RD Debt Counselling is a professional and reliable debt counselling firm in Benoni, Gauteng. We help you become debt free in the shortest possible time.

RD DEBT COUNSELLING REWARDS

Debt Review Rewards for RD Debt Counselling

The debt review industry had an awards function in Durban during July and RD Debt Counselling did well!

We got nominated and made it to the top five debt review businesses within the country.

There are three parts to the industry:

  1. Debt Counsellors,
  2. Credit providers (banks, retailers, microloans, etc.)
  3. PDA’s (Payment Distribution Agencies)

When voting, each player in the industry gets a vote, and can only vote for the other two, so the PDA’s and the Credit Providers vote for the debt counsellors and so on.  No-one in the same industry can vote for their friends in the industry.

Every year, there is an awards function, where banks, payment agencies and debt counsellors from all over South Africa attend. Before the awards, we made the Top 10, and during the award ceremony, we were named in the Top 5 positions for debt counsellors in South Africa.

Russell Dickerson, from RD Debt Counselling, spoke at the awards where he discussed the roles of debt counsellors and how the debt counselling industry has changed in the 11 years.

READ MORE: Does debt counselling really work?

A major concern for everyone was the level of fraud in South Africa, and the effect on our industry.

If you need any debt counselling help and assistance, contact RD Debt Counselling today.

Why it is important to talk about finances

Why it is important to talk about finances

It is important to talk about finances with family, with a partner, with kids, with a financial planner and others who you can trust. Here’s why:

  1. For your children’s education. You can teach them how to work with money or how you as a parent make your financial decisions.
  2. It is essential that you discuss finances, budgeting and the future with your partner. If you are not on the same financial page, things will be out of control before you are aware of the situation.

READ MORE: How to set up a budget

Should families sit together and talk about finances and how much should you tell the children?

Discussing and agreeing and implementing family financial plans together build a closeness and understanding within the family group.

Talk to a financial planner to get an outside persons perspective on your family finances.  Invest slowly, don’t rush into decisions, and explain to the advisor what you want to achieve.

ALSO READ: How to stick to a budget

How much money should kids be getting and what should they be responsible for? 

Teach your kids responsibility by making them responsible for how to spend a portion of their money. Perhaps allow them to buy their own casual clothing or toiletries.  Soon they will learn the value of money and will perhaps understand that often, 1 brand name t-shirt will cost the same as 2 or 3 generic t-shirts.

Does debt counselling really work? Need debt counselling? Contact RD Debt Counselling at 011 421 2918 today.

Does debt counselling really work?

How will I know if debt counselling is the right thing for me? What if someone has their own business or only earns commission, can they apply for debt counselling?

If you are struggling every month because of debt, then anyone can apply.

The law says that you have to have an income to undergo debt counselling and the courts require that you prove that income. Only then you can apply for debt counselling.

  • If you are in your own business, you can apply.
  • If you earn commission only, you can apply.
  • Even if you only get a pension, you can apply.

What happens if my debt counsellor goes missing or leaves the industry?

There is nothing that ties you to one debt counsellor. If you want to move to another one and they will take you, then you can move. If your debt counsellor goes missing, is uncontactable or doesn’t respond, you can move to another debt counsellor.

If you get a phone call and they tell you that you need debt counselling, or they will reduce your debt counselling payment every month – BEWARE. There are fraudsters in every industry, even in the debt counselling industry.

Don’t give personal information over the phone to anyone unless you are sure who they are and what they are going to do with that information.

If someone is planning to buy a house, but has too much debt, will they still be able to buy a house if they go into debt review?

Chances are that if you have too much debt, you won’t qualify for a home loan anyway. I have seen this many times. People want to buy a house , but their debt is just too much. Before you apply for a home loan, get your debt and your credit score sorted out,  and then you will have plenty of money available to pay a bond every month.

We suggest going into debt review, clear your debt and after your credit score is sorted out you will be eligible to buy a house.

Why could debt counselling not work for some people?

When we hear from people that debt counselling doesn’t work, we get nervous.

Debt counselling definitely works. We have many, many clients who will tell you that, but not all debt counsellors are honest. Some make repayment plans that take forever to pay, and clients get frustrated.

There is one thing in debt counselling that everyone needs to know upfront.  Once the repayment plan is made and accepted by the banks, the documents go to court and we get a court order which protects the client from any changes at the bank. But, it also states exactly how much the client must pay every month, and very often people short pay or miss payments. This allows the bank to cancel their debt review.

