Credit Score Report

How to check CRB Status and get CRB Clearance Certificate

If you want a loan to start a business or settle a critical financial need then you need to first check your CRB status. This step will save you time and energy.

Nothing sucks more than going to a bank, waiting in line for hours only to be told you cannot get a loan.

But if this happens, you need to also find out how to get CRB clearance so that you can comfortably walk back to that bank and secure a loan.

This guide aims to help you do either of the two plus other things you never knew you needed to do.

Read to the very end of the article to know which guides work best. I also have a tip for you to get a totally free CRB clearance certificate

But first things first.

What’s a CRB?

CRB stands for Credit Reference Bureau which is a company licensed by the central banks, specifically CBK (Central Bank of Kenya) in Kenya to collect, store and organize credit information of citizens and companies from different sources and provide credit reports when requested by a lender.

In simple terms, whenever you borrow any form of loan from a registered financial institution, how you pay back that loan represents your credit information.

This information is collected by CRB agencies who come up with a report that determines whether you pay your loans diligently or default on your loans.

When you want to borrow another loan, this information will be accessed by the bank or lender through the CRB to determine whether it’s safe to lend you money.

Loan Application rejected
Bad credit score results to denial of loans

Your CRB status is, therefore, your credit score which is how good you are in paying loans. A credit report acts as the reference document for your CRB status.

CRB status has become a very crucial factor in today’s world. Not only do banks, SACCOs, mobile phone lenders, and other financial institutions necessitate the need for credit score information in order to send you money, employers also want it.

It is very common to be asked to present a CRB clearance certificate before you can even be considered for an interview. Companies are looking for trustworthy individuals and that document proves you can be trusted.

In Kenya, three companies are licensed by CBK to offer CRB services. They include; Metropol, Transunion, and CreditInfo.

Metropol is a Kenyan corporation established in 1996 and registered to provide official credit information for all banks in Kenya. TransUnion is an American credit rating agency with branches in Kenya and Africa. Lastly, CreditInfo is an Icelandic credit information agency operating in more than 30 countries.

All these three offer practically the same services yet they differentiate themselves with the quality of their services. That’s why we’re gonna look at how to work with each of them.

Now, to the big question

How to check CRB status

You can check your CRB status through various means with either of the three companies. The three main methods include

  • SMS
  • CRB Apps
  • Online and Email

How to check CRB status through SMS

TransUnion

You can check your CRB status using Transunion SMS service which costs about 20 Ksh per SMS sent.

  1. Send your full names to 21272.
  2. Send your National ID number.
  3. Chose credit status (abbreviated as CC).
  4. You will receive your feedback as either Good or Default (Blacklisted)

This method is costly. It’s much cheaper and convenient to download the Transunion Nipashe App instead to check your CRB status for free

Metropol

With Metropol, you can check your CRB Status through SMS by following these simple steps.

  1. Dial *433# (It costs Ksh 1)
  2. Input Listing status
  3. Input your CRB Unique PIN (sent to you after registration)
  4. For Agent Number, Enter 0 and Confirm
  5. You will be asked to pay Ksh 50 to get your status. Select M-Pesa for this process to be initiated automatically.
  6. Enter PIN and Press OK

You can also register first before viewing your CRB status. To do this

  1. Go to M-Pesa Menu
  2. Select Pay Bill
  3. Enter new Metropol pay bill number 186644
  4. Enter your National ID number as the Account Number
  5. Enter Amount Ksh 50 for Registration
  6. Enter your PIN and Submit

You will receive an SMS with a unique pin, a reference number, and a special link

CreditInfo doesn’t have an SMS service for checking credit information

How to check CRB status through Phone Apps

Besides using SMS services, you can check your CRB statuses much easily by downloading CRB apps built by the respective credit information companies. This method is rather efficient and fast plus it can be cost-free especially for your first credit status report

TransUnion

TransUnion created the app Android TransUnion Nipashe to offer services to Kenyan citizens. Unfortunately there currently is no TransUnion iOS app for Kenyans.

  1. Access your Google Play store
  2. Search for TransUnion Nipashe. (Its logo has a circled ‘tu’)
  3. Install (It’s just about 4 MBs in size)
  4. Open the app
  5. Fill in your details, accept Terms and Conditions then submit.

