Your new credit score is here

ClearScore has been updated to the new scoring system, which means that your new credit score is live.

See my new score

Introducing: A new credit score system

We've recently upgraded our scoring system. This article outlines what this change means and looks at how it could impact your credit profile. We'll also look at some of the questions users are asking. But before we get started, find out how we determine your credit score in the first place.

02 February 2023Isabelle Coetzee 4 min read
Table mountain image showing new credit score from ClearScore

Your new credit score is here

ClearScore has been updated to the new scoring system, which means that your new credit score is live.

See my new score

Your credit score, a three-digit number, indicates your credit reliability. It allows lenders to understand your credit behaviour before they approve any credit applications you make.

If you have a high credit score, you're seen as a reliable borrower and are more likely to qualify for credit offers with lower interest rates.

There are two kinds of credit scores:

  • Credit bureau credit scores: As the name suggests, these are calculated by the credit bureaus. Each has a scoring system that gives you a high-level overview of your credit profile. For example, Experian may have given you a credit score of 680 out of 705 because lenders informed them that you were a responsible borrower. As you make regular repayments, this could climb to 685 and then 690.

  • Custom credit scores: These are determined by lenders. They look at information from their preferred credit bureau and additional information from your accounts with them. For example, if you apply for vehicle finance through the same lender that you have a home loan, they will also consider how reliable you've been at paying off your home loan before approving your new credit application.

The ClearScore platform lets you see your credit bureau credit score from Experian. It's quick and easy, so sign up or log in today.

We get our data from Experian. Experian's new scoring system is called Sigma, and they have shared their new data with us. The new data will give you a more accurate understanding of your credit behaviour from a credit bureau and lender perspective.

Instead of having a credit score of 705, you now have a credit score out of 740. This means that the brackets, which define your handling of credit, have also changed. Have a look at the below categories that apply to your new credit score:

Credit score

Experian band

ClearScore name



Let’s start climbing

599 - 615

Below Average

On the up

616 - 633


On good ground

634 - 657


Looking bright

658 - 740


Soaring high

Besides having new positive values, some borrowers may also have negative credit scores. But don't be fooled by the name – this is merely a 'status', helping you better understand where you're at. Your actual credit score can't go below '0'.

There are six negative scores, and they indicate the following:

Credit score



The bureau doesn’t have enough information to give you a credit score. Learn how to build your credit score with this Coaching Plan.


Records cannot find you, indicating you may be deceased. If this isn't the case, you can raise a dispute.


You are under sequestration, which means that your assets are being repossessed. To learn more about the legal consequences of not sticking to your credit agreements, read this article.


You are under debt review. During this period, you are barred from taking out any further credit. If this isn’t the case, find out why it’s still showing up on your report here.


You have an active dispute on with one of the credit bureaus. Your credit score will remain in a negative status until this is resolved. Read this article if you’re having trouble with this process.


There are fraud warnings on your account because someone may be taking out credit in your name. Find out how to take action against this here.

At ClearScore, you will have access to your new credit score from January 2023. Log in to your account to get acquainted with your new credit score.

Have a look at the below questions and answers to learn more about what your new credit score means for you:

1. Why has the scoring system changed?

Since lenders consider custom credit scores, you need to know how you rank according to their expectations. The new scoring system offers more details about your credit profile. It allows lenders to get an understanding of your credit behaviour before they approve an application for credit.

2. Can I keep my credit score on the old credit score system?

Unfortunately, you can't keep your old credit score. Every credit bureau offers its own scoring system, so you won't be able to find your old credit score at a different credit bureau either. Get to know your new credit score by logging in here.

3. Will my new credit score affect my ability to get credit?

Your new credit score won't affect your ability to get credit from a lender. The new system is more aligned with how they see your financial situation. This means that it will give you more confidence when applying for credit.

4. Will it take longer for my new credit score to improve?

Even though the new credit score is out of 740 rather than 705, it shouldn't take you any longer to improve your credit score. It may improve faster now that the data's more accurate.

5. My credit score has gone down – why?

The majority of ClearScore users will experience an increase in their credit scores. However, if you see a slight decline, don't stress. It's just your credit score adjusting to the new system. It may have gone down because Experian now classifies users with similar credit scores to be riskier than before.

If you find that there's a drastic change in your credit score, you should investigate the data and make sure that it's correct. If you don't recognise activity on your report, then you may be a victim of fraud. Double-check your credit report and read more in this article.

Regardless of which credit score or bureau you work through, there are actions you can take to build your credit reputation. Here are some general tips to keep your score high:

  • Improve your payment history: Every time you pay a lender on time, this will be noted and relayed to the credit bureaus. Your payment history has the biggest impact on your credit score, so make sure you abide by your credit agreements at all times.
  • Keep credit utilisation below 30%: Your credit utilisation, which is a percentage of your overall credit limit, should be kept under 30%. For example, if you have a credit limit of R1,000, you should not spend more than R300 on credit.
  • Diversify your credit accounts: Lenders want to see that you can manage both long- and short-term debt. If it lines up with your other financial goals, try to have different credit accounts, such as a credit card and a loan.
  • Keep your accounts open: If you settle one of your credit accounts, don't close it unnecessarily. The age of your credit accounts adds weight to your credit score because it shows that you can maintain a credit account for long periods.
  • Reduce your credit enquiries: Every time you apply for credit, your chosen lender will request your credit report from one of the bureaus – this is known as a credit enquiry. If you have too many of these in a short space of time, your credit score will take a knock.

The best way to ensure your credit score performs well is to regularly view your credit report. This allows you to see what's happening on your report and take action to keep your credit score in order. Sign up or log in to ClearScore to get your full report – it's free, forever.

Isabelle Coetzee Image

Written by Isabelle Coetzee

Freelance Copywriter

Isabelle is a freelance finance writer and journalist in Cape Town. She helps make managing your personal finances calm, clear and easy to understand.