Be weary of reckless lending when applying for credit

The habit of reckless lending from major credit providers is still prevalent. We’ve seen this in the recent headlines with a well-known commercial bank going to court due to its multi loan practices and with other major financial institutions in the recent years. The consumer is unfortunately always at risk in these situations.

If you want to be empowered, you need to know your rights when it comes to applying for credit. It’s wise to check your credit rating from a major credit bureau such as Experian who provide a free credit report and credit scores or TransUnion.

If you have a complaint about a recent credit problem, you may want to approach the Credit Information Ombud a voluntary independent association who seek to resolve complaints from consumers and businesses that are negatively affected by credit information.

As South Africans, we find ourselves in a challenging economic landscape which indicates that we need to curb our spending habits, especially due to rising interest rates which increase debt servicing costs and higher inflation which reduces household cash flow.

Last year’s amendment to the National Credit Act (NCA), where credit providers were forced to adjust their affordability assessments linked to an applicant’s monthly income, helped tighten the regulation surrounding credit lending practices. Even though this has made a positive difference and has empowered consumers to an extent, the practice of reckless lending is unfortunately still evident.

The latest figures from the TransUnion SA Consumer Credit Index (CCI) reveal a sharp decline to 46.1 in the first quarter of 2016 from 54.1 from the same quarter the previous year. This is an indication that consumers are finding it harder to pay off their debts. The report took 56.9 million active consumer credit accounts into consideration, with findings showing one million of these accounts being in arrears.

If you’ve fallen into the debt trap, there are ways to recover from this and be more careful of approaching credit providers who are inaccurately assessing your ability to afford credit.

Take a few of these steps right now and start your journey to better financial health.

  • Don’t increase your debt 

Stop borrowing money or making purchases on credit.

  • Set out a new budget

To accelerate paying off your debt, cut down on expenses and create a new budget that will be devoid of any luxuries like eating out, buying new clothes, gadgets and spending money on entertainment.

  • Sell everything you don’t need

A great way to free up some cash quickly is to take stock of your belongings and sell the things you don’t really need. Use that money to further pay off your debt.

  • Partner with a debt consolidation company like Zero Debt 

We are here to help protect your assets, deal with your credit providers and take the financial pressure off you. Our debt consultants frequently deal with all the major credit providers and have a fantastic success rate when it comes to reducing our clients’ monthly debt repayments.

Speak to one of our NCR registered debt consultants today on 087 702 1738.