Everyone knows the saying “too little too late”. But when it comes to debt review, when is it too late to apply?

Debt review or debt counselling is a process in terms of the National Credit Act, Act 34 of 2005, where a consumer who is over indebted (a consumer who is unable to satisfy timeously all the obligations under all the credit agreements to which the consumer is a party to) applies to a debt counsellor to assist him or her in restructuring his or her debt with credit providers by reducing the monthly instalment and extending the term of the credit agreement.

According to statistics approximately 54% of all credit active consumers are over indebted with some statistics saying it is more than 60%.

These over indebted consumers are likely to have legal action instituted against them by credit providers. Before credit providers are however allowed to institute legal action they must send a notification in terms of Section 129 of the National Credit Act advising consumers of the default and informing them to approach a debt counsellor, ombud or consumer court within 10 days.

After the 10 days the credit provider may institute legal action by issuing summons. As soon as summons is served on a specific account, that account cannot form part of the debt review.

Consumers are therefore advised to seek debt counselling assistance as soon as they realise they are struggling to satisfy their obligations under credit agreement and definitely as soon as they receive a Section 129 letter.

The advantages of applying for debt review is that credit providers cannot issue summons after the debt review process has been initiated and they must act in good faith and participate in the debt review process.

During the debt review process the debt counsellor will negotiate a reduced instalment and can even negotiate a reduced interest rate. This new agreement or proposal will then be referred to court to be made an order of court for the consumer’s protection.

Zero Debt is a registered debt counsellor with the National Credit Regulator with more than 6 years of experience. Our mission at zero debt is to help consumers achieve a zero debt status!

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Zero Debt ranked among top five National debt counselling firms

We are proud to announce that Zero Debt has been ranked as one of the top five National Debt Counselling firms of 2016, at the Debt Review Awards.

Firms that are considered for this award must obtain certain criteria such as having over 5000 clients, more than one debt counsellor in the company and must operate Nationally.

Over 2500-registered debt counsellors are reviewed through an online peer review system. Our counsellors were evaluated according to strict criteria, which they needed to meet in order to provide clients with the best possible debt counselling services.

The evaluation is based on the company’s:

  • Collection ratio
  • Client retention
  • Proposal quality
  • Query resolution
  • Communication and staff Knowledge
  • Adherence to time lines
  • Consumer education
  • Court Activity
  • Clearance certificate’s issued

 

Zero Debt is recognised by the annual Debt Review Awards as a reliable debt services firm, knowing this we are able to provide you with peaceful sleep.

At Zero Debt you are our top priority and we prove this by providing excellent service, go the extra mile and provide the best deals for our clients.

We provide an easy process and will be with you at every step of the way.

We assure complete confidentiality aside from dealing with your credit provider. We are a company you can trust and are 100% compliant with the National Credit Act.

We pride ourselves on our work and thank everyone for your support!

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 086 111 3749.

 

Debt consolidation enables you to only pay what you can afford. Instead of having to pay a number of different credit providers each payment period, a debt consolidation company like Zero Debt can assist you by combining all your existing outstanding loans and liabilities into a single more affordable monthly repayment at a lower interest rate. Such a solution will leave you feeling empowered because you will still have sufficient funds for your day to day living expenses and you won’t be forced to sacrifice the quality of your life.

Debt consolidation is a great way to save money and it’s important because people are often paying way too much interest on their debt. It’s also very beneficial to those who can’t seem to manage to pay their bills on time. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the multiple statements and payment dates when you’re over indebted. A consolidation loan takes all the outstanding debts and payments and transfers them all into one loan with only one payment date to keep in mind and one statement to read. If you’re ready to tackle your debt in a smart and healthy way, here are 4 steps you can follow:

  1. Identify your debt amount

It’s time to face those unopened statements and bills and distinguish between good and bad debt. A mortgage debt is usually considered as good debt as homes usually appreciate in value and the mortgage loan that you usually take out to pay for the home is an investment. When you use debt to finance things that can be consumed, you aren’t accumulating good debt.

An example of bad debt can be using your credit card debt to purchase everyday items like clothes and food or pay for a holiday. Calculate the total debt that you owe to family and creditors, work out which debt has the highest interest rate and find out how much you’re paying in interest on those debts. Clear up what you’re spending your money on and determine how much you need to pay it all off.

  1. Create a new budget

Determine how much you’ll actually need for day to day living, leisure, savings and to service your debt repayments. You will probably have to cut on some luxury items until you get your debt in order.

  1. Get your loan consolidated

Contact us and request a free debt assessment. We will endeavour to work with you and draw up a schedule of proposed repayments with your various creditors. This schedule will reflect a realistic amount that you can actually afford each month and ensure that you only land up paying the minimum amount which is required by your credit providers thereby reducing your monthly debt obligations.

  1. Stick to the plan

Debt consolidation only works to free you from debt if you stop overspending once you pay off your big debt amount.

You don’t need to hit rock bottom before you can start to rebound from your debt. Consolidating your debt is a great tool for opening doors to financial freedom.

Debt review is a solution that is targeted at over indebted consumers who are struggling with their finances. The National Credit Act (NCA) introduced the debt rehabilitation program (debt review) to protect consumers from the damage that credit can do, especially as credit providers are so quick with handing out credit. This also gives consumers a second chance to get out of debt and the opportunity to not get blacklisted.

The debt review process also ensures that debt counsellors follow ethical guidelines when assisting clients with financial recovery.  The main purpose of debt review is to help consumers get out of debt (pay one affordable monthly instalment) and to prevent them from getting into more debt in the future. This is ensured by not allowing one to apply and receive further debt while under debt review.

