How to Look After Your Credit Rating

A DirectTalk with Leigh-Anne Swartz by DirectAxis

If you were faced with the opportunity of a lifetime, would you go for it?

Leigh-Anne Swartz didn’t have to think about this question for too long when she found out her children – who live with their father in Greece – would be coming down to South Africa for a visit. The moment she found out, she whipped out her credit card and bought their tickets, and she’s never looked back.

Being separated from your loved ones can be incredibly difficult, so when Leigh-Anne had the chance to treat her sons to a proper Cape Town holiday, she didn’t hesitate. Luckily, her good credit standing made it possible for her to spend a little more on her credit card than she usually would, and with it she made sure her family had the best possible time.

In Leigh-Anne’s words: “Credit teaches you discipline, it teaches you to manage your money and budget, and if you look after it, credit can be there when you need it most.” If you’d like to know how to improve or maintain your credit record, follow some of Leigh-Anne’s tips!

  1. Find out what your credit rating is. You can check it at DirectAxis Pulse and once you know this number you can start planning and figuring out what you need to do to improve or maintain it.
  2. There’s no such thing as a credit blacklist, just a bad credit record, which will affect your ability to access future credit. But there is always hope, and if you’ve got a bad credit score, there are steps you can take to build it back up again.
  3. Pay your bills on time. Plan your budget around the bills you need to pay, and make sure you always pay them first. Defaulting on any payment could affect your credit report, and your credit score as a result.
  4. Keep your credit card spending low. If you have a credit card, keep your spending conservative so that you can afford to make the repayments. To keep a good score you won’t need to repay the full amount you spent each month, as long as you always make the monthly minimum amount.
  5. Manage your debt well. Consider consolidating your debt into one payment or speaking directly to the creditor to make alternative arrangements if you’re struggling to make the monthly repayments.

Good credit can be like a safety net that catches you when you need it most and looking after it means you’ll be okay if you need money in an emergency, or unexpected situation. Discover more on why your credit rating is important

Check out Direct Talk for more stories on life, money and everything in between.


Pulse is a FREE financial wellness tool that allows you to check and improve your credit rating.

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DirectAxis is a business unit of FirstRand Bank Limited, an Authorised Financial Services and Registered Credit Provider, NCRCP20. Direct Axis SA (Pty) Ltd, Reg no. 1995/006077/07, an authorised Financial Services Provider, FSP7249 & FSP5. 108 De Waal Road, Diep River 7800.

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An illustrative example of a loan at an interest rate of 24.50% per annum would be: Loan amount R50 000 plus a once-off initiation fee of R1 207.50 and a monthly admin fee of R69.00, over 72 months.

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