The following are some of the frequently asked questions. For any further information, please contact National Debt Helpline at firstname.lastname@example.org or 012 683 8773.
What is Debt Counselling?Debt counselling is a debt management mechanism introduced by the National Credit Act to help over-indebted consumers to pay one affordable amount for all of the debt obligations. The debt counsellor formally negotiates with the client’s credit providers to reduce the client’s monthly debt repayments to a lower amount that is affordable to the client and is acceptable by credit providers.
What is Over-Indebtedness?A consumer is over-indebted if they are unable to meet all of their monthly debt obligations and cover all of their monthly living expenses from their income. Essentially, if a consumers net income less the consumer’s total living expenses less the consumer’s total monthly debt obligations results in a negative balance, such a consumer is over-indebted. This simply means that such a client cannot cover all of their monthly living expenses and debt obligations from their income. If it is found that a consumer is over-indebted, National Debt Helpline can help reduce the consumer’s monthly debt obligations to an amount that they can afford.
How does National Debt Helpline reduce my monthly debt obligations?Once an affordable amount has been determined through a financial assessment, National Debt Helpline enters into formal negotiations with all relevant credit providers to reduce the consumer’s monthly debt obligations. This is done by reducing monthly debt repayments, reducing interest fees charged on credit agreements and extending the duration of the credit agreement payment period. Repayment proposals will be sent to all of the consumer’s credit providers and the credit provider could either accept or decline the proposal. If the proposals are accepted, we carry on to secure a court order. If the proposals are declined by some of the credit providers, the matter will be presented in court where a magistrate will make a final ruling on the repayment amount, taking into account the amount that the consumer can afford and we secure a court order.
How long does Debt Counselling last?Debt Counselling is for a maximum period of 60 months. This means that National Debt Helpline will ensure that you are debt free within a maximum period of 60 months provided that the consumer continues to make timely and regular monthly payments. Even though the maximum time period to get a client debt free is 60 months, National Debt Helpline strives to shorten this time period significantly by continuously keeping up with the clients financial circumstances and providing consistent advice on how to reduce the time the client has to remain under debt counselling.
How long will it be until I experience relief?You will experience relief immediately. From the time that you agree and complete the application form, you will only be liable to make one reduced monthly payment. This means that you will feel the relief immediately as from your next pay date.
Do I have to physically come to National Debt Helpline’s offices?You do not need to come to our offices in order for us to be able to help you with your debts. You may simply call us or fill in the free call back form and we will call you to perform the financial assessment telephonically. After completing the financial assessment, we will send you the application form through email or fax and you may return back to us in the same manner. We are able to help you reduce your monthly debt payments and help you to become debt free without you ever having to come to our offices. However, our offices are also specially equipped with meeting rooms where you can make an appointment and come to our offices for a free financial assessment.
Can I still be credit active while under debt counselling?While a consumer is under debt counselling, they may not apply or take any further credit. This is because the aim of debt counselling is to get a consumer debt free. As such, taking further debt will only increase the consumer’s debt obligations and will therefore undermine the effect of debt counselling. Furthermore, since the consumer’s living expenses are taken into account when doing the financial assessment, the consumer should be able to easily sustain themselves and their families without taking any further debt.
Can I be credit active once I have completed the debt counselling process?Certainly! Once your debts have been paid and you have received a clearance certificate from National Debt Helpline, you will be eligible to take credit and start being credit active again. This means that you may now apply for a home loan, vehicle financing, a new credit card etc. National Debt Helpline will also guide you after having completed the debt counselling process on the kind of debt that will be most beneficial to you so that you do not find yourself in a position where you are over-indebted again and need to be under debt counselling again.
May I enter into contracts while under debt counselling?Debt Counselling does not limit your contractual capacity other than pertaining to credit agreements. Therefore, a consumer that is under debt counselling may still rent property or enter into service contracts. However, a consumer that is still under debt counselling may not enter into any credit agreements.
Do I need to go to court once I have applied for debt counselling?Since the debt counsellor is the court applicant, a consumer does not have to go to court unless a specific magistrate specifically requests that a certain consumer be present in court. This is rarely the case and therefore almost all of our clients never have to go to court after applying for debt counselling. The only exception is when a magistrate requests that the consumer be physically present in court.
What happens after I have settled all my unsecured debt and I am only left with a home loan or vehicle financing?If you have settled all your unsecured debts and only remain with your home loan, vehicle financing or both and you are able to pay the original contractual payments, we will give you a clearance certificate and remove you from debt counselling if you so wish. Once you have received the clearance certificate, you will then be able to start being credit active again.
Does National Debt Helpline offer consolidation loans?National Debt Helpline does not offer consolidation loans. Our objective is to get our clients debt free and not to give them further debt obligations that will put further strain on their budgets and not improve their financial situation.