A Credit Reference Bureau (CRB) is a company that keeps track of your credit rating so that potential lenders (Banks, Sacco’s, Microfinance firms etc.) can assess your suitability for borrowing, all the while keeping record of defaulters.
In recent times, however, employers, particularly the national and county governments, are increasingly making it a requirement for job applicants to show their credit status as part of the job application process.
To do this, one is required to get a CRB clearance certificate that has to be obtained from a licensed CRB company.
At the time of this writing, there are three CRB companies licensed by the Central Bank of Kenya. They include:
- TransUnion Africa (Credit Reference Bureau Africa Limited)
- Metropol Credit Reference Bureau Limited
- Creditinfo Credit Reference Bureau Kenya Limited
You can get your CRB clearance certificate from any of these three companies, and while the fee is similar across all of them there are some subtle differences in the exact procedure.
Today we’ll be looking at TransUnion as I found through my experience it was the most convenient and cheapest to use thanks to their Nipashe App.
This app does away with the otherwise exorbitant SMS costs one would have to foot by applying through SMS/USSD. The application is completely online, and you can do it on your own.
Apply for CRB Clearance Certificate using TransUnion
- KSh.2200 fee to request the clearance certificate (this absurdly high fee is unfortunately constant across all three CRBs)
- KSh.50 for Registration
- M-PESA, Airtel Money or Equitel to pay the above fees
- TransUnion Nipashe App
- Android Phone to install the app
- A valid Email Address
- Download and install the latest TransUnion Nipashe app from Google Playstore.
- Launch the app and fill your personal details that include your names, National ID Number and mobile phone number (for convenience, use the one you intend to pay with). Tap the Next button to continue.
- The app will now automatically check your credit rating and report it on the Welcome page. However, to access the other services you’ll need to activate your account first.
- Tap the Activate button at the bottom of the page to do this. You’ll be quickly prompted to register as part of this activation.
- To do this, pay an amount of KSh.50 to the Safaricom paybill number 212121 with your ID number as the account number. If you use Equitel, you can pay the fee using the paybill number 212120 with your ID number likewise serving as the account number.
- Once the payment of the Ksh.50 is completed, you’ll get an SMS from TransUnion (TRANSU-CRB) with a verification code and a confirmation that the registration was successful. Also, you’ll be now receiving a free credit report yearly.
- Go back to the Nipashe App and enter this verification code and tap the Verify button to complete the activation. The other services will now be accessible.
- Now just swipe to the Clearance Certificate page and enter the email address where you’d wish to receive the certificate, then tap on the Submit button.
- You’ll now be prompted to pay the KSh.2200 to the M-PESA/Airtel Money paybill 212121 using the mobile number you registered/activated your TransUnion app with.
- Go to your M-PESA or Airtel Money account and pay the amount. Use your ID Number as the account number.
- After paying, you’ll get an SMS from TransUnion confirming that a clearance certificate has been sent to your email address.
- Check your email address and download the certificate that will be attached as PDF file.
Printing the Clearance Certificate
Your clearance certificate will come as a secured PDF. When opening it using your PDF application, you’ll be prompted to enter a password. Use your ID number as the password. Once you open it, you can go ahead and print it as usual.
Some PDF applications may not permit printing of the PDF even after entering the correct password and opening the PDF. This is because the Printing Permission for the PDF is set to Not Allowed.
To get around this, use Adobe Reader which is what worked for me after my default PDF readers (PDF-Xchange and SumatraPDF) all failed to allow printing.
Alternatively, you can use a PDF decrypter to remove the open password and permission restrictions (printing, copying, annotations etc.). Use your ID Number when prompted to enter a password to decrypt with.