My Debt Hero

What is debt review? South Africa’s solution to debt

Share this post with everyone you care about

Young couple reviewing their debt on paper and a tablet in the living room

You may have heard about Debt review already, it is often promoted as one of the best ways to overcome debt in South Africa — but what is debt review really?

There is a ton of misinformation on the subject, and not everyone distinguishes debt review from debt counselling or debt consolidation clearly enough.

In this blog, we are going to help you understand debt review and how exactly it can assist you in addressing your debt and achieving debt freedom. 

 

What is debt review in South Africa? 

Debt review is a debt rehabilitation program developed to assist over-indebted South African consumers while repaying their debt.

When someone applies for debt counselling and is declared over-indebted, then they may be placed under debt review.

 A graphic with the written definition of debt review

This is initiated through a process that is governed by the NCR and performed by a debt counsellor in order to shield over-indebted consumers from creditors that may want to repossess their assets or take legal action, as well as lenders that want to offer more credit that may worsen the situation.

It is important to note that there is a difference between debt review and debt counselling – even though the terms are often used interchangeably within the credit industry. Let us expand more on these two terms: 

 

Debt counselling defined

Debt counselling refers to the act of working with a debt counsellor to assess whether you are over-indebted or not, and then subsequently completing an application to be placed under debt review and repay outstanding debts according to an agreed debt repayment plan. 

Your debt counsellor will request that a ‘Form 16’ be completed. This form contains all your personal details as well as a detailed outline of your financial circumstances. The information outlined in the form consists of the following:

  • Earned income 
  • Expenses 
  • Creditor agreements and all credit-related details 

 

Completion and assessment of this form will help your debt counsellor determine whether or not you are over-indebted and should be placed under debt review. 

 

debt review calculator

What is your estimate?

Try our debt reduction calculator to calculate your lower monthly debt instalment*.

*The calculation is an estimate actual amounts may vary.

What is your estimate?

Try our debt reduction calculator to calculate your lower monthly debt instalment*.

*The calculation is an estimate actual amounts may vary.

debt review calculator
Calculator - Reduced Repayment

Enter how much you're currently paying every month for each of the debts below

 

If applicable, enter your current monthly repayment amount for your home and vehicle debt below.

R
R

 

Continue by adding what you pay each month for each category below.

R
R
R
R

Click 'Check your estimate' to estimate your reduced monthly debt repayment under debt review.

Current Monthly Debt Instalment

This is the total amount that you're currently spending on your debt each month.

R

🏆 New Reduced Debt Instalment

This is an estimate of your reduced monthly debt repayment - what you could be paying instead.

R

 

Debt review defined

Debt review is the term used to describe the debt rehabilitation program. When someone is placed ‘under debt review’, they agree to repay all of their outstanding debts and forgo access to additional credit until their debt is repaid.

In exchange, debt review offers a reduced repayment amount, simplified payment structure, and protection — we will go into more detail in a moment.

First introduced in 2007 by the National Credit Regulator (NCR) as part of the National Credit Act 34 of 2005, debt counselling and debt review are ideal for South Africans that are struggling to afford or repay their debts.

 

What does it mean to be under debt review? 

Being placed under debt review means having agreed to repay your outstanding debt and forgo access to additional credit in exchange for legal protection and additional repayment benefits.

Two people surrounded by either the benefits of debt review or the drawbacks of not being under debt review

There are several other benefits to debt review, namely: 

  • Having one consolidated reduced payment
  • Safety from being blacklisted 
  • Protection from asset repossession 
  • Structured strategy towards debt freedom
  • The cost of debt review is included in the reduced repayment

 

Once your application to be placed under debt review is accepted, a Court order is filed, and credit bureaus update their records to indicate that you are now officially under debt review. 

It is important to note that you cannot access any additional credit when placed under debt review. This is known as a credit freeze and serves over-indebted consumers by protecting them from additional reckless lending. You should focus on catching up with your existing debt before incurring more. 

This condition of the debt review process protects you from incurring any extra debt and creditors from incurring more unpaid loans. 

Once the Court order is in place, credit providers may not take legal action against the over-indebted consumer, and the over-indebted consumer cannot have the debt review flag removed. There are several serious conditions and/or circumstances whereby the debt review process can be cancelled; however, an appeal will have to be made to the Court. 

At the end of the debt review process, once all your debts have been paid, you receive a clearance certificate, and the debt review flag is removed from all credit bureaus’ records. After your clearance certificate is issued, you can access credit again cautiously.

