What is the Credit Reference Bureau (CRB)?
Credit Reference Bureau (CRB) is an agency that obtains financial information from institutions that provide credit to customers for various purposes, such as domestic use and business loans. In this case, the data providers are credit firms, while the data subjects are individuals or business entities obtaining credit.
CRB retains the data of every customer. This is then used in future credit facilitation from various financial institutions through the generation of a Consumer Credit Report, which contains the credit history of a borrower.
The information on the CRB database is received from institutions that are regulated by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) and it is stored for five years after the last loan settlement by a customer. On the other hand, bankruptcy data is retained for seven years since its date of discharge.
What is CRB listing?
CRB listing is a record of your financial information produced upon the reception, and assessment of your credit information, scores, and ratings by different financial institutions.
There are two types of CRB listings; positive and negative listing. A positive listing depicts a customer whose loan repayment is consistent, while a negative listing means that a customer is either a defaulter or has irregularities in the servicing of obtained loans.
When is a Negative listing submitted to a CRB?
CRB negatively lists individuals and business entities based on the information submitted by financial institutions. It is the firms like banks and mobile money lenders that ask CRB to negatively list an individual over a defaulted loan.
However, before this adverse step is taken, banks and mobile phone lenders give the defaulters a grace period of 90 days and 30 days, respectively to repay their outstanding loans. But after the lapse of the stipulated time, their failure to meet the required financial obligation will automatically lead to a negative listing on CRB.
How can you check CRB status in Kenya?
Up to this point, you are curious to know your CRB status, whether it is negative or positive. In Kenya, three CRBs have been licensed by CBK and provide its clients with their credit information. Its clients are individuals or corporate entities.
The three CRBs are;
1. TransUnion (CRB Africa)
2. Metropol Credit Reference Bureau Limited
How to check CRB status on TransUnion
1. Register by sending your full names as they appear on your ID card to 21272. Sending your name costs Ksh19. Users can also register using the TransUnion Nipashe App available on Google Play Store.
2. Enter your ID number in the context menu
3. Choose credit status indicated as CC
4. You will receive your credit status in form of an SMS indicating your listing as either positive or negative
TransUnion charges for consumers and business entities
Before accessing TransUnion CRB services, one has to pay a one-time registration fee of Ksh50 to paybill number 212121 with the ID number as the account number.
Credit reports are issued annually for free, but an additional report will cost Ksh300. Also, your first clearance certificate is provided for free, but an extra certificate costs Ksh2,200, payable to their paybill number (212121).
For a corporate credit report and a clearance certificate, Ksh1,350 and Ksh2,200 is paid, respectively.
TransUnion Africa’s free services include dispute notice of alteration of a credit report, possible fraud alert, and credit alert notifications.
How to check CRB status on Metropol
Metropol CRB services can be accessed through their website, Metropol Crystobol App, or by their USSD (*433#).
1. Pay Ksh50 via their paybill number 220388 and enter your ID number as the account number.
2. You will receive an SMS with a unique PIN, a link, and a reference number.
3. Dial *433# and enter the unique PIN to receive your CRB status. Alternatively, you can visit the sent link and log in using the PIN to check your CRB status on their website.
Metropol charges for consumers and business entities
Metropol charges a Ksh50 registration fee, a Ksh150 annual subscription for obtaining your credit score through the year and Ksh250 to get detailed information when you are negatively listed and you want to know the institutions that have listed you.
Metropol clearance certificate is issued at a fixed cost of Ksh2,200.
How to check CRB status on CreditInfo
To check CRB status on CreditInfo, visit https://ke.creditinfo.com/products-services/clearance-certificate/.
You will be required to fill in personal information such as your full name, ID number and to state the reason for applying for a certificate of clearance. You will also be required to submit a clear photo of your original ID.
CreditInfo charges Ksh2,200 for a clearance certificate
What is a credit score?
A credit score is a prediction by CRB that forecasts the ability of a consumer or a business entity to repay loans. It is arrived at after a risk assessment of one’s credit history.
Credit scores are awarded in bands of A to E. They are further split into three detailed classes of risk grades represented by numbers 250 to 900. The higher the score, the lower the risk.
However, having a higher credit score is not a guarantee of getting a loan in credit facilities because different institutions have different approaches to granting loans to consumers.
How can you increase your credit score?
Increasing your credit score means an improvement in your credit history. Always pay your bills on time and settle your loans before the lapse of the agreed repayment date.
* Ksh2,200 paid to CRBs to obtain a clearance certificate is not a payment to clear you from the negative listing but it is for the processing of the certificate itself.
* To get a clearance certificate with a good credit history, you must clear outstanding loans that you owe financial institutions. Otherwise, a clearance certificate will indicate your credit history with the actual data received from these institutions.
* A clearance certificate is valid as of the day it is obtained.
* CRB receives data from financial institutions every 10th of each month, and it updates its database by the 15th of every month.