Tag: debt

Beware the dark side of Black Friday

Deeply indebted consumers should think long and hard before plunging themselves even deeper into debt by splurging on luxury goods on Black Friday.

With Black Friday and the silly season upon us, finance experts are warning consumers to steer clear of any spending sprees that could exacerbate their debt situation.

It should go without saying, but the message is clear: don’t spend money you don’t have on things you don’t need.

According to Neil Roets, CEO of debt counselling group Debt Rescue, deals offered by major retailers on Black Friday often seem so good that consumers throw caution to the wind and blow their entire Christmas budget on single expensive items such as high-end TVs and other domestic appliances.

“(Black Friday) promises deals that would tempt even the most financially distressed amongst us,” Roets said. “The short answer is – don’t.”

Roets said that his company, for the past several years, has seen the impact that Black Friday and Christmas shopping sprees have had on consumers when they approach the group to try and get them out from under the financial mess that reckless spending has caused.

“Retailers who are themselves in deep trouble because of the contracting economy have come up with a host of clever ideas to tempt consumers to open their wallets and purses, which is how the idea of Black Friday was born,” he said.

“Black Friday was initially slow to take off when the idea was imported to South Africa. Once it took hold, however, it took off like a rocket ship, and many traders are now notching up a significant portion of their yearly sales on this day and over the Christmas holidays.”

Roets said many consumers also fell into the trap of feeling a degree of resentment, believing that they had been tightening their belts for so long that they needed a break and that Black Friday would be the ideal opportunity to splurge on something nice.

However, he warned that the current state of the economy did not lend itself well to this pattern of thinking.

“We are far from seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. It is our belief – and many leading economists share that belief – that we are far from staging a recovery.”

“In short, things are going to get a lot tougher before they get better. Now is not the time to act recklessly. On the contrary – it is more important now than ever to implement fiscal discipline and save whatever money is left over at the end of the month.”

The CEO said that consumers should plan around a budget, and bear in mind that December tends to feel like a long month, as the stretch between paydays is often much longer. Those who are paid a 13th cheque also get lulled into a false sense of security, he said.

“While we all feel that we desperately need a holiday and the end of a brutal year, keep those holidays within budget and don’t think that if you don’t have the money for school fees in December that the money will somehow, magically become available in January when the schools reopen,” he said.

According to Debt Rescue’s data, half of all South Africans are three months or more behind in their repayments, having collectively notched up R1.71-trillion in debt.

Source: Business Tech

ANC calls for debt forgiveness as consumers owe R1.63tn

As at the end of September 2015, South Africa’s gross debtors’ book stood at a whopping R1.63 trillion, while the total credit rand value of new credit granted to consumers was close to R124 billion, says Nomsa Motshegare, CEO of the NCR.

Members of the committee wanted to know from the NCR what measures it has put in place to ease the burden of consumers who are over-indebted and struggling to repay their loans, and how it will act against reckless lenders.

The ANC’s Adrian Williams suggested that the regulator consider a kind of “debt forgiveness programme”, which would reprieve lower income groups. “This shouldn’t be for the rich who have just been spending recklessly.”
Committee chairperson Joanmariae Fubbs from the ANC added that debt forgiveness programmes have been implemented successfully in both developed and developing countries.

The NCR’s Motshegare said in her presentation to MPs that the credit regulator is continuing its investigations into reckless lenders, the overcharging of fees and misleading advertisements. “Lewis Group has for example agreed to pay a total of R75m to refund consumers since we’ve started the investigation last year.”

Forty-four of the investigations have been referred to the National Consumer Tribunal for hearings, one of which is the probe into Lewis Group.

Fin24 reported last year that in one instance Lewis charged a customer repayments of R18 000 after buying a washing machine for R6 000. Another customer bought a laptop, but was charged a compulsory R650 for a delivery fee, although the customer carried it out of the store. There was also R741 charged for an extended warranty.

During question time, the Democratic Alliance’s Geordin Hill-Lewis said the NCR appears unable to exert sufficient control over alleged reckless lenders such as African Bank and the Lewis Group.

“In recent months there have been numerous exposures of nothing short of viperous conduct of lenders, such as the Lewis Group. It’s not good enough to refund R67m to customers who had been overcharged when they made much more money than that with the scams they were running.