 

 

Why does debt review exist in South Africa? 

Debt review exists to protect the economic welfare of South Africa by making it easier for over-indebted- consumers that have the necessary minimum income to repay a portion of their accounts to repay their outstanding debts. 

A graphic with the word "debt review" surrounded by three of the reasons for its existence

There are several core reasons why debt review – as part of the National Credit Act 34 of 2005 – was introduced in South Africa: 

  • To promote ethical standards of practice in the credit industry 
  • To create greater access to credit 
  • To ensure fair governance and accurate information 

 

Let us explore these points in more detail: 

 

To promote ethical standards of practice in the credit industry 

Acting as a debt relief scheme for South African consumers, debt review also provides debt counsellors with strict standards of practice. Before the National Credit Act 34 of 2005 took effect, South African consumers did not have the right to inquire with creditors about their terms, allowing creditors to exploit consumers.

 

Struggling to keep up with your debt?

Our team can help make your debt affordable once again.

We help thousands of South Africans to reduce their monthly debt repayments, protect them from legal action, and keep their assets — our team can help you too.

 

To create greater access to credit 

Impacting every roleplayer in the credit industry, the National Credit Act aims to empower consumers by creating a more accessible credit market, which includes promoting B-BBEE empowerment standards and ownership in the credit industry. 

 

To ensure fair governance and accurate information 

Alongside greatening consumer access to credit, the National Credit Act and debt review process aids in regulating credit information, promoting equal, non-discriminatory practices, and a consistent enforcement framework relating to consumer credit.

 

The truth about debt review in South Africa

The debt review process has many key advantages as a rehabilitative approach to overcoming your debt. There are, however, a few misconceptions when it comes to debt review. 

 

Take note of the following before you decide to enter into the debt review process: 

  • Creditor providers have a decision too 
  • The debt repayment process can be lengthy 
  • You will no longer be able to access new credit
  • Debt review doesn’t stay on your credit record (your payment history could remain for up to 2 years)

 

Let us break down each point further: 

 

Creditor providers have a decision too 

Your credit providers do not have to accept your debt counsellor’s proposal for debt repayment, nor are they obliged to form part of your debt review process. However, most creditors agree because the process offers an opportunity for them to be repaid (especially when overseen by a debt counsellor). 

 

The debt repayment process can be lengthy 

Entering into debt review does not promise a quick solution to squashing your debt. Due to a negotiated lower repayment instalment, the repayment period may extend beyond the initial deadlines. It is also important to note that the request for lower interest rates is not guaranteed – this will be something your debt counsellor will negotiate with creditor providers. 

 

You will no longer be able to access new credit

While under debt review, your credit record indicates your debt review status to notify creditors of your commitment toward debt rehabilitation, thus, preventing them from lending you more money.

 

Debt review doesn’t stay on your credit record (your payment history could remain for up to 2 years)

Your credit report indicates your debt review status when you are placed under debt review. Then, once you have successfully paid off all your debt and completed the debt counselling process, your debt counsellor issues your debt review clearance certificate to confirm that all of your debts have been settled, after which the debt review status is completely removed, and you’ll be able to carefully access credit again. 

It is worth noting that all the debt repayments you make while under debt review will remain on your credit report for up to two years. However, the debt review status will be completely erased — so you can begin strengthening your credit score again.

 

Concluding thoughts 

Debt is a hyper-personalised aspect of our lives that trickles into nearly all parts of it, and sometimes it catches up with us. For thousands of South Africans struggling to keep up financially, debt review has been a sound way to address their debt and attain financial liberty. 

Now that you have a better understanding of what debt review is, and why it is South Africa’s solution to growing debt, we hope you can make a confident and informed decision about what to do next.

You can apply for debt review with My Debt Hero — we will make your debt our problem, so you can get on with living.

Table of Contents

a 3D shield that is blue with a tick on it, protecting a brown wallet with cash and coins
a 3D shield that is blue with a tick on it, protecting a brown wallet with cash and coins

Struggling to keep up with your debt?

Our team can help make your debt affordable once again.

Application Form (8 Part - No qualifying - Same Page)

Terrific! You're qualified to apply.

Provide your details so that we can contact you with the solution.

Our team promises to protect your privacy and will never share your information.

Enter your details to get your results

Want to find out how you could reduce your debt? Enter your details below — if you qualify, we'll reach out to tell you everything.

*Calls are limited, so book now to secure yours.