Your credit report is one of the most important documents of your financial life. That is why building or restoring your credit history is a powerful catalyst for managing your money. A credit report includes information about your past and existing credit contracts. These contracts include loans, credit cards, debt collections, mortgages, whether you’ve paid your bills on time and lists the businesses that have recently checked your credit history. These credit checks are known as inquiries. A lot of people in Nigeria do not know how to get a credit report in Nigeria, or how one even works. This resource aims to fill that gap.
Your credit report will include personal information, your current and previous addresses, and your current or last known employer. It also details how much you owe creditors, how long each account has been open, and how consistently you make on-time payments.
What Is a Credit Report?
A credit report includes information about your past and existing credit contracts. These contracts include loans, credit cards, debt collections, mortgages, whether you’ve paid your bills on time and lists the businesses that have recently checked your credit history. These credit checks are known as inquiries. Your credit report also includes personal information, your current and previous addresses, and your current or last known employer.
A credit report details how much you owe creditors, how long each account has been open, and how consistently you make on-time payments.
What Kind Of Information Is Included In a Credit Report?
The information collected by credit Bureaus is regulated with the use of the Common Data Template which was designed by the CBN, IFC and CBAN and launched in 2016. Information collected by Credit bureaus that are included in a credit report in Nigeria are in four categories:
- Demographic Information: name, address, means of identification, registration numbers (for commercial enterprises) etc.
- Information to the credit history: The bulk of your credit report consists of details about credit accounts that were opened in your name or that list you as an authorized user (such as your spouse’s credit account). Account details, which are supplied by creditors with which you have an account, including the date the account was opened, the credit limit or amount of the loan, the payment terms, the balance, and a history that shows whether or not you’ve paid the account on time. Closed or inactive accounts, depending on the manner in which they were paid can stay on your report for up to 10 years from the date of the last activity. Also includes the principal amount, interest rate, when the facility was granted, how much had been collected etc. Here, there were classifications as well-performing, doubtful, default etc.
- Information on inquiries made on the customer: An Inquiry is recorded by a credit bureau whenever your credit report is shown to another party, such as a lender, service provider, landlord, or insurer. Inquiries remain on your credit report for up to one year.
- Public Records: Information on Collateral, Securities. Lawsuits, litigation, returned cheques, default in taxes, courts of law — including liens, bankruptcies,
There is some information that is not included in your credit report. A credit report does not include information about your checking or savings accounts, bankruptcies that are more than 10 years old, charged-off or debts placed for collection that are more than 7 years old, gender, ethnicity, religion, political affiliation, medical history, or criminal records.
P.S: It’s important to check that the data is correct and up to date. As your credit file changes constantly and it can have a powerful impact on your finances.
How to get my credit report in Nigeria?
Every Nigerian is entitled to one free Credit report every year from any registered Nigerian Credit Bureau. To get a free credit report in Nigeria from any of these sources:
1. Apply here to get your free report form CRC Credit Bureau. CRC Credit Bureau also offers a USSD code for instant Credit reports. Dial *565*8# on your mobile phone to get your credit report in an instant from CRC Credit Bureau. This service is currently available to MTN subscribers only.
3. Get a free credit report from Carbon (Paylater). Carbon, formerly Paylater also offers free credit report to Nigerians. You can have access to the report by registering here.
Note: Unlike the credit reports that are available once for free annually.
Who Can See Your Credit Report?
Fortunately, there’s a short list of people or entities that can access your credit report. So not just anyone can access your credit report. Only a business or individual with a “permissible purpose” can look at your credit report. Generally, this means the business or person must need to see your credit report to approve an application you’ve made, to collect on a debt, for certain employment purposes, to comply with a court order, or to underwrite an insurance.
The list of individuals or persons that can access your credit report include:
- Banks, specialized banks and other financial institutions
- Leasing companies
- Insurance companies
- Cooperative societies and institutions that offer credit to SMEs
- Utility companies including electricity, telecommunications and water corporations
- Asset management companies
- Suppliers of goods and services on a post-paid, deferred or instalment payment basis
- Entities that in their ordinary course of business have relevant information that complies with Permissible Purposes
- CBN’s CRMS.
Permissible Purposes for accessing an individual Credit report:
- An applicant or a guarantor for credit
- Review, renew, restructure or monitor credits
- Employment checks
- Prospective tenants
- Underwrite, review, or renew insurance policies or analyze insurance claims
- Application for credit contracts or other post-paid services
- Debt collection, enforcement of a monetary judgment or enforcement of any other debt
- Carry out KYC checks on any person for any permissible purposes
- Directive of a regulatory authority or a public body
- Compliance with a court order
Why is a credit report important?
Different entities and individuals use a credit report to make decisions about people. These entities which range from credit card companies, mortgage loan companies, auto loan, business loan, and insurance companies, even landlords and employers check credit reports to find out about your credit past. They want to know about your credit past to find out if you were financially responsible in the past. As it helps them ascertain if you will be responsible in the future.
P.S: When it’s time to consider any sort of financial move — a new home or car, a new credit card, a new auto insurance policy, new business loan, even a new job — it’s time to check your report.
What to do if there are mistakes on Your Credit Report
If there are any relevant mistakes on your report. Then you need to dispute the mistake. That is why checking your credit reports every year to make sure they’re all correct is important. Because errors on your Credit Report may lower your credit score and keep you from obtaining credit when you need it. You can dispute mistakes on your Credit Report by immediately contacting a Credit Bureau.
Also, check your credit report for accounts you didn’t open. For charges, you didn’t make, and defaults you didn’t cause. If you see evidence of fraud, contact Nigeria Credit Reports immediately. Explain the situation and ask that a fraud alert be placed in your file. Also, report the fraud to the law.
Lenders use credit scores to decide who qualifies for a loan. What interest rate they will give the loan for, and at what credit limits. They also use credit scores to determine which customers are likely to bring in the most revenue. The use of credit or identity scoring prior to authorizing access or granting credit is an implementation of a trusted system.