“Why doesn’t the NCR, the Hawks or the Reserve Bank take serious actions against these institutions? This reinforces the perception that there are no consequences for such behaviours,” Hill-Lewis said.
Motshegare responded by saying it is often difficult for the legal representatives at the National Consumer Tribunal to agree on dates for the hearings of the investigations that have been referred to the institution.

Fubbs concluded by saying that the committee would request the tribunal to appear before Parliament to give an update on the hearings of the investigations referred to it.

Source: ITWeb 

Indebted consumers stretch SA to its limits

Credit extension is growing faster than job creation, and the moribund economy cannot carry that burden forever

A 2014-15 World Bank report declared that South Africans were the world’s “biggest borrowers”. Consumer credit-use statistics — a comparison of employment and credit consumer numbers — suggest that South Africans are failing to manage their debt responsibly and that some credit providers might be missing the mark regarding their criteria in affordability assessments.

Despite tougher affordability requirements and large-scale efforts to educate consumers, credit use is outpacing employment growth, and the over-indebted gap is widening.

There were 16.9-million credit-active consumers in 2007, the national credit regulator’s Credit Bureau Report reads. At the time, 6.38-million (or 37.7%) had an impaired credit record. In 2013, there were 20.21-million credit-active consumers, of whom 9.69-million (47.9%) had impaired records.

A record is declared impaired if a debtor is three or more months in arrears on an account, if the debtor is under administration or if there are judgments against the debtor.

In the fourth quarter of 2016, there were 24.31-million credit-active consumers, 9.76-million of whom had impaired records — 40%, or two out of every five credit-active consumers.

While employment has increased by only 18% since 2007-08, the number of credit consumers has grown by almost 44%. The percentage of consumers in bad standing grew from 37.75%, to 40.15%. There are now 24.31-million credit consumers — more than 8-million more people than the total number of employed people in SA.

Even allowing for the fact that some people such as financially supported students may not need a job to qualify for certain credit accounts and not all SA’s employed people will be credit active, there is a huge difference in the numbers.

The official credit statistics for 2016’s fourth quarter peg collective consumer debt at more than R1.69-trillion. A significant portion of this — R8.75bn or more than half of debt book value — comprises mortgages, which are considered a wealth-creation type of debt.

For most people, a home loan will be the largest personal debt they incur in a lifetime.

If we move from rand value to sheer number of credit facilities by type, the numbers shift significantly. Mortgages only represent 4.47% of credit accounts. Credit facilities such as credit cards, overdrafts and store cards make up 65% of credit accounts and unsecured credit 14.6%.

These figures do not account for informal debt. Credit bureaus do not list what consumers owe municipalities, in school fees or unpaid medical accounts. One estimate is that only 40% of consumer-debt information is captured by credit bureaus.

As private loans and lending granted outside the formal system, such as loan sharks or mashonisa loans, are not captured, the problem is likely to be much larger than official numbers indicate.

World Bank survey data from a sample of 1,000 people in the Global Findex Report showed that 86% of South Africans took loans in 2016, mostly from acquaintances or private microlenders.

If risk pricing is added to the picture, the poorer end of the consumer market is out in the cold. All credit on offer — from loans to store cards or hire purchase agreements — is priced for risk: the higher the perceived chance of default, the higher the interest rate charged. Low-income earners will, therefore, usually be charged more than high-income earners for the credit on offer.

Instead of excluding poor and risky consumers from credit, many providers allow access but at higher interest rates. Prohibitive rates, greater need — due to lack of generational wealth or more insecure income — and a lack of financial education collide, often overwhelming the most economically vulnerable.

Under apartheid, most South Africans were denied access to certain financial services including credit, either through direct policies or systemic barriers. When that political system was dismantled, there was a desperate need to reform the social system and the barriers to financial inclusion.

The government has been chipping away at the legislation ever since with repeals, new acts, amendments to existing legislation, patches and policy reimagining. The goal is a very narrow sweet spot — increasing financial access while limiting opportunity for abuse of the hungry-for-credit populace.

The Usury Act of 1968 was replaced by the National Credit Act of 2005. The National Credit Amendment Act in 2015 was a further tightening of the reins, especially in terms of the affordability assessments that credit providers are now required to perform. With each new piece of legislation, the government has tried to get one step closer to that dual target.

