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How do you know if you're over-indebted?

In South Africa, more than 27 million people are credit active consumers in the formal credit market. 

Since 2009, the value of consumer credit has increased. Annually, between 2009 and 2012 there has been an average growth rate of 24%

According to the Financial Sector Outlook Study 2022, more than 50% of South Africans using formal credit services, are over-indebted. 

Why are people increasingly becoming over-indebted?

The combination of high-unemployment, rising food prices, and slow economic growth has increased South Africans' need for access to credit, while also decreasing their ability to repay their debts. 

What is really indicative of the financial stress experienced by South Africans is that the majority of these consumers are using credit to finance necessities. 43% of credit active consumers used credit to buy groceries and 11% to buy clothing and pay bills (debt). 

According to an article published by The Daily Maverick, Woolworths financial services (credit card and store card offering) saw the biggest turnover growth, with a year-on-year increase of 17.2% in December 2022. 

11 questions you should ask yourself to check if you're over-indebted:

1. Are you lying awake at night worrying about money?

If you’re struggling to sleep because you’re worried about how you will pay for everything, there’s a good chance you could be over-indebted. 

2. Is debt interfering with your home and or your work life?

  • If you find yourself unable to focus at work, or becoming more frustrated with the people around you because you can’t seem to stop worrying about money, this could be a sign that you are over-indebted. 

3. Are you in arrears on payments?

If you’ve missed more than 3 months of monthly payments, there’s a good chance you won’t be able to catch up with paying it again. 

Unless, of course, you register for debt counselling at Meerkat. 

We will help you:

  • Reduce your monthly debt repayment.
  • Call creditors to significantly reduce the interest you are paying.
  • Help you actually have money to live after paying your debt. 

You don't need a financial advisor. Let one of our Debt Counsellors call you to discuss our debt counselling solution. 

4. Have you received a Section 129 notice?

A Section 129 notice is a notice (letter) given to a consumer who has not been able to keep up with their payments. What’s important to note about a Section 129 notice is that it is the last step a creditor has to make before taking legal action against you. 

Have you received a Section 129 notice? Protect your home and car from being repossessed, fill in the form to find out more about debt counselling at Meerkat.

Fill in the form now.

5. Do you use more than one credit card?

  • Is your lifestyle maintained by credit? Do you rely on credit to pay your bills, eat, pay for electricity and buy yourself clothing? If so, you are in a risky position to become over-indebted. 

6. Do you only pay the minimum balance of your credit card each month?

  • If you’re paying the minimum balance on your credit card each month, you will end up paying more than your original debt. This is because of the interest charged. If you’re doing this, you may get the point when you simply cannot afford to make those minimum monthly payments anymore.

7. Do you borrow to pay your bills?

  • It always starts out with asking for a small amount from a family member or friend. You just need R150 for electricity. You tell yourself that you’ll pay them as soon as you get paid next month. 

It starts out like this, but before you know it, you’ve taken out a loan from a loan shark to pay your friend all the money you owe them. And now, the loan shark is charging you a huge amount of interest above the amount you asked for. 

You can’t keep up. You’re in even more debt than what you started with. It feels suffocating. Everywhere you turn there’s another bill. 

There is a way out for you. There is hope. We are a registered financial services provider, and we can help you get control of your finances again. 

Fill in the contact form to chat to one of our Debt Counsellors about debt counselling at Meerkat. 

8. Do you skip paying bills some months?

If you’re trying to play catch-up and debating which bill is less likely to take legal action against you, you are probably over-indebted.

By skipping payments, you are also negatively affecting your credit score. 

Did you know: your payment history comprises 35% of your credit score.

9. Are debt collectors calling you?

  • If your phone has become a source of anxiety for you. If you’re avoiding every unknown number because you fear it may be another debt collector harassing you, you could be over-indebted. 

Imagine picking up your phone without worrying that it’s another debt collector trying to get money from you?

You don’t just have to imagine. This could be your reality. How? With debt counselling (debt review) from Meerkat. 

Read: Debt review - everything you need to know

10. Do you mostly pay your bills late, if at all?

  • You just can’t seem to make payment on time. You’re always trying to play catch up with making all your payments. 

If you find yourself in this situation, exhale. You must be exhausted from always trying to make it work and never quite getting there. 

You deserve to breathe easily again. Did you know there is a way to live without worrying about how you will make all your payments? There is a way to live without worrying about making those payments on time. 

Let us chat to you about debt counselling. You don’t have to commit just yet. We’ll walk you through everything and answer any questions you have. 

Fill in this contact form. We'll get back to you soon.

11. Is more than 50% of your salary going towards paying off your debt?

  • There’s never quite enough money to live after paying all your debts. Treating yourself or your family members seems like such a pipe dream. 

Are you over indebted? Take our quiz!

With all the interest rate increases that have already taken place, and more expected during the course of this year, things are just going to become more expensive. If you are already spending more than 50% of your salary for debt, you are in a vulnerable position to become over-indebted. 

Fill in the form. One of our Debt Counsellors will contact you and they can assess whether or not you’re over-indebted. 

Get me out of debt! >>


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