A lot of the people who say that debt counselling doesn’t work for them have missed payments or short paid and not caught up. And that’s why their debt counselling didn’t work for them.

If you would like to get out of debt so that you can be in control of your finances, contact RD Debt Counselling today.  It costs you nothing to phone in or come to our offices for half an hour and discuss what debt counselling can do for you. It’s also a great opportunity to ask all of the questions that bother you.

How to know if Debt Counselling is a good idea. Need debt counselling? Contact RD Debt Counselling at 011 421 2918 today.

How to know if Debt Counselling is a good idea

Who needs to apply for debt counselling?

Just about anyone can apply for debt counselling. Some people are fine today and something happens and they need debt counselling tomorrow. Others slowly get into a worse and worse financial situation and they will need to apply for debt counselling.

To some, life happens. Others are in the wrong department or wrong company at the wrong time and get retrenched, or fired.  Some people’s income decreases and they can’t afford all their debt,  some are in their own businesses, some are agents  who work on commission, like estate agents whose income has been badly affected by the economy.

Some have had no increases at work, or increases less than inflation, so they can buy less with the same money every year, and it catches up after a while.

All these people have one thing in common – their debt plus expenses is more than the money they earn.

In reality, all people from all walks of life might have to apply for debt counselling in their lifetime.

When you get into a tight financial situation, is the worst thing you can do to take another loan?  

Many people, when they realise that things are going wrong financially, do what 60% of South Africans do, they take another loan.

READ MORE: Should I take out a personal loan?

This is the worst thing that you can do, because when the loan money is finished, you are back where you were before the loan plus you have another loan installment to pay.

We have been doing debt counselling for 11 years now, and we have seen people in a terrible state and a few years later their debt is finished and they start living again.

A lot of people struggle on, and just-just make it every month because they have too much debt and they pay off one loan and take another one, and never get out of debt.

These are the people who should be doing debt counselling.

What is the debt counselling process?

The first thing we do is an assessment of the debt and the living expenses .

Then we work out by how much we can reduce the debt payments, which is normally about one third less. For example, we have managed to reduce R23 100 to R14 900 and another smaller one was R5 500 to R3 100.  This makes a huge difference in people’s lives.

Not just because they can afford to live now, but because there is now a plan to get rid of the debt in a few years. Normally we work it out for about 5 years, but the average South African finishes their debt review in just over 4 years.

Can people get credit again after they have been in debt counselling, and how long does it take?

Yes, you can get credit as soon as all your debt is paid.  Getting out of the process is not perfect, it can take 2 weeks or 2 months.

Many people when they finish debt review have learned to work with cash, and not loans, and use very little credit going forward.

Most people need a home loan or bond, or a loan to buy a vehicle. The only other thing you need is a credit card which stays locked in the safe and is only used for emergencies.

ALSO READ: How to stick to a budget

If you are thinking of debt counselling, contact RD Debt Counselling for an honest straight forward assessment of your debt situation.

Need debt counselling? Contact RD Debt Counselling at 011 421 2918 today.

What is an emergency fund and do you need one?

July is savings month.

What is the one thing you can do to make your financial life better?

What is one improvement you can make to get your savings going?

The best thing everyone can do is start an emergency savings fund.

What is an emergency savings fund?

An emergency fund is the fund that you put aside and keep for real emergencies, like medical emergencies or you wipe out a tyre in a pothole and you need to get to work the next morning, etc. These type of things are considered to be emergencies.

If you get invited to a night out on Friday and you are low on cash, that’s not an emergency.

What is the purpose of an emergency fund? Why would someone want to start one?

The main purpose of an emergency fund is that you have cash on hand, and you don’t have to take a loan, or borrow money from someone.

If you use your credit card, you can put the money straight back into the card the next day from the emergency fund. Your emergencies should not cost you interest, and interest is what kills people who borrow too much.

How to decide how much to put into an emergency fund

This is always difficult because it is different for each person or family.

If you are you single, then you are catering just for yourself.

Consider how many kids you have, or if you have someone who is sickly, the age of your car, and how much you earn.

Work out roughly how much you will need to cover some of the common emergencies.  It doesn’t have to be a huge amount.

Where should people keep the money that is saved in the emergency fund?

Keep your emergency fund in a separate account. Always make sure it is in a separate account because if it gets mixed in with the money for the rest of the month, it could get used by mistake.

The best way is to put a stop order on the account that your salary gets paid into. Then, when you get paid, the money is automatically transferred. There is no chance of it being used accidentally, and when you have enough in the emergency fund, you cancel the stop order at the bank.