Their success is a matter of debate, depending on which side of the market you find yourself. One particularly controversial move was the credit information amnesty, or as the credit and legal fraternity know it, the Removal of Adverse Consumer Information and Information Relating to Paid-up Judgments regulations, 2014.

It compelled credit bureaus to remove information of judgments, defaults, and terms such as “delinquent” or “slow paying” from consumer credit profiles, provided that the capital amount owing had been cleared.

This became a requirement of the bureaus and the credit providers supplying payment information to them. It also meant that no matter how abysmal consumers’ track records of debt payments were, if it was paid up, they were given a clean slate by credit providers doing new assessments.

It was championed by the Department of Trade and Industry and one that caused some ructions between it and the Treasury. In 2015, the then chief director of financial sector development at the Treasury, Ingrid Goodspeed, said that the Treasury had “fought that credit information amnesty, we fought it to the last day”.

Credit providers needed “more information, not less”, she said at the time.

“The fact that you wipe it out has not … changed anything. The same people who were overindebted before are now even more overindebted.”

The Treasury was asked to update its position on the matter, but was unable to respond in time for publication.

Officially, two out of five consumers are credit-stressed, and unofficially, the picture is much worse. By omitting municipal, education, private or loan-shark debt, and education debt, our country’s credit numbers underplay a significant portion of the personal debt carried by the average consumer.

Add to that the pressure of crippling debt-recovery measures such as garnishee orders and asset attachment, insecure employment, stretched regulators, loopholes in the laws and the rising cost of living and the picture is far worse.

Economists say that the amount of consumer debt a country can support depends on the health of the underlying economy. SA may be about to find out what the limits are.

Source: Supermarket
Graphics credit: Dorothy Kgosi

Toys R Us files for bankruptcy

Toys R Us has filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the company announced Monday.

The bankruptcy filing helps the Wayne New Jersey-based toy retailer relieve itself of the debt left over from its $6.6 billion acquisition by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Bain Capital Partners and real estate investment trust Vornado Realty Trust in a 2005 deal valued at $6.6 billion.

The retailer has $4.9 billion in debt, $400-million of which has interest payments due in 2018 and $1.7 billion of which is due in 2019.

“Today marks the dawn of a new era at Toys”R”Us where we expect that the financial constraints that have held us back will be addressed in a lasting and effective way,” said Dave Brandon, the company’s chairman and CEO, said in a release announcing the filing.

“We are confident that these are the right steps to ensure that the iconic Toys”R”Us and Babies”R”Us brands live on for many generations,” he adds.

The toy seller also intends to seek protection in parallel proceedings for its Canadian subsidiary.

The company said it will continue to operate as usual its approximately 1,600 Toy R Us and Babies R Us stores around the world. The company’s operations outside of the U.S. and Canada are not part of the protections proceedings, it said.

The retailer said that it has already received a commitment from some lenders, including a JPMorgan-led syndicate, for over $3-billion in debtor-in-possession financing. Although that’s subject to court approval, Toys R Us said it “is expected to immediately improve the Company’s financial health and support its ongoing operations during the
court-supervised process.”

Restructuring that debt would give Toys R Us the financial flexibility to continue its turnaround. Initiatives include improving its website and revamping its Babies R Us business, by focusing on items like cribs that are less likely than diapers to be sold on Amazon.

A bankruptcy filing will also help the retailer manage the the crucial holiday season and give vendors like Mattel and Hasbro clarity into its long-term plans.

For its owners, the bankruptcy filing ends a chapter that started at a time when private equity dove into the retail industry, buoyed by low interest rates and the attraction of recognizable names. That flurry has come back to haunt many, as debt burdens have made it difficult for retailers to make the necessary investments to adjust to the rapidly changing retail industry.

Private equity-backed Payless ShoeSource and Gymboree are among those that have filed for bankruptcy over the past two years.

For Vornado, the deal was a bet on the value of Toys R Us’s real estate. It came just a year after K-Mart and Sears merged in an $11-billion deal based on the idea that combining the real estate value of the struggling stores would strengthen both.

Many retailers have over the past year shed their real estate footprint, finding the U.S. store-base too vast and too out of sync with the many American shoppers that no longer go to the mall.

By Lauren Hirsh for CNBC

Fewer seek credit as tough times bite

Consumers, many of whom are vulnerable in an environment of rising retrenchments and weak economic growth, are trying to pay down debt.

