Debt Restruct

What Do Debt Counsellors Do to Help South Africans with Their Debt?

a professional african, ncr registered, debt counsellor sitting across the table from a woman with paperwork on the table next to a cup of coffee

Being in debt is tiring. You get paid, you surrender to necessities like clothes that have holes in them and you have one night out in a month and that’s it. And then the next month you do it all over again. 

A debt counsellor can help stop this vicious cycle. 


But how? What do debt counsellors do?

Debt counsellors help people manage their finances and eventually become debt-free by handling complex debt situations to guide over indebted consumers through the debt counselling process. In addition to providing impartial, confidential, and practical advice, they could provide financial planning, budgeting, money management and bankruptcy advice to clients whose debts have got out of control. 


What they do for clients 

To help reduce monthly debt repayments, debt counsellors correspond with creditors on behalf of their clients; they assist consumers with the legal processes involved in debt counselling and keep creditors at bay.

In short, debt counsellors make repaying debt easier.

In essence, this is what they will do for you:

  • Assess your debt to determine whether you are over indebted.
  • Look over your income and expenditure.
  • Help work out a more affordable debt repayment plan for you.
  • Prepare monthly payment plans for you to follow.
  • Protect you from creditors and ensure that they treat you fairly.
  • Negotiate with creditors to arrange affordable, realistic repayments for you.


What you can expect from debt counsellors 

A registered debt counsellor should have the following personal attributes:

  • A sympathetic, friendly, and patient individual.
  • Possess excellent administrative skills.
  • Be unbiased and non-judgmental.
  • Good communicator, both in writing and verbally.
  • Having the ability to relate to people from all walks of life.
  • Genuinely want to help others.
  • Be good at negotiating, especially with creditors.
  • Ability to remain calm under pressure.


For a debt counsellor, experience is more important than qualifications (apart from their accreditation), which is why you’ll find that a lot of them start out in voluntary positions to build up credibility.

The best debt counsellors have a finance-related background or have worked in a role that required them to manage a budget. 

However, education is the foundation and a debt counsellor needs minimum requirements, they are:

  • To have a grade 12 certificate.
  • Complete a National Credit Regulator (NCR) approved 10-day training course about the National Credit Act.
  • Be certified by the NCR and then start working at a firm or at their own small practice
Check to see if you qualify to reduce your debt instalment with our quick quiz

How registered debt counsellors help South Africans 

First things first, a debt counsellor will go through your financial situation and determine if you qualify for debt review. Once you qualify for debt relief, a debt counsellor will guide you through the debt counselling process and submit your debt review status.

This protects your assets from anyone you owe money to, including banks. At this point, a creditor is not allowed to contact you. 

A debt counsellor can then move forward with you and give you the necessary breathing space to rebuild your finances. You then enter into debt review.

This is the process of handing over your debt negotiation to a registered debt counsellor, who then compiles your debts, examines your income, and with you, works out your instalment and interest options with creditors. 


A closer look at each step in the process

Step 1: A thorough review of your financial situation to work out your debt profile. 

Step 2: Assembling all the paperwork necessary for a formal review.

Step 3: Your creditors are contacted to get confirmation and then work out a repayment schedule that suits your affordability. 

Step 4: You are listed on the National Credit Bureau’s NCR Debt Help database.

Step 5: NCR will then notify all relevant credit bureaus that you have applied for debt review.  

Step 6: Negotiate takes place with all creditors to confirm a repayment plan everyone is comfortable with.  

Step 7: The creditors confer and an agreement is reached.  

Step 8: You begin paying off your debt.


Where do you go from here?

The reasons for becoming over-indebted are almost endless, some avoidable, some unavoidable. Some of the things you have no control over such as being laid off, rising living costs, and getting divorced. Some things you do have control over such as the choices you make regarding your lifestyle. This can greatly influence your financial situation.


Each individual case is unique. Make an informed decision about what is best for you. But rest assured, you don’t need to go it alone, a registered debt counsellor can help.

Contact Debt Restruct to speak to a debt counsellor today.

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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.

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