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Financial planning


Legal protection

  • The right to apply for credit or a loan
  • Not be unfairly discriminated against when applying for credit or a loan
  • Read a credit agreement in plain language.
  • Have a copy of the credit agreement before taking the loan.
  • Privacy regarding your personal information
  • Complain if you think you have been treated unfairly
  • Check your credit profile once a year. You can do this for free once a year with a credit bureau. You Can find a list of credit bureaux that will give you a free annual credit check on . This Website gives contact details for all the credit bureaux that are members of the credit bureau Association
  • Ask for help from a debt counsellor to assist with restructuring your debt
  • Know why a loan application has been rejected

Credit Report

Credit bureau keep credit related information of all credit-active consumers, this information is compiled on a credit report or credit profile Credit grantors submit payment information to the credit bureau on how well you are repaying your loans. The information submitted is both positive and negative information. The purpose of a credit report is to allow credit grantors to determine if you are eligible for credit, by assessing the amount of credit you already have and also looking at how well you repay existing loans. It is a risk for companies to give you a loan, therefore they must ensure that you can repay it.

  • The kinds of information that will be on your credit report are your personal information, records of payment behaviour, judgments, defaults, account history and enquiries.
  • When you have more negative than positive information on your credit report it may impact your ability to access additional credit. It might mean that you have more credit that you can afford and/ or you are unable to repay your debt. The responsibility is on you to therefore look at how to pay off your debt as soon as possible.

You can get a free copy of your credit report once a year directly from the credit bureau:


You are over-indebted if you are failing to meet your debt repayments and constantly need to borrow to support your monthly expenses.

What can i do if i am over-indebted?

  • The first step is to write a list of all the people and businesses that you owe money to.
  • Contact your creditors and explain your situation.
  • When creditors write to you, take their letters seriously and respond.
  • Do not promise to make payments if you cannot afford them. Rather explain the situation and look at making smaller payments over a longer period.
  • Avoid taking more loans to pay the debt you already have.
  • Change your lifestyle, cut down on things like entertainment, alcohol, cigarettes, gambling, etc.
  • If you drive an expensive car, consider downgrading to a more affordable car or sell your car and use public transport.
  • Avoid buying groceries on credit.
  • Consult a debt counsellor. Call the National Credit Regulator (0860 627 627) and they will refer you to a debt counsellor near you.

Debt counselling

There is no shame is asking for help to manage your debt. It is better to get help than to drown in debt.


  • When you are under debt counselling, creditors may not take more action against you.
  • There is no permanent record of having undergone debt counselling.
  • There is only one monthly repayment to be made.
  • Your budget will meet your basic needs (housing, transport, food) first before making provision for your debts.
  • You will never pay more money than you can reasonably afford.
  • A debt counsellor will suggest ways of cutting costs and saving money.
  • You will no longer get calls from your creditors demanding payment. This will lessen your stress and allow you to focus on fixing the problem of getting out of debt.


  • You are not allowed to have more credit while undergoing debt counselling.
  • It does cost a little bit of money, payable to the debt counsellor These fees are regulated and set by law.
  • Your debts will take longer to pay off because of paying smaller amounts each month.

If you would like to know more about debt counselling, you could speak to your bank, creditor or alternatively refer to the website of the National Credit Regulator for more information. The telephone number of the National Credit Regulator is 0860 627 627.

Where to borrow money


Why it's important to understand how credit works

Do you find yourself in the same situation?

It's always better to save up for something and pay cash, but we know that's not always possible.


Understanding interest

There are two types of interest: interest earned (on savings and investments) and interest charged (on loans).

Interest earned

This type of interest is a way to grow your money and is a reward from the bank for saving your money with them. It's extra money you earn for saving your money with a bank or an investment/savings institution.

Interest charged

This is the type of interest charged by a credit provider to lend you money. It's the cost of credit and is usually calculated as a percentage of the amount that you borrow.

Compound interest (earned)

When interest is calculated on the original investment plus interest earned, so you earn interest on your interest, helping your money grow quicker.

Compound interest (charged)

When interest is calculated on the original amount borrowed invested plus any interest charged in previous months or years so you are charged interest on your interest, meaning your debt grows over time.

Understanding instalments

Instalments refer to a set amount you pay for an item over an agreed period. Often, we are attracted by special offers and low monthly instalments that look like very good deals. But 'low' instalments can be deceiving.

It is important to look at the total cost you will pay by adding up the monthly instalments over the payment period. You may find you will pay way more than the cash price. Always check before agreeing to the instalments and where possible, save up and buy the item cash.

Remember: Check if you are being charged for extras such as delivery, credit life insurance, etc. You have a choice not to take up insurance if you do not want it.

Where to


If you are planning to borrow money, there are lots of different places that you can borrow from including: banks, micro-lenders, shops and informal (unregistered lenders) such as loan sharks.

All these places offer different products and their terms and application requirements differ. The risk associated with each lender also differs, so think carefully before signing an agreement or contract.

Before you take up credit

Taking up credit is a big decision. Before you do, consider the following:

Obtain a quote from the credit provider. It should show how much you will be paying in total.

Find out if there are penalties or rewards for repaying the debt earlier.

Get a copy of the contract and read it at home before you sign.

Make sure you understand the terms of the agreement.

Find out what will happen if you are unable to make the loan repayments on time.

Understanding wants & needs

Bad credit

  • Borrowing for wants - e.g. new outfit for an event when you have clothes you can wear.
  • Borrowing for consumables - e.g. borrowing to buy groceries, airtime, etc. If you constantly need to borrow money before month end, you may need to adjust your budget and cut out some expenses.

Good credit

  • Borrowing to buy assets that grow in value over time, e.g. a house.
  • Borrowing for personal growth for you or a family member, e.g. student loan.

Understanding legal protection and
credit reports


Legal protection

When taking out credit you have rights


Credit Report

Credit bureaux keep credit-related
information of all credit-active consumers,
this information is compiled on a credit


Action creditors can take if you
do not make payments


The seller takes back the goods, as well as keeps the money you have already paid for the goods.


A judgement is a court order that forces you to repay your loans.

Attachment of property

Depending on how big your debt is, the court can order that some of your property (such as furniture, a vehicle, etc.) can be repossessed.

Garnishee orders

The court will instruct your employer to pay a part of your wages or salary to the creditor as repayment of your debt.

Types of expenses



You are over-indebted if you are failing to
meet your debt repayments and
constantly need to borrow to support
your monthly expenses.


Debt counselling

There is no shame is asking for help to
manage your debt. It is better to get help
than to drown in debt.