. Your credit profile is a "snapshot" of how risky you appear to be at any particular point in time. The snapshot changes as new information is added to your bank and credit bureau files.

That's good news for consumers with less-than-perfect credit. Even if you've mishandled credit in the past, you can build up your credit worthiness by handling credit more responsibly, both now and in the future.

You can enhance your credit report if you know what it contains. Although you can’t rewrite history, there are steps you can take to improve your rating. Contact your lenders. They will work with you to set up a different payment schedule or interest rate. Ignoring the situation will only add to your problems. It never hurts to ask. Pay your bills on time. If you have an overdue bill, an unpaid debt, pay it off. Set up a budget, and live within it.