Your credit status will be boldly displayed on sign up. It can either be Good or Default.

You can also go ahead and activate your account which will prompt you to pay Ksh 50 through Transunion M-Pesa playbill number 212121 or TransUnion Equitel pay bill number 212120.

TransUnion Nipashe app had been working well for some time until recently in 2020 when Google PlayStore reviewers started criticizing the app for being non-functional.

Some customers have complained that they paid for services which were not delivered. Attempts to reach TransUnion customer care offices through social media accounts and phone numbers have borne no fruits for others.

I would advise you to use other methods for now especially if you are asked to pay.

Metropol

Metropol created Crystobol App to enable customers to conveniently access Metropol services from the comfort of their phones. The app has less number of downloads and a lower rating as compared to TransUnion.

However, the customer care team seems more responsive which means if you encounter a problem you can follow up and get assisted.

  1. Go to Google Play Store
  2. Search Crystobol. (Logo has a diagonal M)
  3. Install (5.2 MBs)
  4. Fill in the registration form and submit. Your account will be created and hence you will have access to all the services offered by Metropol.
  5. To check your CRB status Click on Credit Score.
  6. You will be prompted to pay Ksh 150 to get your Credit score.
  7. Enter your M-Pesa PIN and confirm.

Your credit score will be between a minimum of 200 and a maximum of 900. The higher the score the more creditworthy you are.

Metropol Crystobol CRB App
Check CRB status using Crystobol app

A credit score below 400 means you have defaulted on loans in the past and you cannot access credit facilities from financial institutions.

CreditInfo doesn’t also have an app for citizens to access credit information. However, they thrive in the next method which uses online services

How to check CRB status online.

CRB agency websites provide alternative channels to check your credit information especially when SMS and Phone Apps systems fail.

Luckily enough, all credit rating agencies in Kenya have functional websites and email marketing channels for this purpose.

CreditInfo

CreditInfo mostly offers credit information through email services

  1. Access CreditInfo Credit report page
  2. Click Personal Credit report
  3. Fill in the form with correct information
  4. Upload a photo of your ID front side
  5. Select Purpose as Credit Application
  6. Submit

You will receive an email with information on how to make payment at the email address you provided in your application.

The email requests you to pay a verification fee Ksh 50 through either M-Pesa or Airtel Money, and respond with the email with the transaction message after paying for your credit report to be sent through email.

Pay through

  1. M-Pesa Pay Bill Number 510972 and using National ID number as the account number or
  2. Use Airtel Money to send Ksh 50 to number 073 471 8973.

If you used a Safaricom phone number to register and waited long enough, the payment process will be automatically imitated on your phone. Enter your PIN and confirm.

A 4 page credit report with your numeric score, risk classification, and the number of credit queries in the past year will be delivered in your email within some minutes.

Tip: the first time you use this service, don’t pay the Ksh 50. Wait for at least one day and check your email. I didn’t pay but got my credit score document for free.

TransUnion

TransUnion Kenya branch website, unfortunately, does not provide a direct means to request for your credit score. However, if either the SMS or Phone App methods fail, you can email the company at info@transunion.com and request for information.

If you have paid for certain services but have not been served, send them your transaction codes and complaint message for faster processing.

Metropol

Before you can check your status online with Metropol, you have to register through either the phone app or SMS and pay verification fee of Ksh 50 so that you can receive a reference number.

If you have done this, then follow these steps to check your status online

  1. Head over to Metropol Cystobol webpage
  2. Enter your Mobile number and Reference number
  3. Click Login.
  4. Click on the link displayed on the screen to download your report in PDF form

Metropol offers one free credit report per year. Any additional credit reports will be provided at a cost of Ksh 250

At this point, we have exhausted all the methods to check CRB status in Kenya. Now considering the hard economy of our country, many Kenyans will find themselves in the default side CRB.

This is normally what they call being “blacklisted”.

You cannot borrow loans from lenders while in the blacklist. What should you do?

Start the process of clearing your name from CRB blacklists before you can think of getting a loan anywhere.

But where do you start?

First, identify the financial institutions that snitched you to the CRB agencies

How to know who has listed you?

Besides providing credit scores and reports, all CRB companies are mandated to provide information to citizens on whoever has listed them. This allows citizens to follow up with the loans and rectify their credit scores.

