Octagon moves into the Consumer Credit Report space
Credit Dot Cozaa shows the way
The National Credit Regulator statistics show a massive 47% of consumers have an impaired credit record, the most since inception. A further 61% of all consumers are struggling to meet monthly payments. Why is it then that after nearly 8 years we are not seeing an improvement in credit performance? We know that the average South African consumer is not financially astute and wading through the credit quagmire requires in-depth knowledge, skill and understanding and this expertise and information is usually well out of the reach for most consumers. Changing financial behaviour starts with an awareness of the problems that need change the education and tools to drive the change, followed over time with the adoption of the new behaviours.
What South Africa needs is a financial wellness tool that is accessible, affordable and life changing, says Credit Dot Cozaa CEO Greg Brill, who has set out to fill this gap in knowledge.
Access to that tool launched nationally in SA this month (November) in conjunction with the DCI (Debt Counseling Industry) allowing Debt Councilors and consumers access to this unique tool.
By using data from three credit bureaus, credit scores, debt risk indicators and an affordability index, Credit Dot Cozaa has developed the Credit Dot Cozaa Credit Status, which provides consumers with a view into what creditors see when they perform credit checks.
The Credit Dot Cozaa Status is a ranking that plots each consumer from A+ (Excellent) to an F (Poor), which for the first time allows consumers to really understand their credit standing.
Brill says: “If you are credit active, it ultimately means that you have a credit report and that your credit rating exists whether you like it or not, and if it is there, you need to see it. National Credit regulator statistics show that 5.22 million consumers apply for credit or financial services monthly yet only round 43 503 view their credit reports. We are not a nation of savers or financial planners, but you’re not going to change a behavior if you’re not aware of its impact. Everyone has to see how their financial behavior is affecting their credit status because everyone needs to improve, maintain or protect their credit status.”
The challenge has always been making the service available to all South Africans. Those with and without access to the internet, this world first within a retail network will ensure anytime access for all. The process is quick and simple too - within minutes you have your three-bureau report.
But the process doesn’t end there. It’s all very well to know your status, but what do you do with it? Some statuses are easier to improve than others, says Brill. A judgment or a default may be difficult and costly to remove and often consumers only realise they have a credit problem when they desperately need the credit, as in when they make a bond application on a home or apply for a new job.
Credit Dot Cozaa has made this easier with the Status Simulator, which shows consumers those elements that are impacting on their status, allowing them to adjust each element to see how they can improve their status and then set these as goals in their improvement plan.
“We have added value and insight into the data; it’s not simply an individual’s credit report. Kudough will track and monitor your progress for the duration of the plan with a wealth of support, from a personal credit coach to simple access to sound advice, catering for every consumer need from A+ to F.
“Credit Dot Cozaa is there to help people understand credit better so they can get better credit. We need to empower the consumer so they can negotiate better interest rates – this is a consumer rights issue.”
Credit Foundation of South Africa CEO, Randolph Samuel says: “Prior to the National Credit Act and the requirement for credit bureaus to disclose a copy of the consumer’s credit report, consumers were oblivious of what affected their access to finance. This placed consumers in an unfair and vulnerable position. Even today, seven years after the NCA, consumers find it difficult to access their credit report from all the credit bureaus and understand the information.
“Initiatives like this facilitate improved access and understanding of the credit report information and its impact on a person’s day to day money management. Any initiative that seeks to improve the financial literacy of South Africans receives the full support and endorsement of the Foundation.”
Credit Dot Cozaa will offer instant, confidential credit reports with a free telephonic consultation to understand the report and your credit status.
Credit Dot Cozaa services include practical mini debt assessments and informative articles on the dangers of credit fraud – they have all your credit check bases covered and all this can be viewed online.
Brill says: “For consumers, Credit Dot Cozaa places the power back in their hands by empowering them to address their financial needs with an intuitive system; the accessibility through the internet and via Debt Councilors will make this a reality. This offering can be accessed at www.credit.co.za.”