Consumers are advised to seek help during these tough economical times, instead of rushing to apply for more credit in order to pay off their debts. The NCR as part of our mandate to educate and protect consumers have devised a “Self Help” document for consumers to help you cope with debt stress.
The following are tips from the NCR:
1. Know your Financial Status
1.1 Know all your creditors – create a spread sheet of all your accounts/debts as well as monthly expenditure.
1.1.1 Have a spending plan and stick to it!
1.1.2 List all your expenses e.g.
- School/crèche fees
- Medical expenses (if not on medical aid)
- Bank charges (estimate, based on statement)
1.2 Compare your total monthly income with your total expenditure
1.3 If your expenditure is more than your income
DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!
2. Communicate with your Credit Providers
2.1 Know all your credit providers’ contact details and keep your account statements in a safe place.
2.2 When you are experience problems repaying your debts, contact your creditors. Get in touch with the Credit Department, not your local branch.
2.3 Always explain your situation if you cannot afford to pay your instalments.
2.4 Do not promise to pay what you don’t have. Rather negotiate for lower instalments than skip payments.
Here are some useful contact details:
- ABSA - ABSA Customer Debt Repair Line: 0860 356 356
- Nedbank - Debt Rehabilitation & Recoveries Services: 0860 109 279
- Standard Bank - Contact your Standard bank branch
- First National Bank - Debt Review centre – 0860 362 002
3. Avoid getting more Debt. Rather downgrade and change your lifestyle!
3.1 Things you need to cut/adjust are:
- Domestic worker (unless this is the substitute for crèche)
- Tobacco / cigarettes
- Club membership
- M-Net, DSTV
- Holiday clubs
- If you are driving an expensive car consider a down grade for a less expensive car. This will reduce your monthly instalment thus enabling you to pay other debts.
- If you are no longer able to afford the house you live in, consider selling it and getting something more reasonable.
- Where possible use public transport.
- Go to your financial advisor and have another look at the insurance contracts that you have. Contact an independent financial advisor. Contact details are available at the FSB at 012 428 8000.You may find that you do not really need some of them.
- Use any savings you making from your adjustment to pay the most expensive loans such as micro loans followed by your credit card.
4. Look twice for a better price
- 4.1 When you do your groceries do price comparison across major stores and settle for less. Only buy items that you cannot survive without and look for specials.
- 4.2 No-name brands are usually cheaper and are sometimes of good quality.
- 4.3 Fresh/loose vegetables are cheaper than prepared/frozen vegetables.
5. If you need support and a helping hand
- 5.1 Contact a debt counsellor, call 0860 627 627 to locate one in your area or log onto www.ncr.org.zaand click on “register of registrants”, then select debt counsellors.
- 5.2 Once you are under debt counselling, you will not be allowed to access credit until you have received a clearance certificate from a debt counsellor.
- 5.3 If and when you receive letters from your creditors do not ignore them, take them seriously, act on them and seek help!!
6. If you are facing repossession seek advice and remember , you have Rights as well !
- 6.1 According to the National Credit Act you have certain rights when you want to surrender goods to your credit provider;
- 6.2 You also have rights when the credit provider enforces the debt using repossession.