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What is the debt review process in South Africa?

What is debt review?

Debt review, also known as debt counselling, is a legal process that helps South Africans who are struggling to pay for all their debt. Not only is it a process that will help you get on top of your debts again, it's a process that will help you become debt free! This process was introduced by The National Credit Act (NCA) and is regulated by The National Credit Regulator (NCR). What this means for a consumer is peace of mind knowing that the processes and the fees are all regulated. 

What happens when you are under debt review?

  • When you are under debt review, instead of paying multiple debts and monthly instalments, you only pay one. 
  • You can end up saving up to 50% on your monthly debt instalment!
  • You are protected from creditors harassing you and taking legal action against you. 

How does debt review work in South Africa?

  1. You will first apply for the process using form 16, also known as the debt review application form. Following your application, you will be assessed to see if you qualify for debt counselling. Someone who qualifies for debt counselling is an individual who is considered over-indebted, is employed, and has outstanding debt amounting to at least R50 000. If you are struggling to pay for all your monthly expenses, there's a good chance that you are over-indebted and that you qualify for debt counselling.

    *This assessment is done by taking your income and expenses into account.
  2. If you are found to be over-indebted, the Debt Counsellor handling your case will work out a new, reduced, affordable repayment plan for you. They are able to do this by negotiating with your creditors for lower interest rates on your loans. 
  3. A court order will be put in place regarding your new repayment plan. This protects you from creditors harassing you and your home as well as your car being repossessed. 
  4. Instead of your multiple debt monthly instalments, you will now be paying one monthly instalment for all your debt! This payment is made to a Payment Distribution Agency (PDA) who ensures payment for all your creditors are made each month.
    *It should be seen as a major red flag if you are paying a Debt Counsellor directly. This should never happen.
  5. You continue paying this one, reduced monthly instalment until the end of your debt review process. 
  6. Once you've successfully completed the debt review process, a Debt Counsellor will issue you with a clearance certificate. This will indicate to credit bureaus that you are now free to apply for credit again!

What are the disadvantages of debt review in South Africa?

A very common noted disadvantage of the process is that you will temporarily not be able to get access to credit. This means that when you apply for credit or loans, you will be rejected while you are under debt review. 

This can lead to clients feeling trapped. However, it's important to note that this is only temporary. Once you have successfully completed the debt review process, you will not only be free to apply for credit again, you will probably be in a better position to do so too. This is because debt counselling helps you rehabilitate (improve) your credit score. If you go under debt review with Meerkat, we will kickstart an emergency fund for you as part of your plan. This way you don't need to rely on credit for when life's emergencies happen.

Is going into debt review a good idea?

Debt review is a great, necessary idea for anyone struggling to pay for all their debt. With debt review, you get immediate relief because you will have a reduced monthly instalment. 

You get to manage your debt repayments while maintaining a decent living budget. You don't have to choose between paying some debts each month, and skipping others. 

With debt review, you show creditors you will consistently pay towards your debt, making you a much better candidate for credit in the future. 

Once you have successfully completed the process, there will be no record of you being under the debt review process. The only record on your credit report will be your payment history which, because of debt counselling, will be consistent and up-to-date! 

How long does one stay under debt review in South Africa?

There is no set period for the time that debt review lasts. The length of time debt review will last will depend on a few factors. Some of them include the amount of debt you have and how much you're able to pay towards that each month. 

Still on the fence about going under debt review? Let's chat! We'll answer any questions you may have about the process!


Who is Meerkat?

MyMeerkat FSP is an authorised financial services provider (FSP 50979) and registered Debt Counsellor NCRDC 2613. We've been voted as one of the Top 10 Large Debt Counsellors in the country!

top 10 large debt counsellor


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