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Be Certain of Your Credit Score in Uncertain Times

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‘May you live in interesting times,’ is said to be an English translation of a Chinese curse.  

Whatever the expression’s origin, rapidly changing local and global events, borne out by news headlines and our own lived experience, suggest we’re living through a troubling, but remarkable time in history.

When things change quickly, you’re bombarded with information and you’re not always sure what’s true or accurate. It’s more difficult to make decisions, especially those that might have long-term financial implications.

That’s when it’s sensible to stick to the basics and the things you can control. One of these is your credit score.

Why is my credit score important?

Your credit score is one of the most important pieces of financial information about you. It determines whether people or companies, from landlords to retailers, are prepared to do business with you. Even prospective employers can request to see your credit report. 

It’s always a good idea to know your credit score, but even more so in these uncertain times. A good credit score will allow you to qualify for loans or other credit facilities and may also enable you to qualify for preferential interest rates. 

How to check your credit score for free?

By law, you’re entitled to one free credit score report annually from any of the credit bureaus. Most people aren’t aware of their rights or don’t know where or how to apply for this, so they rarely or never check their scores. And for the few who do, the free credit report can be difficult to understand. 

Fortunately, there are other ways to check your credit score rating that are free, simple to access and understand, and allow you to check as often as you like. One of these is DirectAxis Pulse

It allows you to check your credit profile and provides easy-to-understand information about what’s influencing your rating, as well as how to improve it. 

How to improve your credit score

Despite what many think, there are positive steps you can take if your credit score is poor. When you take the time to understand what’s affecting it, limit negative behaviour such as not paying accounts on time, and manage your debt responsibly, you can gradually improve your credit score. 

Another advantage of regularly checking your credit rating is that it lets you identify any sudden changes. These may be mistakes by the credit bureau or the result of fraudulent activity such as identify theft, where fraudsters open accounts or take out loans using your name and ID number. 

The good news is that if you use a tool such as DirectAxis Pulse to check your rating, it won’t affect your credit score at the bureaus. 

In uncertain times, a good credit score gives you the confidence that you’re more likely to qualify for finance if you need it. It also gives you the advantage of getting better interest rates. If your score isn’t what you’d like it to be, tools such as DirectAxis Pulse provide free credit reports that will tell you what to do to improve it. Either way, knowing your score gives you some control in uncertain times. 

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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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Loan repayment terms range from 24 to 72 months. The maximum interest rate with regards to a DirectAxis Personal Loan is 24.50% per annum (compounded monthly). Your rate and initiation fee will be determined according to your personal risk profile.

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.

The total cost of the loan will be R 103 155.57 which is a maximum Annual Percentage Rate (APR) of 27.76%.