So, if you are thinking of starting an emergency fund, remember:

  • Decide how much you need in your situation
  • Decide who controls the account, then
  • Open a new account and send the money to your new account with a stop order.

Doing this will prepare you financially for any small emergencies that cross your path. This will also reduce your stress because you don’t worry about small unexpected expenses

Need debt counselling advice or assistance? Contact RD Debt Counselling today.

credit reports and credit clearance Need debt counselling? Contact RD Debt Counselling at 011 421 2918 today.

Frequently asked questions about credit reports and credit clearance

Many people have been turned down for credit because there is a problem on their credit report. What can you do if there are problems on your credit report?

What do you do if you have applied for finance for a new car or a loan and the bank says there is a problem on your credit report?

Let’s talk about blacklisting.  There is no such thing as a blacklist.  There is no list at the credit bureau with names of blacklisted individuals.

Therefore, you can’t go to the credit bureau and ask them to take you off the blacklist.

A credit score is made up of a combination of how you have paid in the past, how much other credit you have, how much you earn etc and the credit bureau works out a score for that, and that’s your credit score.

READ MORE: How to improve your credit score

What do you look for on a credit report to see why you have been turned down?

Many people bring this problem to us and we look at a few things on the credit report.

  1. Judgments

Do you have a judgment on your report?  If you do, has it been paid up or do you still owe money?

If you still owe on a judgment then it needs to be paid before it can be cleared from the report.

The only other option is, if it is mistake, to go back to court and ask them to fix the mistake, but that costs lawyer fees, etc.

  1. Prescribed accounts

Are there any accounts which are prescribed? This is a strange, standalone law. The Law of Prescription, Die Wet Van Verjaring, says that normal accounts prescribe after three years if you haven’t paid or if the bank or other creditor hasn’t gone to court in those three years.

If you make one payment in that time, the three years starts again from the day you made the payment.

Many people have prescribed accounts on their credit records, especially contract workers.

  1. In duplum or doubling

This means if you take a R10 000 loan and don’t pay properly, and the interest and costs mount up, then the total you owe cannot exceed double or R20 000.

Most banks have systems which monitor this.

ALSO READ: 6 Myths about your credit score

If you have a problem getting credit because of something on your credit report, then we will:

  • Draw a credit report and see if there are any judgements,
  • Look at prescription
  • Look at in duplum or doubling
  • Tell you what we can do to fix your credit report

If you have been turned down for credit and need assistance, contact RD Debt Counselling today!

Why was my loan turned down? Need debt counselling? Contact RD Debt Counselling at 011 421 2918 today.

Why was my loan turned down, and some ways to fix it

The National  Credit Regulator – NCR – recently released a report that just over 50% of applications for loans were turned down. This led to a lot of people out there who are wondering why their loans were turned down. Could this have been due to a poor credit score?

Being turned down by a bank can happen to anyone. It’s what you do afterwards that will determine your credit score going forward.

If your loan has been turned down, the first thing to do is to get your credit report.

Think of your credit report as your CV when applying for a job.

The person in HR will look at the CV. This person will only see what is in the CV. They don’t know if the information contained within the SC is correct or not.

So, if there is something wrong in the CV, then you don’t get the job.

The same goes for credit reports. If there is an error on your credit report, the credit provider might turn you down and you won’t get the loan.

READ MORE: Should I take out a personal loan?

Here are some reasons your loan could be turned down:

Identity theft

When you get your credit report, be aware of identity theft, particularly if your loan was turned down unexpectedly.

Check the report for anything suspicious

Check the enquiries on your profile for enquiries from banks or shops that you have not done business with, or worse, accounts open in your name that aren’t yours.

Check for judgements. It can happen that you are unaware of judgements and your credit application will be turned down for an unpaid judgement.

You, or someone guiding you, can find out who the lawyers are and the amounts and payments can be made. Once the judgement amount is paid in full, this will be removed from the bureau.

You have no credit history

If you are a new lender and you have no credit history, the lenders system will not be able to make a decision because there is not enough information, so they will normally be turned done

Here are some ways you can boost a low credit score

Payments… Payments…Payments…

If you have been missing payments, making part payments or paying late regularly, your credit score will be low.

But, that is an easy fix.

If it’s late because of late salary payments, then get the debit moved, so that your payments are on time. This includes insurances and phone accounts.

Credit cards give the lender a picture of your spending.  If you max out your cards every month, it lowers your score, even if you pay the full amount on time.

