It is easy to lose the meaning and value of Heritage Day in South Africa. Many see it as a day to stay at home and have a good ol’ braai with family and friends. Let me take you back to the reason this day is honoured in this country.
28 November 2012
Whether you realize it right now or not, you need to know your credit score. Your credit score is used to determine your insurance premiums, your interest rates, your spending limits, your access to credit, your closing costs, etc. It is something so important that there really is no reason why you should not know it and every reason you should:
1. To determine financial health: One of the biggest, best, and most overlooked reasons for knowing your credit score is to determine your financial health. Your credit score is the result of a logarithm that includes information on your payment history, credit history, loan history, employment history, resident history, and legal history. If you have a low score, this is a sign that you need to be working on your financial health.
2. To determine eligibility: Knowing your credit score can also help you determine whether you are eligible for certain offers before you even apply. For example, you would know whether you qualify for the lower interest rate a car dealership is advertising, as such terms are only extended to “highly qualified” (read: excellent credit score) customers. Applying for a loan and being denied, negatively affects your credit score.
3. To get the best interest rates: Alternatively, when you know your credit score, you can make sure that you secure the best interest rates. Not only are you perceived as a lower risk the higher your credit score is (and thus pay considerably less interest), you may also qualify for banking accounts that have a higher percentage yield (also called percentage earned) and receive a higher return.
4. To get the best financing terms: You can also negotiate for better financing terms in general, such as reduced monthly fees, smaller initiation fees, lower insurance charges (e.g. credit insurance), etc.
5. To get the best credit terms: Likewise, you can also use your knowledge of your credit score to secure the best credit terms. You can negotiate with a current or potential credit card issuer for a higher spending limit, lower transaction fees, a higher margin of forgiveness on late payments, etc
6. To improve your credit score: You can also use you knowledge of your credit score to improve your credit. Aside from the fact that when you receive your credit score you typically receive a copy of your credit report, you would know that if your credit score is high (say 775 or higher), your best action would be to stay the course.
Conversely, you would know that if your credit score is low, it is time to pay more attention to your financial well being.
7. To monitor the effect of your actions: Similarly, you can use the knowledge of your credit score to determine the effect of your actions. For instance, if your credit score goes down after you open a new credit card (as it will), you would know to back off from making any further credit commitments for a while.
How do I check my credit score?
You are able to contact one of the credit bureaus directly (Transunion or Experian) and ask them to investigate why your credit record has not been updated. Alternatively you can contact DebtBusters on 0861 663 328 and discuss the options with a consultant