How To Dispute Your Credit Report Information in South Africa

How To Dispute Your Credit Report Information in South Africa

Your credit report plays a pivotal role in your financial life, influencing your ability to secure loans, obtain favorable interest rates, and even affecting your eligibility for certain jobs. Ensuring the accuracy of your credit report is of utmost importance as it can significantly impact your financial well-being. However, credit reports in South Africa can sometimes contain errors or inaccuracies that may harm your financial profile. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the steps to dispute your credit report information in South Africa, ensuring that your credit history accurately reflects your financial standing.

Understanding Your Credit Report

What Is a Credit Report?

A credit report is a detailed record of your credit history and financial behavior, compiled by credit bureaus such as Experian, TransUnion, Compuscan, and XDS in South Africa. It contains information about your credit accounts, payment history, outstanding balances, and any adverse information, such as late payments, judgments, or defaults.

Credit Bureaus in South Africa

In South Africa, several credit bureaus compile and maintain credit reports. The major ones include:

  • Experian: Experian South Africa is a leading credit bureau providing credit and financial information services.
  • TransUnion: TransUnion is another major credit bureau that gathers and maintains credit data.
  • Compuscan: Compuscan is a prominent credit reporting agency, offering credit information and credit scoring services.
  • XDS: Xpert Decision System (XDS) is another significant credit bureau in South Africa.

To ensure the accuracy of your credit report, it’s crucial to review the information held by these bureaus regularly.

How to Obtain Your Credit Report

Before you can begin the dispute process, you need to obtain a copy of your credit report. In South Africa, you are entitled to one free credit report per year from each of the major credit bureaus. Here’s how to request your credit report:

  • Experian: You can request your free credit report from Experian by visiting their official website and following the instructions.
  • TransUnion: To obtain your TransUnion credit report, visit their website and follow the provided guidelines.
  • Compuscan: For a free credit report from Compuscan, visit their official website and follow the steps outlined.
  • XDS: XDS provides credit reports through their website.

Reviewing Your Credit Report

Why Review Your Credit Report?

Reviewing your credit report is essential for several reasons:

  • Accuracy: Ensuring that the information on your report is accurate is crucial for your financial well-being. Inaccurate information could harm your credit score.
  • Identity Theft: Monitoring your report can help you detect any signs of identity theft or fraudulent accounts.
  • Loan Applications: Before applying for a loan or credit, it’s wise to review your report to ensure you present the best possible financial profile to potential lenders.

Identifying Errors and Discrepancies

When reviewing your credit report, look for the following types of errors:

  • Incorrect Personal Information: Ensure your name, address, and other personal details are accurate.
  • Account Errors: Check that all your credit accounts are listed, and their statuses are correct.
  • Payment History: Verify that your payment history is accurately reported.
  • Adverse Information: Look for any judgments, defaults, or adverse records that may not be accurate.
  • Account Balances: Confirm that the outstanding balances on your credit accounts are up to date.

The Dispute Process

Legal Framework in South Africa

In South Africa, the National Credit Act (NCA) provides consumers with the right to dispute inaccurate information on their credit reports. The Act obligates credit bureaus to correct or remove any information found to be incorrect.

The steps to dispute your credit report information are as follows:

  1. Obtain Your Credit Report: Start by obtaining your credit report from one or more of the major credit bureaus.
  2. Review Your Report: Carefully review your report for any inaccuracies, errors, or discrepancies.
  3. Gather Evidence: Collect all relevant evidence that supports your dispute. This may include payment receipts, correspondence with creditors, or any other documentation that proves the inaccuracy.
  4. Submit Your Dispute: You can dispute information through the credit bureau’s website, via email, or by sending a formal letter. Provide a detailed explanation of the error and include the evidence you’ve gathered.
  5. Credit Bureau Investigation: Once your dispute is received, the credit bureau will investigate the matter, required to complete the investigation within 20 business days.
  6. Correction or Removal: If the credit bureau finds that the information is indeed inaccurate, they must correct or remove it from your credit report and inform other credit bureaus of the correction.
  7. Notification: You will receive written notification of the outcome of the dispute. If you are dissatisfied with the result, you can escalate the matter further.

