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Credit checks: Know your rights

If you’ve ever been in the market for a new job, you’ll know that it’s fairly common practice for recruiters and employers to perform a credit check. The debate on the merits of credit checks still rages on but wherever you stand on the spectrum, the reality is that a negative credit report can influence your chances of getting a job.


According to the National Credit Act, consumer credit information can be legally obtained if a candidate is being considering for employment in a position that requires trust and honesty, especially if this position entails handling cash or finances.

Recruitment experts claim that certain companies will not even consider candidates without a clean bill of credit health. The idea behind this is that employees who are financially responsible will also be responsible at work, and those who are in financial straits may be more likely to make other bad choices.

The National Credit Act No.34 of 2005, effective from 1 June 2006, clarifies the rules when recruiters access your credit report for screening purposes. It’s important to be informed about what is and isn’t allowed so you can protect yourself.


Tip #1 – The employer needs permission to access your credit report

Tip #2 – You must be informed of the intention to perform the credit check

Tip #3 – You must be given the reasons for performing the credit check

Tip #4 – You can request the results of any credit check performed on you


It will also work in your favour to be proactive. If you know that you’ll be looking for a job, pull your credit reports so that you’re aware of any red flags. Get to work on rectifying these areas so that you can be upfront with the interviewer about your recent credit history. Not only will this help to paint you as an honest, forthcoming person, but it will give you a chance to explain these problems from your side.


Lastly, if you believe that an item on your credit report may be inaccurate, don’t hesitate to notify the relevant credit bureau to investigate and update the information. Your employability could depend on it.

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