ClearScore South Africa now gives you the ability to see your credit score for free, anytime you want. A credit score is an important part of your financial management and knowing how to maintain good credit health. If you want to make large credit loans to lenders, you will likely need to know your credit score.
ClearScore is a financial technology company from the UK that has no landed in South Africa. ClearScore offers services that allow user to get their credit score for free, forever. In South Africa this is a heaven sent because until the arrival of ClearScore, you would have to pay R80 to get your credit score.
According to the National Credit Regulator, all South Africans are entitled to one free credit report per year from each of the credit bureaus. The problem is that you usually don’t want your credit report, you want your credit score, which is the number that tells you if your credit status is good or bad. If you want your credit score, you usually have to pay. It’s kind of unfair that this is your information that pertains to you but you have to keep paying to see your credit history, otherwise you are making applications in the dark. Now you can see your credit score whenever you like with ClearScore.
Signing Up for ClearScore
To sign up for ClearScore in South Africa just visit their local website below.
To sign up you will need to fill in your personal information like your name, and ID number. You wil then be asked a couple of security questions about your credit to confirm that it is you that is signing up. These will be questions about what types of credit accounts you have.
When it is confirmed that the ID number and credentials match with the questions asked, your account will be create. It might take a day or 2 for you to be able to see you credit history but many are able to see it from the start.
Credit Score Vs Credit Report
Your credit report is a summary of all the credit transactions that you have made. These actions include everything from credit card and credit accounts, to vehicle finance and home loans. The credit report makes no quality judgment on your credit health (does not say whether your credit is good or bad.)
A credit score is a number that is assigned to your credit health to score your credit health. Lenders use the score as a quick reference when determining whether you are worth of financing or not. Different credit bureaus have their own different scoring scales. These scales score your creditworthiness in bands that vary from poor (or high risk) to excellent (or minimum risk).
Why is ClearScore Free?
You might be wondering how ClearScore can offer people free credit scores for an unlimited period and whether there is a catch somewhere along the line. ClearScore explains on their website why they are able to offer free credit reports.
Inside the profile, there is an offer page where ClearScore matches you with financial products based on your credit history. This includes anything from credit cards to vehicle loans. If you take a loan through the offers, then ClearScore will be paid a commission by the provider.
The great thing about this is that if you are not interested in the offers, you do not have to every take one or even view the page. The offers are also not put in front of you so if you aren’t interested, you won’t see the offers. And not taking an offer does not exclude you from any features. You use ClearScore for as long as you want without having to take up any offer. They are there for people who are interested in and want to make use of the offers.
ClearScore uses your credit score from Experian, who is their partner for the platform. The score is out of 705, with different bands determining the quality of your credit health. Below are the different score bands.
The Score that they give you is out of 705 and appears to follow the Compuscan score bands which are as follows:
605 or less = Very High Risk
606 – 621 = High Risk
622 – 641 = Average Risk
642 – 667 = Low Risk
667 or more = Minimum
The User Interface
The user interface on Experian is very well-designed. Just see for yourself. The design is very clean and they use create art work. I don’t know why, but it makes me feel very relaxed. Design is not that important to me and my finances but it is worth mentioning that the design on ClearScore is very good and makes for a pleasant user experience.
In main area of the menu they also give you the average credit score of the country as well as the average score in your geographical area. This give you an idea of how you stack up against other South Africans.
The credit report on ClearScore in South Africa only tracks your credit score from the moment that you sign up. As is shown in the image below, I signed up in June 2018 and my credit report for every month after that is available to me.
ClearScore sends you an updated credit score every month. Every time that you login, they tell you when your next credit score is due. The great thing about it is that send it to you automatically so you can automatically keep up to date with your credit. The email is a nice touch. The credit bureaus give you your credit report once a month so a monthly update is a huge deal.
Another annoying thing about the credit reports that you get from credit bureaus is that it is just a report that essentially lists your credit applications that you have made and the status of your credit health. Most people cannot make much sense of the credit report as it does not tell you where you stand in terms of how creditors view your application. What the great majority of people want is their credit score. This is a number that instantly gives you an indication of how your application is viewed. To get your credit score, you usually have to pay something like R80 with Transunion. With ClearScore you get your credit score 100% free every single month.
In the report you will see all the credit products that you have. This includes accounts, loans, and any credit enquiries done by lenders when you make a credit application. In some cases, even if the transactions are not on your credit profile yet, ClearScore will mention that new enquiries will be added to your profile the following month. So the information is very much up to date.
Benefits Of ClearScore in South Africa
ClearScore give you a lot of additional information that helps you to manage your finances and improve your credit score.
Your profile will tell you all the things that you are doing wrong and what things you are doing that can hamper your credit score. It also shows you the average credit score in your area and in South Africa.
There are some alternatives to ClearScore. FNB, for example, has the FNB app that tracks some of your credit status elements. While the FNB app option is good itself, it does not give you a score from any of the credit bureaus. This is a little bit of a limitation that gives Clearscore an edge. There is also the fact that to use that FNB app, you have to be an FNB customer, so the majority of people will not be able to user that feature. There are other services outside of FNB but they are from smaller companies that don’t compare to the user experience of established platforms like Clearscore and FNB.
How Experian bands work
Clearscore uses bands from Experian. Every credit bureau has their own bands so you need a reference to understand what your score means with each bureau. Typically, when you make a credit application, the creditor will check your score with 2 or even 3 credit bureaus. But to have an idea of whether you are in good credit health or not, 1 credit score is enough.
Suggestions on how to improve your credit score.
The reports are very much up to date. For example, I made a home loan application during the middle of the month and by the time my new report came, that credit application was already reflecting on my report.
An example on my credit report is during the time that I was doing the home loan application. I applied for the home loan through a bond originator and what they do is they apply to numerous banks at the same time. This is actually negative for your credit health because it looks as though you are making too many credit applications and are under financial distress. The results of this application were immediately reflected on my credit report.
Because Clearscore sends you your credit report on a monthly basis, you can track what effects credit applications have on your credit status and how long it takes to improve. The funny thing is I didn’t even plan to track my credit trends. Most people aren’t willing to pay R80 every month so they will not track their trends and I am on of them. It just o happened that when I got my reminder email, I would get to see how my credit score changed over time. This then encouraged me to manage it and I ended up being more responsible with my credit unintentionally.
One thing I like that ClearScore does well is to provide information without you having to give up your information to decide whether you want to sign up or not. There are other sites that reportedly give scores but there is no accessible information on the website, before signing up.
ClearScore has a blog and learning guides that give you all the information you need upfront. Thereafter, you can decide whether you are interested and if you want to sign up.
The customer support from ClearScore is pretty good. At one point I had gotten myself locked out of my account for entering my password incorrectly too many times. I proceed to try to change my password through the forgot my password link. I filled in the form properly but for some reason I would not receive the email to change my password despite trying for many days.
Eventually I contacted the site support. It took 2 or 3 days of back and forth to find the solution but eventually, they sent me a link directly and I was able to get back into my account. I was afraid that since they did not have a south African contact number at the time, I might not get in but it was resolved in 2 days.
Pros and Cons of ClearScore
- 100% free
- Tips for improving your credit score and reaching goals
- Safe and secure service with no spam
- Has a more personable feel
ClearScore is hands town the best resource in South Africa for checking your credit score. It is 100% free and the user interface makes for a very pleasant experience. In other countries like the UK and the UK there are multiple services like this you can choose from. There will surely be more in south Africa in the near future but for now, ClearScore is the best of what is available to us.