With times being so tough for many consumers, applying for a loan could give you the means to change your circumstances. It is however important to understand your rights and duties.
Understanding the process from the application of credit, right through to termination of the credit agreement is important. Remember you have a duty to answer all questions truthfully; to provide authentic documentation; to truthfully disclose all financial obligations; to disclose the location of goods and to inform credit providers of a change of address or contact telephone or cell phone number.
- The right to apply for credit: Did you now that the National Credit Act provides every person, whether an individual, group of people or company, the right to apply for credit from any credit provider? This doesn’t mean the credit provider is required to grant the credit.
- You cannot be discriminated against when applying for credit: This means that if you feel you have been discriminated against on the basis of your colour, race, political affiliation, sexual orientation, religious belief, or affiliation to any particular trade union, you have the right to take this matter to the Equality Court or take the matter to the National Credit Regulator who will refer it to the Equality Court.
- You may request and be given the dominant reason for credit being declined. If your credit application was declined based on an unfavourable report received from a credit bureau, you have the right to ask the credit provider to provide you with the name, address and other contact details of the credit bureau from which they received the information.
- You have the right to be given documents in the dominant language in that province or their area of operation. African Bank, for example offer contracts in English, Zulu and Sesotho.
- Documents must be given in clear, understandable language. Credit providers need to ensure their documents are in plain language so the contents, meaning and importance of the document is easy to understand.
- The right to be given documents related to the credit agreements: This means you can request a copy of all documents to be delivered or sent by fax, email or printable web page. If you lose this and need a replacement copy, you can get this free of charge within a year of the delivery of the original documents. After that, the consumer is expected to pay the credit provider.
- The right to receive periodic statements: Credit providers must provide consumers with regular statements. This is generally once a month or once every two months.
- The right to confidential treatment: Any confidential information which you provide can only be used for the sole purpose for which you have given your consent, unless the usage or release of such information is a requirement in terms of the NCA or other legislation.
- The right to access and challenge information held by a credit bureau: You can request your credit status from a credit bureau every twelve months free of charge. If you are not happy, you have the right to challenge and request proof of accuracy of information held by a credit bureau. The bureau has 20 business days to provide the information otherwise it must remove the information from its records. Similarly the credit provider must inform you within 20 business days if you default before information is passed on to a credit bureau. You are entitled to receive a copy of that information on request.
- The right to the removal of adverse consumer credit information: Once you have settled your outstanding amounts owed, the credit provider/s must inform credit bureaus within seven days. The credit bureaus must then remove any adverse classification of consumer behaviour or enforcement action within seven days. If credit providers and credit bureaus fail to do so, you can lodge a complaint with the National Credit Regulator.
If all of this makes sense, you have a good credit rating and a solid financial plan, click here to apply for an African Bank loan today.