Escalating Your Dispute

If your dispute is not resolved to your satisfaction, you have the right to escalate the matter. Here are the steps for escalation:

  1. Credit Ombud: Contact the Credit Ombud, an independent dispute resolution organization, for assistance. They can be reached at Credit Ombud.
  2. National Credit Regulator (NCR): If your dispute remains unresolved, you can file a complaint with the National Credit Regulator, the regulatory body overseeing credit bureaus in South Africa. Visit their official website for more information.
  3. Legal Action: As a last resort, you can consider taking legal action if your dispute is not resolved through the above channels.

Disputing Errors with Experian

How to dispute Experian credit report errors in South Africa:

Experian takes 20 business days to investigate your claim, after which you will receive an update via mail detailing the findings of your complaint.

Disputing Errors with TransUnion

How to dispute TransUnion credit report errors in South Africa:

You must log your dispute within three months of the issue of the credit report that you are querying, and TransUnion will take 20 working days to investigate your complaint.

Disputing Errors with XDS

How to dispute XDS credit report errors in South Africa:

In compliance with the National Credit Act 34 of 2005 [NCA] and Protection of Personal Information Act No 4 of 2013, XDS commits to resolving your dispute/query within 20 business days.

Disputing Errors with Compuscan

How to dispute Compuscan credit report errors in South Africa:

Compuscan takes 20 business days to investigate your claim, after which you will receive an update via mail detailing the findings of your complaint.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    1. How long does debt stay on your credit report in South Africa?
      • Debt typically remains on your credit report for a specific period, which can vary depending on the type of debt. For example, negative information, like late payments, judgments, or defaults, usually stays on your credit report for up to 5 years. However, it’s essential to note that each credit bureau may have its own policies regarding the retention of information.
    2. How long does it take to be blacklisted in South Africa?
      • There isn’t a fixed timeframe for being “blacklisted” in South Africa. Being blacklisted typically refers to having a negative credit history, such as unpaid debts or judgments. Your credit history can be affected by these issues when creditors report them to credit bureaus. It’s crucial to manage your debts responsibly to maintain a positive credit profile.
    3. Can unpaid debt be removed from a credit report?
      • Unpaid debts can be removed from your credit report, but this typically occurs when the debt is settled, paid in full, or resolved. Once the debt is paid, the credit bureau should update your credit report to reflect the new status. It may take some time for this information to be updated.
    4. Can a foreigner be blacklisted in South Africa?
      • Yes, foreigners residing in South Africa can be subject to the same credit reporting and scoring systems as South African citizens. Credit bureaus in South Africa collect and maintain credit information for both citizens and foreigners. The key is to manage your credit responsibly, regardless of your nationality.
    5. Is being blacklisted the same as having a criminal record in South Africa?
      • No, being “blacklisted” and having a criminal record are not the same. Being blacklisted pertains to your credit history and financial matters, while a criminal record relates to legal matters and convictions. Blacklisting in South Africa is associated with credit-related issues, such as unpaid debts or poor payment history.
    6. Can I buy a house if I am blacklisted in South Africa?
      • While it may be more challenging to obtain a home loan or mortgage with a negative credit history, it’s not impossible. You may need to explore alternative financing options, such as working with lenders who specialize in assisting individuals with less-than-perfect credit. Additionally, improving your credit score and addressing any outstanding debt can increase your chances of qualifying for a mortgage in the future.


Disputing and correcting inaccuracies on your credit report is essential for maintaining a healthy financial profile in South Africa. Regularly reviewing your credit report, identifying errors, and following the dispute process outlined in this guide will help ensure the accuracy of your credit information. Remember that accurate credit reporting is not only your right but also your responsibility.

By taking these steps, you can safeguard your financial reputation, access better credit opportunities, and protect yourself from identity theft and financial fraud. It’s a fundamental aspect of financial responsibility and empowerment.


Related Posts