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Be certain of your credit score in uncertain times

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Some of the things that make for interesting times: the fourth industrial revolution, climate change, Brexit, Donald Trump. Or, closer to home, load shedding, elections and a new government.

Although there’s no proof, wishing someone live in interesting times is supposed to be a traditional Chinese expression that seems to be a blessing but might not be.

Whatever its origin, rapidly changing local and global events, borne out by news headlines, suggest we’re living through a remarkable time in history.

When things change quickly, you’re bombarded with information and you’re not always sure what is true or accurate, it’s 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 those things that 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 will also enable you to possibly get better interest rates. 

Where do i check my credit score for free?

By law, you are 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 so never check their scores. For the few who do, the free credit report can be difficult to understand. 

Fortunately, there are other ways to check your credit 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 is influencing your rating and how to improve it. 

How to improve my credit score

Despite what many people think, there are things you can do if you have a poor credit score. By understanding what is affecting it and limiting negative behaviour such as not paying accounts on time and responsibly managing your debt, you can gradually improve your credit score. 

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

Regularly checking your rating using a tool such as Pulse, won’t affect your credit score at the credit bureaus. 

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

Pulse

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

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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 27.5% 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 27.5% 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 110 013.57 which is a maximum Annual Percentage Rate (APR) of 30.76%.