Debt Restruct

Applying for credit after debt review (takes this long)

woman's hand holding a credit card above a laptop keyboard to apply for credit

Now that you are liberated from the weight of debt and have completed your debt review process, it is totally understandable if you want to hold onto that debt-free status for as long as possible.

It may seem daunting to have to apply for credit after debt review but the reality is that there will come a time when you might want to.

Perhaps you are ready to purchase your first house or car, or maybe you decide to study. These are all investments that will garner great reward in the future.

Let’s look at how long after the debt review you actually have to wait before you can apply for credit. 


How long after debt review can I apply for credit?

Once you successfully complete your debt review process, you will receive your debt review Clearance Certificate. Once in hand, you can apply for credit within a week. However, it is safer to expect an additional delay to allow all of your creditors to verify that your accounts are paid in full. 

We’ve got an entire post dedicated to what happens after debt review, take a look to learn more.


What needs to happen before you apply for new credit again

Here is what needs to happen before you can apply for credit again:


  1. Credit providers must provide the debt counsellor with paid-up letters for all of the applicable accounts.
  2. The debt counsellor may then issue the Clearance Certificate.
  3. Everything must be verified and certified and sent to the credit bureau.
  4. The consumer status is updated to reflect that the consumer is no longer under debt review.


Most debt experts recommend allowing at least a month before you check whether your debt review status is removed. 


Did you know?

The National Credit Act (NCA) states that only your payment history should remain on your credit record for 24 months — this means that the debt review status will be completely erased.


Let’s take a closer look at two key parts of this process.


Credit providers must verify that your debt is repaid

After your debt review each of your creditors will receive a copy of your Clearance Certificate. They are then tasked with changing the status of that account to ‘PAID UP’ or ‘CLOSED’. 

Any defaut listings and or judgements against your name will also be removed as part of this process.

Check to see if you qualify to reduce your debt instalment with our quick quiz

Although the process of updating your profile should happen swiftly, it can take some time. Remember that there are a lot of businesses and representatives involved, which naturally adds to the time it takes to get things done.


Your debt review clearance certificate must be issued

We’ve mentioned the weight of the Clearance Certificate — make sure that you receive your certificate as soon as you finish your debt review, and your creditors have acknowledged that your accounts are repaid. Then, you may look toward creating an improved credit profile. 

You can review your credit report to check whether your name is still under debt review after you complete the debt review process and your Clearance Certificate has been issued.

If you are monitoring the process, it will be easier for you to pick up discrepancies, report them and have them fixed. 


Things to keep in mind

It is important to note that some creditors may be hesitant to lend out money immediately after the debt review process (despite its successful completion).

Besides allowing time for the process we mentioned above, it is also a good idea to bear the following in mind: 


Here’s how to do this without running into trouble.

TIP: When applying for credit — start small 


Begin with something small like a cellphone, or retail account. These types of accounts do not require a high credit score to attain and do not put you at risk of becoming over-indebted once again.

When rebuilding your profile in the aim of applying for credit again, remember:

  • Start small, 
  • Stick to the payment schedule 
  • Do not over-commit. 
  • Stick to your budget.  Nothing is worth incurring debt that you cannot afford. 


Want help optimising your budget? Download one of our free budget templates for South Africans and start budgeting more effectively today.


Final thoughts

Going through debt review is worth it, although you’ll lose access to credit in the short term, the process will help you to rebuild a stronger credit score in the long term; which will allow you to borrow money more securely in the future. 

As your credit score and payment profile improve, so do your chances of being approved for credit and the interest rates creditors will offer you.

Do you know whether you qualify?

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.

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