Consumers adopted a cautious stance to credit applications in the first quarter of 2017, figures from the National Credit Regulator show.

At end-March, credit applications decreased by 998,000 to 9.53-million, representing a quarter-on-quarter decline of 9.5%, the regulator said. Consumers, many of whom are vulnerable in an environment of rising retrenchments and weak economic growth, are trying to pay down debt.

Head of Absa home loans Carel Grönum said last week household debt to disposable income, at 73%, was at its lowest level since the global financial crisis. Credit bureau Compuscan recorded a 13% year-on-year increase in the number of accounts that were more than three months in arrears in the first quarter, suggesting consumers cannot afford to take on more debt.

The total value of new credit granted in the first quarter fell 5.6% from the fourth quarter of 2016 to R116.5bn, representing a 7.5% year-on-year increase, the regulator said. The largest increase was recorded in the developmental credit category, which nearly doubled to R5bn. The value of mortgages granted and of other secured and unsecured credit agreements, fell.

Credit facilities such as credit cards and overdrafts increased moderately, while short-term credit granted also declined.

By Hanna Ziady for Business Day

Where to next for Edcon?

After Bain bid adieu, it’s now time to ‘clean up’ Edcon Banks, who are owners of the struggling retail group, are mum on the retail group’s prospects.

When Edcon CEO Bernie Brookes took to the stage at the South African Council of Shopping Centres Annual Congress in Sandton earlier this month, his presentation was premised on retailers that are ahead of the curve.

The emboldened Brookes said retailers like global supermarket chains Aldi and Lidl, and the home-grown discount apparel retailer Pep have either capitalised on online shopping, aggressively competed on price or successfully managed costs.

The 57-year old was pandering to an audience of largely shopping mall owners, landlords and managers that have been at the brunt of Edcon’s consolidation of floor space, largely at its flagship brand Edgars and CNA.

At the time of Brookes’ presentation, the 87-year old retail group was probably adding the finishing touches to its radical ownership structure changes.

Brookes announced last week that US-based private equity firm Bain Capital will relinquish the control of Edcon to its creditors as it finally loses its grip on the battle to manage the retail group’s smothering R26.7 billion debt pile.

This arrangement means that creditors will surrender their debt in the company and replace it with Bain’s 75% stake – paving the way for new owners at Edcon.

Market watchers call Bain’s exit the worst private equity scenario in South Africa, as it’s walking away with nothing from its initial R25 billion leveraged buyout of Edcon in 2007 – which marked its foray into the African continent. Shortly after the deal, Edcon started to introduce more debt in the business for its operations. At the time, market conditions were favourable as retailers and banks fervently dished out credit to consumers and the domestic economy pulled in a growth of more than 4%.

Then the global financial crisis hit, darkening Edcon’s fortunes.

US-based asset management firm Franklin Templeton, an early backer of Edcon through its 10% stake, will now become Edcon’s largest single shareholder along with other foreign funds, collectively owning 70% of the retailer.

High-flying bankers such as Barclays Africa, Standard Bank, Investec Bank and Rand Merchant Bank, who were lenders to Edcon, will now make up the remaining 30% of the local shareholding.

A new board at Edcon will be assembled in the next two months.

New owners are tight-lipped

Banks at the moment are mum about plans for Edcon to claw back market share at a time when there are few signs of a revival in consumer spending, rising living costs and heated competition from Woolworths, The Foschini Group and international apparel retailers such as Zara, Cotton On and H&M.

Even Franklin Templeton is tight-lipped, finding refuge in its corporate mandate of “not commenting on specific companies/holdings and stocks.”

There are already concerns about the prospects of corporate bondholders – with limited clothing retail experience – running the show at Edcon. This concern is warranted if the track record of banks being involved in retail groups is anything to go by. Cue Absa, which has tightened the credit taps to consumers since it bought Edcon’s store-cards book for R10 billion in 2012.

Cedric Rimaud, the director of emerging-markets research at Gimme Credit in Bangkok said it had become evident for some time that the sale to Absa of the credit book had been a mistake as Edcon has struggled to generate sales on credit.

Credit sales continued their downward trend – declining by 15.6% for the 13 weeks to June 25 2016. Its cash sales fell by 2.7%. Edcon used promotions to clear its old merchandise to raise cash for operations, which promptly weighed on its sales growth.

