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What is a debt review clearance certificate?

If you're nearing the end of your debt counselling process, you will soon be receiving your debt clearance certificate. This certificate or process can sometimes be referred to as a:

  • credit clearance certificate
  • ITC clearance certificate/ ITC clearance for debt review

*ITC refers to the credit bureau TransUnion which was previously named ITC. It's important to note, however, a credit bureau removes your debt review flag from your credit report, but they don't issue the clearance certificate.

To receive your clearance certificate you must have registered for debt review (debt counselling). First, if you successfully registered for debt counselling, well done! You did what many people can’t do. You faced really looking at your debt - that's something to be proud of!

A quick look at the national debt stats in South Africa:

  • Did you know: over 50% of South Africans are over-indebted. If you're struggling with your debt, you really aren’t alone. 
  • 95% of low-income individuals use debt to afford basic needs such as food, clothing, electricity, and transport.
  • According to FNB, more than half of middle-income consumers spend their salary in under 5 days of being paid.

Interested in finding out more about the debt review (debt counselling) process? Read this article

So, what is a clearance certificate? How will this affect your credit score? And how long do you have to wait after being issued with this certificate before you can start applying for credit again?

Let’s tackle all of this here. 

What is a clearance certificate for debt review?

Your debt clearance certificate is a formally recognised document, also known as form 19 by The National Credit Regulator, that confirms you have successfully completed the debt review (debt counselling) process.

This document must be issued by a registered debt counsellor for it to be valid. ALL of our Debt Counsellors at Meerkat are registered with the National Credit Regulator (NCR). 

To be issued with a clearance certificate, you have to meet these requirements:

  • All of your debt counselling fees must be paid.
  • All of your accounts that have been restructured according to a debt repayment plan, including the repayment terms, must be settled. This includes, but is not limited to: credit card debt, store credit debt, personal loans etc.
  • If you have a home loan, there can still be money owning, you just have to be up-to-date with all monthly payments, and be able to pay them should you be issued with a clearance certificate. 

Interested in finding out how you can leave your debt review process early? Read this blog post.

Below is a debt clearance certificate sample:

debt review clearance certificate sample

Do I have to submit my debt review clearance certificate to all my creditors? 

No. All your creditors will issue a paid-up letter to your Debt Counsellor. Your Debt Counsellor will then use this to produce a clearance certificate. Under section 21 of The National Credit Amendment Act, Debt Counsellors then submit a certified copy of this clearance certificate to all the Credit Bureaus.

Credit Bureaus will then remove the debt counselling flag from your account to indicate that you've successfully completed the debt counselling process. 

The three main Credit Bureaus in South Africa:

Can I apply for credit immediately after receiving my debt Clearance Certificate?

After receiving your clearance certificate, you need to give the Credit Bureaus time to update your profile. It's often best to allow for 3-4 months before applying for credit. Keep an eye on your credit report to make sure all your default information is updated as this can negatively impact your credit score. You can get a free credit report here.

Once credit bureaus have updated your credit record, your credit score should be low, and the only thing still showing on your profile should be your payment history.

Before diving into purchasing on credit again, remember that the purpose of paying off all your debt is not to get back into an overwhelming cycle of debt. Instead, this time, why not start saving and build up an Emergency Fund to provide a buffer for when life's emergencies happen?

You don't need to rely on debt and that is exactly why we have created the Meerkat Savings plan to really help you to become financially free.

Don’t think you have enough money to save? Save from as little as R25 per month without any fixed fees on your account. And, with Meerkat’s Savings Solution, you will be saving at a rate of inflation (CPI) + 1. This is just a technical way of saying that you’re always beating inflation! 


My debt is paid up but I can't get hold of my Debt Counsellor

We have helped many clients who have paid up their debt but are still flagged on the credit bureau as being under debt review, even after they completed the debt review and cannot get cleared. We can help you with your credit record. 

This is often because they cannot get hold of their registered Debt Counsellor or their Debt Counsellor is no longer in practice. If you find yourself in this position, complete our simple online application here. 

We'd be happy to help with administration of your clearance certificate and advise your creditors and contact the credit bureaus on your behalf.

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