My Rights In Terms of the National Credit Act

The main consumer rights under the NCA;

The right to apply for credit

All registered creditor providers must treat all consumers equally when assessing the credit application, determining interest rates and fees, drawing up the credit agreement and the enforcement of the credit agreement.

Credit Providers always reserve the right to refuse or accept any application, as they are obliged to receive and evaluate all applications. They are allowed to use their own evaluation model provided the model is not in conflict with the Constitution and the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act.

In the event of an unlawful discriminatory practice, either the equality court or the National Credit Regulator can be approached.

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The right to know why your credit was refused

At the consumer's request, a credit provider must advise the consumer in writing the reasons for;

  1. Refusing your application for a new credit facility.
  2. Refusing your application for an increased limit on an existing facility.
  3. Offering you a lower credit limit than the limit you applied for.
  4. Reducing your existing credit limit.
  5. Refusing to renew an expiring credit card or similar renewable credit facility. An example of this is a credit card or over draft facility.

If the credit provider has notified you that your credit report was the main problem, the credit provider has to disclose the name, address and contact details of the credit bureau that issued the report.

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The right to receive information in an official language

You have the right to receive documentation and information in the language that you can speak, read and understand. The language you choose must be an official language of the Republic of South Africa. The credit provider must allow you to choose from two different official languages.

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The right to receive information in plain and understandable language

All your documentation and information from credit providers must be delivered to consumers in a manner that is in plain language. Those ordinary consumers with average literacy skills and minimal credit experience could be expected to understand without excessive effort. To ensure that this is achieved, credit providers must use plain language, simple sentence structures and uncomplicated graphics and illustrations.

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The right to receive documents

Consumers have the right to receive their documentation and information in accordance with the Act. It must be delivered to consumers in the below manner;

  • In person at the business premises of the credit provider
  • By ordinary mail
  • By fax
  • By email
  • By printable web-page

It is always the consumer's choice how they want to receive documentation from any one of the above methods at no additional delivery charge. Should you prefer to have the documentation personally delivered; this will become a chargeable delivery.

Credit Providers may not charge a fee for any original copy of documentation that is required to be delivered in terms of the National Credit Act. This includes all credit agreements and interlinked insurance products that forms part of the credit agreement. Without charge to the consumers, a replacement copy of these original documents may be requested once every twelve months. Any replacement copies of other documentation that is not specified as compulsory in the National Credit Act will be charged, subject to a search and production fees.

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The right to receive statements

Credit Providers must provide records and statements without charge however consumers and credit providers may agree to reduce the frequency of statements.

At the consumer's request, a credit provider must deliver a statement of all or any of the following without charge to the consumer;

  1. The current balance.
  2. Any amounts credited or debited during a period specified in the request.
  3. Any amounts currently overdue and when each amount became due.
  4. Any amount currently payable and the date it became due.
  5. Requested statements must be delivered within 10 days if the credit agreement (account) is less than one year old.
  6. Requested statements must be delivered within 20 days if the credit agreement (account) is more than one year old.

Statements can be delivered in person, telephonically or in writing, SMS, mail, fax, email or other electronic form of communication such as online internet access.

However, credit providers are not required to provide further statements, if there has been a previous request within a 3 month period or if the account has been closed for longer than 3 years.

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The right to access and challenge Credit Bureau Records and Information

It is important to exercise your right to receive your free credit report once a year from each of the Credit Bureaus operating in South Africa. Alternatively, you may contact the bureaus directly or online and pay for a report any time of the year, as many times as you may require.

You are entitled to dispute incorrect entries made and request the removal of information if you can prove the information to be invalid or false.

Every consumer has the right to;

  1. Be advised by the credit provider before any adverse information is reported.
  2. Receive a copy of the adverse information prior to the listing.
  3. Inspect any credit bureau or the national credit register file or information without charge once a year.
  4. Pay to view information held by these bureau's at any time.
  5. Be compensated by the person who reported the incorrect information on either the bureau or national credit register, for the cost of correcting the information.
  6. Challenge incorrect information. The National Credit Regulator and credit bureau may not report on challenged information.
  7. Information must be changed within 20 business days after proving the information held to be false or invalid - should the information not be changed, a case can be reported to the National Credit Regulator or the Tribunal as this is an offense.

Should the creditor or credit bureau fail to adhere to the above rights, send a formal complaint to the NCR or the National Consumer Tribunal

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The right to confidentiality

You have the right to confidentiality. Credit providers and credit bureaus may not disclose personal information to a third party, unless you have given express permission or unless it is required by Law or as ordered by the court

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The right to apply for debt counselling in terms of The National Credit Act 34 of 2005 (NCA)
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