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The world of credit rating, blacklisting, good credit standing and so on is a confusing and confounding black hole for millions. Many South Africans only realise that they have been blacklisted when their loan application is declined or when they start receiving letters of demand. To lend consumers a helping hand, Kudough has been announced. This is an online application that allows everyday South Africans to understand and manage their debt, disposable income and credit scores, all in an effort to keep them from the dreaded blacklist.

Most people have no idea at all what their credit status is, and even less of an idea of how to find definitive and reliable information on how to use their credit status to their advantage. They’re unsure of how to reduce their debt burden and take back control of their money.

National Credit Regulator numbers tell the story. The number of South Africans with records of good credit standing has declined in the last three years. Only 54 percent of 18.21 million credit-active South Africans are in good credit standing today. In June, 2007, more than 63 percent of consumers held credit records of good standing. Impaired credit records increased to more than 25 percent in the first quarter of 2010 and 17.2 percent of all credit-active South Africans hold accounts today that are more than three months in arrears.

Chris van Rensburg, ceo of Kudough, an online resource for consumers to monitor and improve their credit standing, says many people first get wind that they’re in trouble either when their application for a loan ‚ inevitably sought to pay off debt and ease their cash flow ‚ is declined or when they get letters of demand for unpaid debts.

‚The truth is that the less you know about your credit standing, the more of a financial mess you’re likely to get yourself into. And the greater the mess you’re in, the harder it is to sort out and rebuild a good financial risk profile.‚

Kudough is a consumer-focused online application that packages credit bureau information into a digestible, accessible format that makes it easy for people to understand and manage their debt utilisation, disposable income, credit scores and their status as lenders. Kudough tells you exactly how much money you owe, who you owe it to, if you have judgements or defaults and what your credit status is. It makes the calculation based on intelligence gathered from three credit bureaus in South Africa (TransUnion, Experian and XDS).

Kudough rates your credit status on a scale from A+ (for excellent) to F (poor). It gives you tools and tips that, if applied, will improve your credit status until you achieve personal ‚credit power’. It allows you to really understand what being creditworthy is, says van Rensburg.

‚We use exactly the same set of data/information that banks and credit providers, such as retail stores, would run on consumers when applying for credit. Kudough, however, presents the data in an accessible pack of information that even the rank layperson easily understands. It takes all the guess work out of credit and credit rating.

‚It’s more than just a way of finding out if you’re blacklisted. It demystifies the personal credit and debt world and gives tips and advice that is tailored to the individual and specific needs of each consumer.

‚People who manage credit wisely know how valuable a tool a good credit status is. It gives you access to more money at better rates. It saves you money now and it can save you money in the future. A good credit rating enables you to save and invest. It brings a sense of confidence that good fiscal discipline instils. It teaches discipline and it elevates your social standing.‚

Kudough was launched quietly six weeks ago, and every indication so far is that it’s a service that South African consumers have felt a need for. Since its launch in August , Kudough has helped thousands of people make sense of their credit rating and implement better personal money management.

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