Bain didn’t have a choice but to exit after Edcon deferred cash interest payments of R1.6 billion in April to December and has in recent years asked bondholders to take a haircut (or losses) on bonds – buying the retailer time for its turnaround.

“It was probably difficult to find a white knight to rescue Edcon from the hole it found itself in. The macroeconomic context in South Africa has been extremely difficult, the retail sales are decelerating, with rising inflation and monetary tightening weighing on consumer spending,” Rimaud told Moneyweb.

The new ownership structure will reduce its debt obligations from R26.7 billion to R6 billion and present a cash flow injection of R3 billion that will be used to pay creditors, landlords, suppliers and service providers.

Independent analyst Syd Vianello said the debt reduction will give it breathing room. “But it’s insufficient. I think it’s going to be hard convincing clients and suppliers to continue supplying them. It’s possible that they will get it right but it ain’t going to be easy,” says Vianello.

He added that Edcon’s efforts are dwarfed by losses – with its trading profit declining by about R318 million during the period. “Even though this new restructuring puts money in the bank, money is going out in other areas of the business,” Vianello explained.

Stabilising Edcon

Radical changes are already taking place at Edcon since Brookes, who is the former chief of Australia’s largest department store Myer, took over from Jürgen Schreiber nine months ago. “I have cut all the costs that I can but I have also doubled the expenditure on consumer focus groups and consumer research.”

To stabilise the business, Edcon planned to sell its non-core assets. It announced the sale of its ladies’ apparel brand Legit to private equity firm Metier for R637 million.

“We also got a lot of offers for our businesses such as CNA, Red Square and Boardmans,” says Brookes, but the pricing didn’t make sense. There was a consensus in the market that retail tycoons Markus Jooste and Christo Wiese would be ideal suitors for Edcon’s assets.

Brookes said there will be some more cleaning up at Edgars as it looks to drop some international fashion brands and focus on its high-margin private label brands such as Stone Harbour and Kelso.

Under Schreiber’s leadership, Edcon aggressively pushed international fashion brands such as Top Shop, River Island, TM Lewin, Lucky Brand, Tom Tailor and Dune into Edgars – an expensive exercise which flopped.

Edcon plans to spend over R600 million over the next three years on opening over 60 new stores that will add to its current 1 542 stores.

Other turnaround measures include improving customer service and space productivity and launching online shopping channels at Jet and Edgars.

Time will only tell if Edcon will be ahead of the curve again.

By Ray Mahlaka for www.moneyweb.co.za

The SA Post Office (Sapo) is making gradual progress and there is light at the end of the tunnel, but it remains long, CEO Mark Barnes said on Tuesday, ahead of a briefing to Parliament’s portfolio committee on telecommunications and postal services.

The committee received presentations on the first quarter performance of all the state owned entities falling under the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services.

Barnes said confidence was slowly being built up within the Post Office and that the first quarter results did not truly reflect its current situation as it only received a R650-million cash injection from the government towards the end of the first three month period.

In the first quarter, a net loss of R259-million was recorded, a R26-million improvement on the same period in the previous year.

Overall revenue of R1,2bn was 79% of budget and was 5% (R62m) lower than the same period in the previous year.

Operating expenditure of R1.4bn was R298m below budget and 7% (R110m) lower than the same period in the previous year.

Revenue was negatively affected by poor service levels due to non-payment of suppliers. The closure of some retail branches also had an effect.

Creditors reduced from R899-million in March to R729-million in June and trade vendors from R382-million to R200-million.

A critical goal, Barnes told the committee, was to settle outstanding creditors so that Sapo operations could function normally. It was also critical to fast-track the appointment of key executives.

The committee heard that the Reserve Bank has approved Sapo’s first level application for a banking licence for Postbank. The Post Office had also signed a joint agreement with recognised trade unions to settle wages and conditions of employment up to the period ending 2016/17.

Sapo had also secured a three year loan facility of R3,7-billionn from major financial institutions such as Standard Bank, consolidating its existing facilities of R1-billion.

“These funds will be prioritised for the settlement of historical labour matters, (to) pay the long outstanding creditor backlogs, as well as fund critical projects to support the corporate plan,” Barnes says.

By Linda Ensor for www.bdlive.co.za

Amendments to the National Credit Act making it illegal to collect prescribed debt has contributed to the big drop in civil summonses and judgments for debt, James O’Haughey, CFO of Intelligent Debt Management Group, told Fin24 in a studio interview.

