Check your report for errors

If your credit score has changed drastically, you should make sure it doesn’t contain incorrect information.

See my credit report

Why your new credit score may be lower or negative

ClearScore recently adopted a new credit scoring system, which may have left you with a lower credit score. We explain why this may have happened and what it means for you going forward.

02 February 2023Isabelle Coetzee 2 min read
Photo by Stephen Leonardi on Unsplash

Check your report for errors

If your credit score has changed drastically, you should make sure it doesn’t contain incorrect information.

See my credit report

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.

Instead of assigning a credit score out of 705, it now assigns it out of 740. Here are the new score rankings:

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

On top of this, you can now have a negative credit score. But don't be fooled by the name – this is a 'status', helping you better understand where you're at. Your actual credit score can't go below '0'.

This is what each negative score indicates:

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.

This will give you a broader view of your credit history, allowing lenders to understand your credit behaviour before they approve an application for credit. This is incredibly valuable. However, you may initially see your credit score drop as the new data becomes available.

Sign up or log in to ClearScore to find out how the new scoring system has changed your credit score. If it's gone down, continue reading below.

You may be disappointed that your credit score has declined since the implementation of the new scoring system. There are three reasons why this may have happened:

1. Your new score falls into a lower bracket

Since the credit score brackets have changed, you may fall into a less favourable category. For example, your credit score may have been considered good and now it's seen as below average.

This is because, based on the new data that's been added, your credit score may now rank among users who are less reliable borrowers. However, this isn't a life sentence. Once you know where your new credit score stands, you can take steps to push it right back up again.

2. The new data contains unfavourable information

If the new data shows that you had a credit account in 2017, which you left unpaid for several months, then this will now be added to your credit report. The flip side of this is that positive information will also be added to your report, and your overall credit score will reflect everything available.

On the off chance that your credit score goes down because of this, you'll need to show that you're a reliable borrower to push your score in the right direction.

3. The new data is incorrect

It's possible that the new data includes incorrect information about your credit behaviour. If you notice that your credit score has changed drastically since the new scoring system was implemented, then you should immediately view your credit report to make sure the information is correct.

Check your ClearScore dashboard to verify the information on your credit report. If it’s incorrect, go to this page for steps on how to rectify this.

Your credit score will respond to your credit behaviour – just like before. This means that you can take steps to grow your score if it's gone down. Here are our top tips to get you started:

  • Master your payment history: If you can improve your payment history over the long run, then you can significantly boost your credit score.
  • Minimise your credit utilisation: If you have a credit limit of R10,000, then you should never spend more than R3,000 – or 30% of it.
  • Make fewer credit enquiries: Instead of applying to several lenders at once, rather space out your applications so that you don't seem desperate for credit.

If you follow these tips and more, you will be able to pull your credit score back to its initial glory. In the meantime, you can use ClearScore to track your progress.

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.