If you have a lot of credit cards, and even if the balances on them are low, you have access to a large amount of credit and the size of the credit available is a risk for a potential lender.

Review your credit report and credit score regularly.

You will get an early warning of identity theft, and you will keep control of your personal financial life.

ALSO READ: How to improve your credit score

Want to pull a credit report? Contact RD Debt Counselling and let us help you today.

myths about your credit score. Need debt counselling? Contact RD Debt Counselling at 011 421 2918 today.

6 Myths about your credit score

There are 4 main credit bureaus that affect our personal finances: Transunion (which used to be ITC), XDS, Experian and Compuscan.

Transunion conducted a survey where they asked consumers many questions about credit reports and between 40% – 70 % of consumers got the questions wrong.

In this article, we take a look at some of the questions asked and debunk several myths about credit scores.

  1. Does a credit report show your bank balances?

50% of people said yes, the credit report does show your bank balances.

The truth is that when they give you a credit score, they don’t look how much money is in your bank account.

  1. When someone draws your credit report, they can see how much you are earning, or which income band you fall in to?

In other words, if you get a salary or your income band increases, then your credit score goes up.

70% of people believed that if your salary went up, so did your credit score.

This is wrong. The credit bureau, and therefore the credit report, does not contain that information, which means that if your salary increases, it doesn’t mean an increase in your credit score.

  1. Does having children or other dependents affect your credit score? If a family member, like your brother or mother, is declared bankrupt, will it bring your credit score down?

No, it won’t. Each person’s credit score is assessed individually, and unless you apply for joint credit (to buy a house, for instance) then they look at both people.

Having dependents doesn’t affect your credit score.

READ MORE: Should I take out a personal loan?

  1. The credit bureaus decide whether to give you credit or not?

This is not true. The credit bureau keeps the information. The store or the bank where you are applying for credit takes that information and decides whether to grant you the credit or to turn you down.

ALSO READ: What is good debt and what is bad debt?

  1. ‘I’ve never borrowed before, so my score must be great’

If you have never borrowed credit before then it’s difficult for lenders to assess how reliable you are. This can negatively affect your score and consequently the financial products you’re offered.

  1. ‘I’ve got several credit cards but I always pay my bills, so this won’t affect my score’

Having multiple credit accounts open, even ones you don’t use can damage your credit score.

In this case, it’s all about balance – not having too few or too many accounts open at one time.

Having lots of open credit accounts shows lenders that you have access to a large amount of credit (even if you don’t plan on using it).

READ THIS: What is responsible credit?

How to improve your credit score. Need debt counselling? Contact RD Debt Counselling at 011 421 2918 today.

How to improve your credit score

Getting credit is important for most people. Even if you don’t like using credit, you generally have to use it to buy a house or a car. Therefore,  a good credit score is important for almost everyone.

Many people, unfortunately, manage credit badly, miss payments and don’t pay on time. This gives them a low credit score, which means that when they apply for credit, they are turned down.

What happens if my credit score is too low?

If you are turned down, how do you get your credit score back up again?

It is not going to happen overnight. It’s a process of doing the right thing and slowly your credit score will improve.

Before you start:

Know your credit score and draw a credit report. You get one free credit report per year. To draw another one will cost around R20 – R30.

At RD Debt Counselling we can draw a credit report for you.

Once you have your credit report, you need to look at two important things:

1. Is there a mistake on your report?

2. Could there be identity fraud on your account?

These things are real and happen to people every day.

There can be mistakes on your report; it could be as simple as a typo in your name.

For example, you may have ten accounts and only seven are correctly matched with the name on your report. This could benefit you or lower your credit score. This will cause problems sooner or later, so it is best to get it fixed as soon as possible.

Check for signs of financial fraud. If you have been a victim of identity theft, you could pick it up in your credit report. Look for accounts you don’t know or enquiries on your report you don’t recognise.

Be honest when you apply for credit

You will be asked about your expenses.  It’s difficult to answer correctly if you don’t have a budget that you work on monthly.  If you know your income and expenses, you will know how much you can afford monthly. Giving the bank lower expenses just to get the loan can cause a lot of problems in the future.

READ MORE: How to set up a budget 

Always pay on time, don’t short pay, and don’t miss payments

What makes up the biggest part of your credit score?  Your credit history. Consider how you paid in the past, whether you finish paying and if you have you miss payments. Don’t just think that if you pay the credit card and the loans that all is well. What about the rent, utility bill, phone bill, insurance and medical aid? All of these also have to be paid on time and in full to get a good credit score

Credit cards – don’t max them, don’t forget them

If you never use your credit card, it lowers your credit score. If you have a credit card and you use it too much and your balances are always at the max, even if you pay on time that also lowers your credit score.

