Please note that these answers are published for general information and this web page is not intended as legal advice. Every situation has unique circumstances and if you have further questions on the legality of a search, please consult your legal advisor.
- How do I register for credit searches?
WinCredit provides access to credit bureau information from TransUnion, Experian, Compuscan, XDS and TPN (Tenant Profile Network). Lexis WinDeed and WinCredit registration is required to make these searches. To register, visit register.windeed.co.za
Due to the National Credit Act (NCA) and its special legal requirements for access to credit bureau data, it is necessary to register separately for WinCredit. Once the WinCredit form and additional information have been received and processed, you will receive an email confirming your registration and have access to credit bureau searches.
Please note all Consumer Profile searches are subject to the NCA, requiring a Prescribed Purpose most often requiring consent. If you have any questions about this, we offer additional information on Prescribed Purposes here.
For additional questions, contact the Lexis WinDeed Support Team on
0861 WINDEED (0861 946 333) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- How do I know which Prescribed Purpose to choose?
We recommend that you visit our WinCredit NCA Prescribed Purposes page for more information.
- When can I request a credit report on a person for "Fraud Detection and Fraud Prevention" purposes?
While S18(4)(2) of the National Credit Act Regulations does allow you to request a credit report for “Fraud Detection and Fraud Prevention” purposes, there is a great deal of uncertainty about what that phrase really means.
The easiest place to start is with the definition of fraud. Fraud is the “unlawful and intentional making of a misrepresentation which causes actual prejudice or which is potentially prejudicial to another”. If you break this down, you will see that the person needs to know that what he is saying/doing is incorrect and that he intends to say/do it anyway. Also, note that fraud doesn’t have to result in damage to another person – there is still fraud where there could have been damage to another.
Turning to the word “detection”, we can see this is defined as “the act of discovering the existence of something”. In our case it is the act of discovering the existence of fraud.
In the light of this, the question that is often asked is: “Do I need to have a reasonable suspicion that there will be fraud (for example the person has lied to me about something already) or can I just request a credit report to make sure that someone doesn’t lie to me about something?” Unfortunately this question hasn’t been answered by our courts so it will come down to the individual interpretation of your legal advisor.
However, at no point did the regulations indicate that a “reasonable suspicion” of fraud was necessary to request a credit report for this purpose, and it could be argued that fraud prevention, in the case of a property manager leasing properties for the owner, would involve obtaining a credit report on potential lessees even though there has been no indication that the potential lessee had committed any fraudulent or dishonest act. In fact the whole purpose of requesting the credit report in the first place is to discover whether the lessee (in our example) has committed a fraudulent act that we are unaware of.
The purpose of “Fraud Detection and Fraud Prevention” is arguably the widest possible reason that you can choose for requesting a credit report and we anticipate it will be used extensively in the future.
- Can I request a credit report on a potential lessee?
The answer to this depends on the prescribed purpose you choose. In this particular instance, it is likely that you would want to choose either the ” Setting goods, services or utilities limit or the “Fraud Detection and Fraud Prevention” purpose. Please remember that the “Setting goods, services or utilities limit” requires the potential lessees’ consent whereas the “Fraud Detection and Fraud Prevention” purpose does not. In the case of the “Setting goods, services utilities limit, it is also important to know what this is. There are a few examples; a water or electricity bill is an example of continuous service as it is paid for in arrears according to the amount of water or electricity you use. In the same way Lexis WinDeed is a continuous service as we only charge you for the searches you request – i.e. if you don’t search, we don’t charge.
While it is not completely clear, it seems likely that a lease of a property would be included in the definition of a continuous service. Even if this were not to be true, the anticipated amendment to s18(4)(e) redefines this purpose as “setting a limit in respect of the supply of goods, services or utilities” and it would be extremely hard to argue that a lease of a property would not be included in the anticipated amendment of this clause.
In conclusion, there are two purposes that are likely to be acceptable when requesting a credit report to check up on a lessee.
- Am I entitled to a free credit report on myself?
In terms of the National Credit Act, you are entitled to 1 free credit report per year, but not through Lexis WinDeed..
All Primary credit bureaus in South Africa are required to provide this report for free once a year to the consumer involved; however, LexisNexis Risk Management is a reseller credit bureau (we simply facilitate your search requests with credit bureaus) and so we don’t provide that free service. We recommend consumers contact a primary credit bureau directly to obtain a free copy of their Consumer Profile.
- Can I use credit reports to find the contact details of a person?
