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How long after debt review can you buy a car?

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You may have to wait at least a few days after the debt review process is finished for the clearance certificate to buy a car.


The debt review process enlists the help of a debt counsellor to restructure individuals’ debt repayment plans. While you are under debt review, it is unlikely that you will be approved for financing for a new car.

What is debt review?

Debt review is a formal process in South Africa that aims to help individuals who are over-indebted to manage their finances and gain control over their debt. The debt review process was introduced under the National Credit Act (NCA) as a debt rehabilitation program.

In the debt review process, you will be working with a registered debt counsellor who will help you renegotiate the terms of your credit accounts for better interest rates and payment periods.

This debt counsellor will help you restructure all of your debts and create a restructured debt repayment plan, which you will need to follow step-by-step to ensure that all of your outstanding debts are paid off.

How long after debt review can you buy a car?

Once you have completed the debt review process, you will receive a debt review clearance certificate. This certificate is used by the credit bureaus to confirm that you are no longer under debt review, and that the debt review flags and any other remaining judgements and listings from this debt review period are removed from your credit report.

Credit providers, like banks who supply financing and loans for many new cars, use these credit reports to determine whether they will approve your credit application or not. Therefore, you will need to ensure that the debt review flag is removed from your credit record before you can apply for financing for a new car, because a credit provider will not grant you more credit if you are already over-indebted.

This means that you will need to wait for the credit review to end before you can buy a car. On average, this process can take anywhere between 24 to 60 months.

How long does debt review last?

A debt review is highly personalised to your finances and lifestyle. This means that the time it takes you to complete your debt review may vary, as this timeframe will be based on a few different factors, such as:

Aspect of debt Effect on debt review timeframe
Higher total debt amount Longer timeframe
More credit providers and credit types Longer timeframe
More disposable income Shorter timeframe
Higher commitment to payment plan Shorter timeframe

Once all of your debts listed on the repayment plan have been paid in full, your debt counsellor will send your debt review clearance certificate to the credit bureaus, who will remove the debt review flag from your credit report. This process can take up to 21 days.

This means that the amount of time it will take until you can buy a car after debt review will be the timeframe of your debt review (24 to 60 months) process, plus 21 days for the clearance certificate and removal of the resultant information of the debt review on your credit report.

Tips when applying for credit after debt review

When you have just come out of the debt review process, your credit score may be worse than you expected. Your credit score is based on a few factors, including your recent payment and credit history.

Therefore, your credit score and credit report may take some time to improve after the credit review process, as you will have to rebuild your credit score. Therefore, it is advisable to wait a few months before you apply for credit on a car, so that you can build up good credit again.

Rent-to-own options

If you cannot wait for the process of debt review to finish or wait to build up good credit after the debt review process, there are rent-to-own options that do not have such strict credit requirements.

When you drive a rent-to-own car, you will be expected to pay a monthly rental fee. A portion of this monthly fee will go towards the purchase of the car, until you have paid the entire purchase amount. The price, rental fee, and rental timeframe will depend on the type of car you choose to rent.

Final thoughts

Debt review is an excellent option for over-indebted individuals.

This process will need to end before you can apply for financing for a new car or you will need to build up good credit, which can take some time, but there are also rent-to-own options.