Getting stuck in debt can be scary, and in many instances, indebted individuals are unable to fix their credit scores by themselves.
This is where debt review comes into the picture. As a pivotal first step towards repairing your credit score and preventing being blacklisted by Credit Bureaus, the debt review process is a relief scheme introduced by the National Credit Act (NCA) in 2007 with the sole purpose of assisting overindebted South African consumers.
Your credit score is a rating that indicates the likelihood of you repaying a loan. Lenders, such as banks, will assess your credit score in order to understand what risk they may be taking by lending you money.
Not being able to pay your debt installments can have a negative impact on your overall risk profile and credit score. Your credit score may be impacted due to the following reasons:
Through the process of debt review, you can prevent any further harm to your credit score and conquer your debt.
The great thing about debt review is that it has no impact on your credit score!
Although you will be flagged by Credit Bureaus as ‘under debt review’ and unable to access any additional credit, entering the debt review process is one step closer to repairing your credit score quickly and taking control of your financial freedom. It is important to remember that there is no shame in entering debt review – it is an empowering decision that will benefit you in the long-term.
And, once the debt review process is complete, and you have received a clearance certificate, you will have the financial habits and improved finances to rebuild your credit score – now you’re aiming for an excellent credit rating!
Another positive aspect about being under debt review is that there is no limit to the amount of debt that can be included in the review, therefore, all indebted South Africans are able to apply.
As previously mentioned, you will have no access to extra credit once your debt negotiations are legally transferred to a Debt Counsellor for review. This may seem intimidating at first but it is actually a positive factor that encourages the repayment of your existing debt by preventing you from incurring any more debt.
Once all is in order with your Debt Counsellor, they will assist you by creating and implementing a realistic and sustainable monthly repayment plan.
Tailored to your income, expenses and budget, a reduced repayment plan will help you to maintain consistent repayment, make space for cash flow and, although the repayment term may be longer than expected, slowly but effectively reduce your debt.
There are several great benefits for consumers to undergo debt review. These include minimising your contact with creditors and stressful collection calls, protecting your valuable assets from being repossessed, and having your debt repayments consolidated into one in order to prevent potential complications.
So, what happens when you have successfully cleared all your debt? Congratulations! Your Debt Counsellor will issue you a clearance certificate within 21 days after completing the process confirming that you are officially debt-free. You will be unflagged by Credit Bureaus and are now able to (carefully) reapply for credit again, as well as begin the journey to reconstructing a healthy credit score.
Now sans debt, it is important that you maintain a healthy credit score and not fall into the cycle of debt once again. Since you will be rebuilding your credit score from naught, you may only have access to low-barrier credit in the beginning.
To commence increasing your credit score, start with small credit accounts, such as a monthly cellphone contract, streaming subscription or insurance account, but only if within your budget.
When applying for a credit card, make sure to set a small spending limit and keep in mind that cash is king. Furthermore, keep track of your financial history and prioritise timeous repayments. Consistency is key.
Here are some other helpful tips to keep you out of debt and on your way to achieving a healthier credit score:
You may feel hesitant to enter into the debt review process at first, but reaping the rewards of a healthy credit score reach beyond just that of financial freedom – it also provides you with security and peace of mind knowing you have your finances under control.
Find out if you’re eligible to reduce your debt and protect your belongings.
Disclaimer: This website and any information herein is not intended to be, nor does it constitute, financial, tax, legal, investment, credit, or other advice. Before making any decision or taking any action regarding your finances, you should consult a qualified professional directly.