Historically, many people have used credit reports to get contact details for an individual and are not interested in the credit-related data. For this reason, they argue that they should be able to get access to the credit report because they “don’t really use the credit report part”. Unfortunately, this is exactly the type of conduct that the National Credit Act is trying to prevent. Even if you don’t intend to use the information contained in a credit report, it is still an invasion into someone’s privacy for you to access their credit report with no better reason than that you wanted to be able to contact them.
This question really relates to when you can trace an individual. The National Credit Act does allow you to trace an individual, but only in specific circumstances.
The first instance where you can trace a person is where you want to find the person in order to pay them money (in our keywords we have called this “Unclaimed Funds Distribution”). An example of this would be when you lodged an insurance claim and then moved to a new house. The insurance company could request a credit report on you in order to find out where you lived now so that they could send you a cheque.
The second instance is where you are tracing an individual in terms of a credit agreement and you are a credit provider. Please note that there must be a credit agreement (not just a normal sale agreement, but an agreement where additional charges are levied such as interest on a loan) and you must be the person who provided the credit or their agent (i.e. the “credit provider”).
WinCredit is aware that the National Credit Act has restricted the ability of businesses to trace people and we are investigating alternative ways of tracing individuals.
- Why do the credit bureaus provide a record "footprint" of the people/companies that have requested the credit report?
The credit bureaus are required to keep a record of the name of the entity/person that requested the credit report and a contact person if available in terms of s60(3) of the National Credit Act Regulations.
The purpose of this is to allow the individual whose credit report it is and other credit providers to see who has seen this credit report. In the case of the individual, the record of people requesting the credit report (otherwise known as the “footprint”) allows him/her to see who has requested a credit report and, in some cases, object to the fact that this information was provided to them (i.e. it was provided for a purpose that isn’t allowed by the National Credit Act). In these cases, the person can contact WinCredit to find out further details on the person who requested the credit report, and if necessary, lodge a complaint with the credit ombudsman/national credit regulator/credit bureau.
- I request credit reports on individuals for fraud purposes and I don't want my request to be "footprinted". Is this possible?
The record of people requesting the credit report (otherwise known as the “footprint”) can be excluded from the credit report, but only in very limited cases. Please contact WinCredit if you do not wish for your credit searches to be foot-printed in the credit report and indicate, in writing, the reason/s that you believe entitle you to be exempt from having your credit enquiry contained – or foot-printed – in a credit report.
Please note that WinCredit is extremely reluctant to provide this type of exemption to our clients and there will be a delay during which each application will be investigated extensively before an exemption of this type is granted. Typical examples of bodies that would be exempt from this requirement are: the South African Police Service, the South African Revenue Service and accredited fraud investigators.
Please be aware that if this exemption is granted the details of the person requesting the credit report are still provided to the credit bureau, but the credit bureau simply stores them and does not include them in the credit report.
- Can I request a credit report on a trust?
The credit bureaus hold some information on trusts, but it is often sketchy and incomplete. We do not recommend making credit bureau searches on trusts.
- What if the information on a credit report is wrong? (how to log a Dispute)
LexisNexis Risk Management cannot change the data reflected on credit bureau reports. If there are any data inaccuracies on a credit bureau report, it is necessary to contact the appropriate credit bureau and lodge a dispute.
To lodge a dispute with TransUnion
See TransUnion’s website on “how to dispute an item on your credit report“.
To lodge a dispute with Experian
See Experian’s website for more details on their “Consumer dispute process.”
To lodge a dispute with Compuscan
Consumers can log disputes on Compuscan’s website, www.compuscan.co.za, or by calling their call centre on 0861 51 41 31.
You will be required to send Compuscan the following:
- A copy of your ID
- Your reason for logging the dispute
- If you are disputing a judgment or admin order, they will need a recession document
Once you have logged your dispute, Compuscan will investigate the matter with the relevant credit provider. Once they have received feedback, they will update and resolve the dispute and you will be contacted once the dispute has been resolved. Please note that as per the National Credit Act, they have 20 business days to resolve the dispute.
For more information on disputes, visit Compuscan’s disputes page.
To lodge a dispute with XDS
Consumers can log disputes by calling their Call centre on 0860 937 000.
A Call Centre Agent will authenticate the individual calling and provide a Dispute form to complete. The process takes up to 20 working days to resolve.
- What are the XDS Status codes on the search result?
XDS includes a Status code for Default Alerts and Payment Notifications which explains the reason for the debt:
I – Credit Card Revoked
J – Repossession
L – Handed Over
Q – Cheque
W – Bad Debt WRitten Off
O – Other
F/N – Final Notice