As a consumer, you will need to provide your debt counsellor with your ID document and salary slip. The debt counsellor will then review the information and assess whether you are able to repay your debts on a monthly basis. It’s important to be completely transparent with your debt counsellor about all your expenses as this will help them to draw up a realistic income and expense statement to determine if you are able to repay your debts. This will be done through the process of renegotiating interest rates with credit providers and extending the debt repayment terms. We don’t extend the period if we reduce rates.

A new monthly budget and payment plan (proposal) will be drawn up that will provide some guidelines about managing your finances in order live according to your means. The debt review process ensures that the consumer only makes one debt repayment to a payment distribution agency who will then pay all the consumer’s credit providers. This reduces the stress of having to keep up to date and on top of multiple debt repayments.

When consumers are under debt review, they are legally protected by the National Credit Act (NCA) and creditors are no longer allowed to hassle them. If you are struggling to make monthly repayments and the credit providers are knocking at your door demanding their money, turning to debt review is a great option.

The Benefits of Debt Review

  • The consumer’s needs and financial security are top priority as the creditor still receives payments. Debt review looks at the interest of all parties involved as the consumer is being given the opportunity to pay back small affordable amounts that are not enveloped in interest rates while the creditor will be paid back the money, even if this takes a few years.
  • A single amount is paid over by the consumer each month. This amount is agreed to by the consumer and debt counsellor after a budget has been drawn up. The debt counsellor will take the consumer’s credit into account and negotiate with the credit providers to bring the monthly payment down to an affordable amount.
  • Debt review is a process that teaches consumers how to manage their finances correctly and responsibly so that they do not fall into another debt trap.
  • When a person is undergoing debt review, the chances of them becoming blacklisted is reduced to zero as per the passing of the National Credit Act. Being blacklisted means having a mark against your name and future credit providers will know that you were blacklisted for not making payments to creditors.

Opting for Debt Counselling is a wise choice (Download PDF)

If you are feeling overwhelmed and feel that debt has taken over your life, don’t despair.
Download the below information pack which contains an info graphic that will give you a better idea of the debt counselling process and how we can we can help you obtain debt relief.

Download here

Debt Review Information Pack (Download PDF)

Are you unsure of the debt review process?
Download the debt review process information pack which provides a high level overview of the steps to follow.

Download here

Second to a house, a car is mostly likely the average person’s largest debt. Not all of us live within walking distance from work, or if we do, it might not be safe. In today’s society, a reliable car is a necessity. However, if you are already in debt, it makes financial sense (in fact, it’s crucial) that you honestly evaluate whether you can really afford that shiny new car, or should rather turn around to the Used Cars section.

We all want to drive a new car, but it is essential to remember that a car is never an asset. If you are already in debt, you cannot allow yourself to be fooled by the fact that you can afford the monthly payment on a new car. You will need to think long-term, and don’t forget the hidden costs.

Here are the main reasons why a car is not an asset:

  • A car generates a number of expenses and liabilities over time. Ownership costs include maintenance, loan payments, petrol fees and insurance. These will have a significant impact on your month-to-month finances.
  • A car depreciates in value. A new car loses about 20 to 25% of its value the instant you drive it out of the dealer’s store. Based on statistics, your car may lose about two-thirds or nearly 70% of its value after four years.

Buying a new car is not necessarily a good deal. Recent statistics show that one-third of car buyers sign up for a six-year loan at an average interest rate of 9.6%. Rather:

  • Drive a dependable “cash” car for a year (or less) and save.
  • If possible, consider using a lift club (car pool) or other modes of transport (bus, train, bicycle etc.).
  • If possible, walk if you live near your workplace or a store.

Many people could buy property with what they spend on annual car maintenance. Imagine what you could do with the money you would have spent (monthly) on your new car. If you want to become debt free, rather opt for a reliable second hand car.

Stuck in Personal Debt? Daily lifestyle tweaks that will help!

If you are trapped in personal debt, ignoring the problem won’t make it go away. Instead, it will only worsen your financial troubles. Many (if not most) of us are creatures of habit, and this applies to our daily spending as well. If we sit down and evaluate our expenses, we will realise that every day presents itself with various opportunities to save cents, which will turn into rands, and when applied consistently over time help us free ourselves from personal debt.

This article summarises a selection of the best tried and tested tips out there to keep within your budget and get on your way to a debt free life.

Read the full source article at  https://bit.ly/1hYk4yW on the Becoming Minimalist Blog.

  1. Get new quotes on your car, home and life insurance. Aim to get lower payments.
  2. Downgrade your DSTV package, or get rid of it entirely (latter recommended).
  3. Look for sale items at your local grocery shop. Buy generic brands where possible.
  4. Put a stop to luxury expenses, e.g. magazine subscriptions, newspapers or beauty treatments. These are not necessities and becoming debt free will be worth losing out on them.
  5. Supplement your income with part-time or temporary work and apply the extra income directly to your personal debt.
  6. Buy your most expensive staple groceries in bulk (e.g. meat, cheeses, bread). Draw up a monthly budget for additional items (fresh salad ingredients, fruits, etc.) at regular grocery shops.
  7. When in a restaurant, opt for water and don’t have dessert. You will save significantly. Opt for small appetizers instead of the expensive meal (it will be good for your waistline too!).
  8. Plan your trips better to save petrol.
  9. Give home-made gifts instead of expensive store-brought presents.
  10. Buy oatmeal, eggs or fruit instead of expensive boxed cereals (it’s healthier, too).
  11. Save on gym membership by walking or hiking, or using exercise videos.
  12. Make your coffee at home instead of buying it – those small amounts add up faster than you think.
  13. Pack your lunch daily.
  14. If you know you cannot control your impulses at certain retail shops, place yourself out of temptation’s way and do not window shop until you are out of debt.