NCR Advice On Credit Use
The National Credit Regulator (NCR) regulate the credit industry and help enforce the National Credit Act. They have advice for consumers looking to use credit during 2018.
NCR’s Top Tips
Borrow as little money as possible – Borrowing to fund your children’s education or a home loan can be a good thing, but borrowing for consumables such as groceries, to pay off other debt or to fund luxuries such as holidays or designer clothing can condemn you to a lifetime of debt. Only borrow for what you really need. Plan the repayments before you apply for a credit card, clothing card, overdraft, personal loan or any form of credit. Also, take into consideration the interest and other charges as well as how this will affect your ability to save. Avoid paying over too many months as it will cost you more in the end.
Don’t Rush To Sign – Never sign a blank credit agreement as you will not have control over other information that can be added after you sign.
Keep Your Cards – Never leave your identity document, bank card, SASSA card or PIN with the credit provider.
Understand the Cooling off period – In terms of the NCA, a cooling off period only relates to credit agreements signed at the premises other than that of the credit provider. This might be at your home for instance. The cooling off period is valid for five business days. Often, credit agreements are signed at the credit provider’s premises. So, don’t sign until you are sure.
Understand your credit insurance – If there is, familiarise yourself with the terms of the insurance to avoid surprises when you most need the insurance. It is advisable to take out credit insurance.
Create a monthly budget and stick to it – Work out how much income your family earns and what your total expenses are each month. Will you be able to pay for your new debt once you’ve covered all your expenses? You should also plan for unexpected costs such as if one of your family members is retrenched. Always keep receipts of your payments, as you might need these in the future.
‘if you think you cannot meet your monthly instalments, contact your credit provider immediately and try to re-arrange payments’
Pay your debts on time – Paying late or not paying the full instalment will adversely affect your credit rating and possibly your ability to take out credit in the future. If you think you cannot meet your monthly instalments, contact your credit provider immediately and try to re-arrange payments. Do not wait until you skip payments.
Prioritise your home loan – Always make sure you pay this debt before others. You don’t want to lose your home.
Check your credit report regularly – This way you’ll be able to identify any errors and correct them. Under the NCA, a credit bureau must provide you with one free copy of your credit report each year from each of the registered credit bureaus. Additional copies come at a cost.
Debt Review Might Be For You
Remember if you are struggling to repay all your creditors what they are demanding each month you can always head to your local Debt Counsellor and ask them for advice or ask them about debt review. This process allows you to repay a reasonable and affordable amount toward your debt each month.