We answer your most-asked questions about debt and debt counselling.
Everything you need to know about debt
What is over-indebtedness?
A consumer is over-indebted when they do not have the means to meet their debt repayments, and their expenditure exceeds their income.
What are the most common causes of over-indebtedness?
There are various reasons for over-indebtedness, including the following:
- Over-committing oneself financially;
- Poor monthly budgeting;
- Purchasing on impulse after already incurred other debt;
- Change in personal circumstances or life stages (such as having a child or going through a divorce)
- A sudden change in your employment status
- Purchasing essentials such (ie food) on one’s credit card;
- Conversion of short-term debt (eg credit card debt) to long-term debt (eg home loan) to increase your monthly cash flow, which increases your interest debt in the long term;
- Making applications for credit in your name on behalf of a third party;
- Standing surety for a third party who may default on his or her repayments – resulting in you being responsible for the third party’s debt.
What is reckless credit?
Reckless credit is credit that granted to a consumer under a credit agreement where the credit provider:
- Failed to carry out a proper credit risk assessment to ensure that the consumer can afford the loan;
- Proceeds to grant a loan to the consumer despite the consumer not being able to afford the loan based on the assessment conducted; and
- The consumer does not understand his/her rights and obligations in a credit agreement as well as the costs involved in taking the loan.
Who can deem a credit agreement ‘reckless’?
Only a court, and only at the request of either the debt counsellor or the consumer. The Court can suspend the credit agreement that has been declared reckless or change the terms and conditions of the agreement.
If a credit agreement is found to be reckless, the credit provider cannot enforce the agreement and the obligations of the consumer are set aside.
What are the benefits of debt counselling?
Debt counselling was introduced in 2007, with the National Credit Act 34 of 2005 and although many are intimidated by the term “debt counselling” or “debt counsellor”, here are 7 benefits of debt counselling.
Source: National Credit Regulator