All financial institutions these days get your credit report from the licensed reference bureaus as part of the loan appraisal process. It helps them decide whether to lend and what conditions to impose depending on what the report reveals about you.
If you have never borrowed, the report comes out blank.
If you’ve borrowed before, at least since the time credit referencing was began, chances are you appear on record. So what does the report contain?
The report is called a CONSUMER CREDIT REPORT and is usually 1 to 2 pages but can be longer depending on information held. The first section shows the source bureau’s name and who requested for it. It also shows the date and time report was extracted. You also find in this introductory part the scope of the report. At the moment, Kenya’s law only allows banks and HELB to list defaulters. With time, microfinance institutions and utility providers like KPLC, telecoms, SACCOs etc will be allowed to list people. The scope therefore indicates whether the information relates what has been provided by banks alone or HELB and other institutions as well.
The rest of the report is divided into sections as follows; personal profile, summary, delinquencies, recent enquiries, disclaimer and contact information.
The personal profile gives your name, ID number, KRA PIN, date of birth, Nationality, postal address, physical address, phone numbers held and employment information.
The summary shows how many instances of default are held on your record. There is also provision for total bounced cheques you have issued, any cases of fraud you have been associated with, number of loans you have applied for previously, any legal suits you are involved in and how many times your credit report has been requested for by either you or any institution that can access the system.
The delinquencies section is usually blank if you have never defaulted on your loan repayments. If however you have instances of default and that information has been shared by your bank, this is where you see which bank has blacklisted you and when. It also shows the nature of your listing whether it was a loan, overdraft, credit card etc and how much money you were advanced. It further shows whether there is a dispute between you and the lender, how much remains from the principal loan and the date you last paid.
Under recent enquiries you can tell who has accessed your report and when. This is important because the law only allows you to ask for this report. Any third party including your bank can only do so with your written permission.
The disclaimer just protects the bureau from lawsuits by spelling out how the information should be interpreted.
As a consumer, you are entitled to one report free of charge every year. You can get it by visiting the bureau offices or sending a request by email. If sending request via email, you need to get the requisite form from a bureau, print and fill it in, you then attach a copy of your ID and KRA PIN. Have them certified by a commissioner of oaths then scan and send to either of the two licensed credit reference bureaus. You should get your report by return mail.
By law, your bank should notify you when sharing adverse information. In practice, many people are surprised to find their names blacklisted.
Take charge of your credit history by asking for your report to verify the information held.