“The National Credit Regulator has been quite active in the industry,” he says.

The latest figures from Stats SA showed that the total number of civil summonses issued for debt decreased by 13.4% in the first quarter of 2016 compared with the first quarter of 2015.

The largest contributions to the 13,4% drop were civil summonses relating to money lent (contributing -7.6 percentage points); ‘other’ debts (contributing -3.1 percentage points); and services (contributing -1.3 percentage points).

The total number of civil judgments recorded for debt fell by 11.2% and the total value of the judgments slipped by 5,8%.

O’Haughey expect these figures to continue to fall as the selling and the collection of prescribed debts resulting from credit agreements are prohibited by The National Credit Act.

What exactly is prescribed debt? According to the Prescription Act 68 of 1969, section 10 (1), debt is prescribed if:
* You have not acknowledged the debt in the past three consecutive years, either in writing or verbally;
* You have not made any payment towards the outstanding amount, nor have you promised to pay; and
* The creditor has not summonsed you for this debt within three consecutive years.
A home loan (bond), municipal accounts, monies owed to SARS and your TV licence cannot become prescribed debt.
The amendment last year brought relief to thousands of indebted consumers.

“It is now illegal to collect prescribed debt and that has had quite a big impact in terms of credit providers to collect through the courts.

“There has also been a lot more education in terms of consumers, which has led to credit providers not needing to collect through judgments,” says O’Haughey.
Although there has been a significant decline in civil summonses and judgments, he added that credit providers are using debt counselling as a method of debt collection.

“It is a very good process because we as debt counsellors look at all the debt of a consumer; and their financial situation so it is a very effective tool.”

Source: www.fin24.com

We have all heard economists warn of “tough economic times”, in preparation for which consumers must “tighten their belts”.

But for the over-indebted, whose belts are already pulled as tight as can be, the rising cost of living is an extra strain that puts them on the precipice of financial ruin.

The challenge always is knowing the difference between what you want and what you need, and living within your means.

The following habits can be used as the basic structures of smarter money management:

  1. Know how much you make and how much you spend
  2. Keep track of your spending so that you are always aware of where your money is going. Drawing up a budget helps you identify areas where you are throwing money down the drain and areas in which you can cut down.
  3. Make savings and investments a priority when you draw up a budget. These should be way up there with your rent or bond payments, insurance and medical aid.
  4. Spend less than you earn and save the difference:
  5. This means that you should live below your means, and try to save (invest) as much as possible.
  6. Have an emergency fund and keep a close eye on it. Get life cover, draw up a will. Start thinking about retirement now. Do not leave anything to chance; be prepared because you do not know what might happen tomorrow.
  7. Take good care of any credit accounts you have. Always pay your balance in full, do not max out your credit cards, and never use debt to pay off other debt. Try to save for items instead of turning to credit. If you are struggling to manage your debt, stop taking on more credit.
  8. Write down your financial goals and review them regularly. Whether you want to travel, buy a car, or are saving for a deposit on a house, always record what you want to achieve. The goal may not necessarily be a financial one, but realising it may hinge on your financial planning. Either way, having goals you can review regularly will keep you focused and on track.
  9. Always take the long view. Do not fall prey to get-rich-quick schemes. Make it your business to understand how wealth is created. Whenever you have money to save or invest, think long term.

Sticking to healthy money habits is difficult but not impossible.

Make it your business to understand money. The more you understand it, the better you will be able to use it to your benefit. The business of money does not have to be complicated or scary. A little education will go a long way.

For the overindebted, saving and investing might take a back seat as it is a struggle to keep up with monthly commitments. The following tips may help you stay afloat:

  • Face your debt: Avoid paying ridiculous amounts in interest by sticking to your monthly payments.
  • Speak to your creditors: If you are unable to make the agreed payments then negotiate the amount you can pay before your account is in the red. You will also avoid having your account handed over to a debt collection firm.
  • If your account has been handed over: Negotiate payment terms before you attract more administrative costs and interest than necessary. Avoid being hounded and charged for it too.
  • Get professional help: The National Credit Regulator is available to assist you with debt counselling should you find yourself unable to cope with the amount of debt you have. This process will have a massive effect on your access to credit and should be the very last resort.

Source: www.timeslive.co.za

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