Advice from the gurus is to keep your credit card balance at about 50% of the limit, use the credit card for small amounts and use it often, and always pay off the full balance on or before the due date.

Think and plan before opening new accounts

When you open too many accounts things can get out of control. Accounts are always tempting and a lot more effort to control.

Close accounts you don’t find useful

Accounts run fees every month, so if an account is costing you money monthly, and you aren’t really using it, just settle any outstanding amounts and request a written copy confirming that the account is paid up and closed.

Plan ahead when you need credit

First thing you have to do is to check your credit report so that there are no surprises.

Plan where you are going to apply.  Remember that too many enquiries will lower your credit score.

Love them or hate them, credit reports and credit scores affect us all in some way.

Make friends with the concepts that make them work, check them regularly, and you can enjoy a hassle-free credit life.

How can I reduce, reuse and recycle? Need debt counselling? Contact RD Debt Counselling at 011 421 2918 today.

How can I reduce, reuse and recycle?

The 18th of March was the second ever world recycling day and a lot of celebrities did and said clever things, but what can the average person do to reduce, re-use and recycle

We can all do a little bit, and by lots of people doing a little bit, quite a lot can be done.

Currently, the biggest problem is the amount of plastic going into the environment. It’s getting into everything we eat, and really messing up the sea.

Microscopic particles of plastic have even been found in the table salt we sprinkle on our daily food.

The EU Countries announced recently that they will make the single-use plastics like fast food containers, straws and plastic knives and forks illegal by 2020.

The second problem is that we have these huge rubbish dumps called landfills that are full of stuff that can be reused, so we are messing up the earth and we don’t need to.

What can the average person in South Africa do to recycle?

I have picked some that I think are fairly easy for people to do to get the process going.

The first one is recycling at home or at work.

Recycle

Separate out the glass, plastic, paper and metal at your house.  If these items are separated out at home, half the problems with contamination and mixed products are solved, so its important to get this separated at the source.

On rubbish collection day you take out separate bags, and those .recyclers with the noisy trolleys will take anything they can sell.  This provides income for 37000 people according to the Paper Recycling Association

Reuse

Compost heap and worms as a bonus

If you have a little space, make a compost heap and you can grow your own worms in the compost heap as well.

You put all the leaves and peels and rotten fruit and veg in a bin.  There are lots of fancy compost and worm bins that you can make or buy, but all you really need is a container like an old black rubbish bin with a hole in the bottom.

Start with a layer of scraps, add some worms and put it in a shady spot with a lid.  Some people buy worms, but here in Gauteng they come for free out of the ground and you can have hundreds of worms in a very short time.

If you like fishing, you will find it very useful.  The bass and kurper love worms.  You also get what they call “worm wee” that comes out of the bottom of the container which is a very good fertilizer, and when the bin is full you have a bin full of free compost.

Reuse old shoes especially sports shoes.

If you have old shoes, especially sports shoes (the runners will know what I’m talking about) and shoes that the kids have outgrown.  There are lots of people in SA that would love to have some nice running shoes, or school shoes.

Take them to a school, or a sports club, there are always people that are grateful for them.

Reduce

We often hear about reduce, but how can people reduce what they are already using

Of the 3 r’s this is probably the hardest.

Don’t buy unnecessary stuff and try to plan a bit better, and if you see that you have too much, give it to someone that can use it, in that way we can all reduce, by not wasting.

The other way is to reduce the amount of packaging you are buying.  Those manufacturers that put 800g of cereal in a box that can hold 1.5kg are the ones that really annoy me.  They want their product to look bigger on the shelf, so they over package.  It costs more to transport, it takes more storage space, It uses more cardboard or plastic than is necessary.  For a box that’s too big!!

That doesn’t sound right to me.

Look carefully at what you buy. Those products that are packaged in huge boxes or in layers and layers of plastic and paper when it’s not necessary, leave them on the shelf and just choose another product that is better packaged.

So if you want to help the environment:

  1. Recycle in the house. Paper plastic, metal and glass.
  2. Start a compost heap and get free worms
  3. Let someone else reuse your old shoes
  4. Reduce what you buy and the packaging that it comes in.

Happy Recycling Day (and the rest of the year!)