Congrats on taking the bold step and taking control of your debt. What you did is exactly what it takes to get out of debt, and with that type of commitment I am sure that you will stay out of debt.
The information retained by credit bureaus is regulated by the National credit Act. Your credit profile is basically built from your credit history. The Act specifies how long this information may be kept on your credit profile. Payment history may be kept for two years. Adverse listings varies from 2-5 years. A judgement will typically be on your credit profile for 5 years.
All of these factors combine to make up your credit score.
To improve your credit score and clean up your credit profile will not happen over night. there are a few steps you can take to start the process. Be prepared to spend the next 2 – 3 months in correspondence with credit providers and bureaus.
First, pull your credit report from each credit bureau. TransUnion, Experian and XDS. it is important that you have all the information you need to address your credit profile. You will then have to get “Confirmation of Settlement” letters from all the credit providers. you will then have to address all the judgments on your profile. talk to the attorneys who got the judgment in the first place and arrange with them to rescind the judgment on the grounds that you have settled the account.
Secondly, have a look at the “Notification” section on your credit report. If there is any default listings or “slow payer” listings, talk to the specific credit provider who listed you to remove that listing immediately on the grounds that you have settled the debt. Be nice to them though, because they are under no obligation to remove the listing, and it can remain there for a s long as prescribed by law.
Thirdly, once the notifications and adverse listings has been sorted out, you should address the “Payment History” section on your credit report. This is not so easy because this section reflects your payment behaviour for the last 2 years. There is not much you can do here, but there are a few tricks you can consider. Your credit score is hugely affected by your Payment History. Allowing time to go by is the best way to improve your credit score. Each month will see one bad payment fall away and one clean one appear at the beginning of the line. Within 6-8 months you will see your credit score improve as the history becomes older and older.
Another way to improve your score is to take out a small loan with minimal payments and make sure that your payments are met each and every month. Because a loan is not a retail type account, for some or other reason it carries a heavier score when managed correctly. You can also then make small additional payments, payments in advance and early settlement of the account to boost your credit score.
As far as the Credit Amnesty goes. It ran from 1 May 2014 to 31 June 2014. It was an initiative by government to help consumers who have settled all their debt but struggled to get their credit record restored. All records that fell within certain criteria were cleared. the amnesty period is now over. We are now waiting for new legislation to be published that will force the credit bureaus to remove adverse listings from your credit profile as soon as the debt is settled. This will irradiate the need for you to bring rescission applications to remove judgments etc. It will happen automatically. But until such time as the Act Amendments are published it is in your own hands.
Hope the advice above was sufficient for you.