You and Your Rights: Credit Bureaux

Summary

  • Moneylenders use information from credit bureaus to decide which individuals are sufficiently reliable to receive a loan
  • Credit information can be used as part of the hiring process to determine the trustworthiness of an applicant.
  • If you disagree with your credit record, you have a right to challenge it
  • If a credit bureau intends to make a negative report they must alert you 20 working days beforehand
  • You credit information may be used to investigate allegations of fraud, theft, or corruption

Your Rights

What is a Credit Bureau?

A Credit bureau is an organisation that keeps a record of your credit information. Your credit record shows how you manage your debts and is used by credit providers and moneylenders to decide if you can afford to borrow money or pay back a new loan. 

The National Credit Act says each credit bureau must be registered with the National Credit Regulator – who decides how your credit information can be used and who can see your credit record.

What is the role of a Credit Bureau?

When you take out your first loan with a credit provider, you have to fill in a form that asks for consumer credit information – including your credit history, financial history, education, employment and identity details.

This information, and the details of the loan, is given to a credit bureau that then puts together a credit report.

What are the responsibilities of a Credit Bureau?

  • To file information on your credit record after the fee is paid by the credit provider;
  • To make sure the information is correct and not keep inaccurate information;
  • To only keep information for the prescribed period and to a prescribed standard;
  • To provide a report of the information – a credit report – when required by credit providers or anyone else who has your permission;
  • Not to charge for corrections or challenges to the information by you, the consumer;
  • Not to make a negative judgement about you when they do not have any credit information.

How can your credit information be used?

  • To decide whether or not you can afford credit;
  • To investigate fraud, corruption or theft;
  • To consider you for employment in a position that requires trust, honesty and the handling of cash or finances.

What are your rights regarding a Credit Bureau?

  • To be told that a credit provider intends to report negative information on you to a credit bureau 20 working days before they do so;
  • To get a copy of your credit record from a credit bureau when you ask for it – you can get one free record each year but may be charged a small fee for further records;
  • To challenge information kept by a credit bureau if you are unhappy with it;
  • For your information to be kept confidential, and for it to be used only for the purposes that are allowed.

How do you apply for your free Credit Record?

  • Contact the credit bureaux and ask them to send you your credit record;
  • You should contact Transunion on 0861 482 482 and Experian on 0861 105 665.
  • You will need to provide some personal information – such as your ID number and address.

How do you correct your Credit Record?

  • If you disagree with your credit record, you must send in the corrections within 30 days – during this time, you can get additional free copies of your record to check the corrections have been done. After this, you must pay a small fee for a copy.
  • Contact the credit bureau and ask for a dispute form. They will send you the form and a reference number;
  • Complete the forms and send them back to the bureau with a copy of your ID;
  • Include proof of the information you want changed, such as a debt clearance certificate or statement of account;
  • If they have kept a negative listing longer than they should have, insist they remove the record from their system. They have 20 working days to investigate the matter;
  • Ask for another copy of your credit report to check that the changes have been made;
  • If they are unhelpful, contact the Credit Bureau Association on 011-4477194 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. OR the National Credit Regulator on 0860 627627 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.