Metropol provides you with this information at a cost of Ksh 50. You can know who has listed you by dialing *433# at a cost of Ksh 1 and select 5 for (Who Has Listed Me) then follow the payment procedures. You can also check who as listed you through Crystobol app by clicking (Listed by).

Currently, that’s the most efficient way to check who has listed you. TransUnion and CreditInfo require you to send them an email: info@transunion.com and cikinfo@creditinfo.co.ke.

Pay defaulted loans or follow up on CRB disputes

Now that you know who has listed you, follow up on the matter. Reach them through social media platforms and inquire about the issue. If you have an outstanding loan that you defaulted, pay it in full.

If you have a very big debt that you cannot clear at once, you need to negotiate with your lender. I came across Tatua Centre, a company that helps clients negotiate with lenders to improve their credit score while they continue paying their loans.

Meanwhile, some citizens might discover erroneous information affecting their creditworthiness. For instance, you had fully paid a certain loan but the report indicates you had not settled the loan.

Follow up on the matter relentlessly.

Tatua Centre also helps deal with these issues. They have an alternative CRB related dispute resolution system which helps citizens reach an agreement with lenders and CRB agencies. Submit a complaint on their website and let its professional legal team get on your case as soon as possible.

Once you have you have paid all the loans and have resolved your issue with your lenders, request them to update credit reference bureaus to remove you from the CRB blacklist.

Banks update the credit data companies daily so your credit score might be updated within 24 hours but could take up to 3 days. Wait for at least 3 days before moving to the next step.

Next, you need to acquire a CRB clearance certificate

How to get CRB clearance certificate

CRB clearance certificates are offered by these agencies to act as proof for the credit trust of a citizen who wants to acquire credit services from banks, tenders, employment opportunities, and public office jobs.

This explains why credit clearance certificates are on demand during the months approaching elections.

Metropol CRB Clearance Certificate
Metropol CRB Clearance Certificate

These certificates unfortunately have a relevance period of 24 hours which means, if you acquire one, it’s only relevant for the next day. This is based on the fact that credit scores are updated daily.

And since they are expensive, you cannot afford to request for a clearance certificate unless you really need it within the next 24 hours.

Metropol CRB clearance certificate

Before you begin, ensure you have enough money in your M-Pesa considering a CRB clearance certificate costs Ksh. 2200.

  1. Dial *433# (costs Ksh 1)
  2. Select Clearance Certificate
  3. Enter PIN
  4. Enter 0 (zero) for Agent
  5. Select Confirm
  6. Choose M-Pesa. An automated payment procedure will be initiated.
  7. Enter your PIN and submit.
  8. You will receive a message with a reference number from Metropol
  9. Access Metropol Crystobol website
  10. Fill your Mobile Number and Reference Number you got from Metropol
  11. Login
  12. Download your CRB Clearance Certificate

TransUnion CRB clearance certificate

TransUnion also charges Ksh 2200 for a clearance certificate and here is the process

  1. Access M-Pesa Menu
  2. Select Pay Bill
  3. Enter TransUnion pay bill number 212121
  4. Enter your National ID number as the Account Number
  5. Input Ksh 2200
  6. Enter your PIN and Send
  7. Log into your Email
  8. Forward the M-Pesa message to the email cert@transunion.co.ke

Your clearance certificate will be sent within the day.

CreditInfo CRB clearance certificate

This process is similar to the one for acquiring a credit status report.

  1. Access CreditInfo clearance certificate page
  2. Click on Personal Clearance Certificate
  3. Fill in the form with correct information
  4. Upload a photo of your ID front side
  5. Select Purpose as Credit Application
  6. Submit

You will receive an email with information on how to make payment at the email address you provided in your application.

Now, as I tipped you before, in your first inquiry for a CreditInfo clearance certificate, you will be given a free clearance certificate unlike with Metropol and TransUnion.

I requested a credit report and CRB clearance certificate without paying for either of the two but within a few hours, the two documents were sent to my email.

This free service can be very helpful for people who have a good credit score, an urgent opportunity that requires a CRB clearance certificate but don’t have the Ksh 2200 required by other CRB agencies.

And there you go.

Drop any queries you have in the comments sections and I will be glad to help you out.

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