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What is a good credit score in South Africa?

In some situations, your credit score may be more important than your bank accoun balance numbers. Understand what it means to have a good credit score and how to make the most of it!


by José Gonçalo

04/23/2023 | Updated on 05/05/2023

Understand, once and for all, what is a good credit score and how to achieve it

Young african american woman smiling happy holding south africa rand banknotes at the city.
Find out what is a good credit score in South Africa! Source: Adobe Stock

Do you know how banks decide whether to grant you a loan or a credit card? Everything is decided based on just one number! Learn what is a good credit score in South Africa.

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What is a credit score and why is it important in South Africa?

In fact, a credit score is a number that represents, in a simplified way, a person’s responsibility regarding his credit score. This value score is calculated based on the individual’s credit history.

This document in turn includes information about your borrowing, repayment, and payment behavior. Credit scoring is used by banks and credit providers.

The main application is to assess an individual’s ability to pay off debt and use credit resources well. Indeed, this is a very important financial indicator.

A good credit score indicates that the individual is responsible and able to pay his debts on time. In this way, he has a better chance of being approved for credit and obtaining lower interest rates.

On the other hand, a bad credit score can lead to higher interest rates. In some cases, bad credit can make several banks refuse to offer loan services, for example.

After all, a poor score suggests that the individual tends to be a borrower who may not be able to pay his debts on time.

Therefore, having a good credit score in South Africa is crucial for accessing credit and financial opportunities.

What are the main factors that affect a credit score?

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See what can affect your credit score! Source: Adobe Stock

Indeed, there are several factors that can affect your credit score. Below are some of the main factors that affect this indicator:

  • Payment history: This is the most important factor. Indeed, late or missed payments can negatively affect your score;
  • Credit Usage: This is the percentage of all the credit you have access to that is in use. If you are using a high percentage of your available credit, it will negatively affect your score;
  • Length of credit history: The longer you have credit (credit cards, loans, etc.), the better it will be for your score. Types of Credit: Having a mix of credit such as credit cards, car loans, and mortgages will be good for your score;
  • New credit inquiries: each time you apply for a new card or loan, it can temporarily impact your score;
  • Collection accounts or public records: Unpaid debts that go to collections or bankruptcy, foreclosures or tax liens negatively affect your score.

What score range is considered a good credit score in South Africa?

Indeed, credit scores range from 0 to 999. A good credit score is usually in the range of 650 to 750. Scores above 750 are considered excellent.

Therefore, this is the general reference value to give you an idea of the quality of your score. However, it is important to note that the credit score range can also vary between lenders and credit providers.

Also, some lenders may have their own scoring system and criteria for assessing credit quality.

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What can you do to improve your credit score in South Africa?

Indeed, there are several strategies to improve your credit score. Below, learn about the most efficient ones, according to specialists in finance and credit management:

  • Pay your bills on time: Late payments can drastically affect your credit score. Strive to pay all your bills on time;
  • Keep your credit utilization low: Try to use as little as possible at the lowest possible rate. High credit utilization can negatively affect your credit score;
  • Monitor Your Credit Report: Regularly check your credit report. If you notice any errors, please dispute them;
  • Limit new credit applications: Multiple credit applications in a short period can negatively affect your score. Therefore, only apply for credit as a last resort;
  • Maintain a good credit history: A long and positive credit history can improve your credit score. Be responsible with credit use and terms.

Indeed, improving your credit score takes time and effort. However, by following these steps, you can gradually improve your credibility and achieve a good score.

How can you monitor your credit score and check if it’s improving?

In effect, you can monitor your credit score. For this, you can obtain a free credit report from any of the major credit bureaus. These are TransUnion, Experian or XDS.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how you can see your score:

First, visit the website of any of the credit bureaus and follow the instructions to get your free credit report. Indeed, these documents are not without flaws.

Therefore, carefully check your credit report for errors with incorrect personal information. You may also find bills you don’t recognize or debts that have been paid off but still show up as outstanding.

If you find any errors, contact the credit bureau to dispute and correct them. This document also lists your credit score, be sure to check it. Next, we recommend that you check your credit report and credit score regularly.

This is the best way to track your progress and make sure there are no new errors. Also, you can subscribe to a credit monitoring service. This application can alert you to any changes to your score.

Finally, in addition to monitoring your score, you should take steps to improve it. In fact, you’ll thank yourself for taking this step every time you need credit services.

You don’t need to get a new job to increase your monthly income. Indeed, you can do this extremely safely.

And if you’re looking for ways to improve your score to buy a car, you can read our post below to learn more about it!

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What is the minimum credit score to buy a car in South Africa?

It is totally possible to get a loan to finance your new or used car purchase no matter how low your credit score is. To learn more, see the following post!

About the author

José Gonçalo

I started reading about finance only to find better options than savings. Since then, I have never stopped studying finance, and I believe that writing about it is the best way to help individuals feel fulfilled and have a healthy financial life. Today, I balance finance and medical school studies.

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