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By Venesha Johnson | Associate Writer
There was a time when the discussion of credit in Jamaica was highly irrelevant. However, things have drastically changed, and that is no longer the case. Yes, your credit history and your credit score matters!
A good credit score has always been essential to financial stability and access to various opportunities such as obtaining loans, credit cards, or even securing a rental apartment.
But, since credit is not a much talked about topic, many find themselves facing the challenge of bad credit, which can significantly limit their financial options. So, let’s explore the common reasons behind bad credit and provide insights on avoiding these pitfalls.
A credit bureau, also known as a credit reporting agency or credit reporting company, is an organisation that collects and maintains credit information on individuals and businesses. These agencies gather data from various sources, such as lenders, creditors, and public records, to create detailed credit reports for individuals and credit profiles for businesses. Credit bureaus play a crucial role in the financial industry by providing information that helps lenders and creditors assess the creditworthiness of potential borrowers.
Credit Info, Credit Info Services and CRIF are the three credit bureaus in Jamaica. Each individual is entitled to one free copy of their credit report annually. Requests for Credit Information and Certification Information (CIS) must be made in person, however, CRIF accepts requests sent via email.
You most likely won't have a credit report to generate a credit score if you have no credit history at any of these agencies. As a result, you will need to learn how to establish credit by applying for credit, even if it is not necessary, and making the agreed-upon payments. A basic credit card is one of the easiest ways to obtain a credit history.
In Jamaica, a credit score falls between 250 and 900, with 900 representing the best possible score and the lowest risk to a creditor. Since different institutions would focus on different sectors of the scoring range as their target market, it is challenging to define "good" exactly out of context. Nonetheless, a credit score of more than 550 is most likely regarded as "good."
Before bringing a dispute, it is your responsibility as a consumer to apply directly for your credit report from a bureau. You can file a dispute with the Bureau to have the issue looked at if you find errors in your report and would like to refute the information. To file a disagreement, you must have the disagreement Form completed.
Notes to Completing the Dispute Form
Bad debt is the worst, but it won’t linger forever. After the debt is paid off, it will stay on your credit record for seven (7) years; but, you can raise your credit score over time.
Eliminating bad debt and raising your credit score requires a combination of disciplined financial habits, strategic planning, and patience. Here are some tips to help you achieve these goals:
The credit system can have its benefits but it also has significant downfalls, be conscious of your spending habits and adjust where necessary, and even if things have already gone bad, you still have the opportunity to turn things around.
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