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How long does it take to get a debt review clearance certificate?

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A debt review clearance certificate can only be issued once you have completed the debt review process and it can take a few days to update your information.


Your credit record contains important information regarding your credit behaviour and is compiled by credit bureaus.

When you have completed the debt review process, this will take a few days to be registered with these credit bureaus and changed on your credit report.

The importance of your credit record

Your credit record is a summary of your past credit and payment behaviour, and is used by various credit providers to establish how big of a risk it would be to loan you money or give you credit.

This credit report is compiled by a credit bureau and contains information such as your credit score, payment history, all of the debts you currently owe, where and when you have applied for credit in the past, any judgements against you, and any other information that the credit bureau deems necessary to determine your creditworthiness.

How long does it take to get a debt review clearance certificate?

Your credit record will be flagged if you have been placed under debt review. Debt review is a legal process whereby over-indebted individuals enlist the help of a debt counsellor to help them restructure and develop a payment plan for their debts. This restructured payment plan will be realistic and actionable within the individual’s budget.

Once you have completed the debt review process, meaning that you have followed the steps set out in your payment plan and you have paid off all of your debts, you can apply for a debt review clearance certificate.

It should take 21 days for you to receive your debt review clearance certificate. Once you have sent this certificate to the credit bureaus, they will update your profile to indicate that the case is closed, and you are no longer under debt review. Your debt counsellor has up to seven days to send your clearance certificate to all the registered credit bureaus, then these bureaus have seven days to remove any of the negative points of this credit from your credit report and credit score.

When are you eligible for a debt review clearance certificate?

A registered debt counsellor can issue a debt review clearance certificate once you have completed the debt review process. This means that:

  • You have repaid all of the debts listed in the restructured payment plan on your court order or agreement in full
  • You have paid all of your debt counselling fees in full

It is possible for your home loan or bond to be excluded from your remaining debt. This would mean that you can still receive your debt review clearance certificate if you have an outstanding amount on your home loan or bond.

What happens after you receive your debt review clearance certificate?

Your debt counsellor as well as The National Debt Review Center may present your clearance certificate along with proof that all of your accounts have been paid in full, to all the registered credit bureaus in South Africa.

These bureaus use this information to remove any negative points, records, or arrears incurred during this timeframe from your credit profile. The credit bureaus will also remove the debt review flag and any default listings or judgements from this credit review period from your credit report.

The only record of your credit review that remains on your credit record is your payment history, which should remain on your record for two years after your review has ended.

Tips for the period after your credit review has ended

After your credit review period has ended and your clearance certificate has been issued, it is wise to monitor your credit report closely for a while. Monitoring your credit report monthly for at least six months after your clearance certificate has been issued will allow you to determine whether all of the judgements and listings have truly been removed from your record.

If there are issues with the removal of some of the judgements or defaults, you can report this to the credit bureau.

Final thoughts

Credit bureaus put all your relevant credit information in your credit report.

Once you have received your credit review clearance certificate, this information will be sent to the credit bureau and you can then monitor your report to see if all the judgements and flags have been removed from it. This process may take some time but is regulated.