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How to check if your name is under debt review

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A credit report generated by a registered credit bureau is the best way to see whether you have been placed under debt review.


Your credit report details a history of all your credit actions in recent years. This includes whether you have ever been flagged for debt review. Debt review is a legal process whereby individuals can apply for the assistance of a debt counsellor to help them to structure a repayment plan, with fees included, and settle all their outstanding debts.

About credit reports

When you apply for credit of any kind, the financial institution from which you are borrowing the money will request a credit report to ascertain whether you will be able to pay back the money.

This credit report will have details about your credit history and include information such as previous accounts you have or other accounts you may hold, your payment histories for these accounts, your credit score, and any judgements that may be held against you.

This will likely determine whether your credit application will be successful and what your interest rate and repayment period will be.

How to check if your name is under debt review

This credit report may also state that you are under debt review if you are. This statement is usually found on the front page of the report, and this may make it very difficult for you to apply for any sort of credit. You can also check this report yourself by applying at any credit bureau such as Experian and TransUnion. This report can be generated once yearly, for free.

When you are under debt review, it means that you have been involved in a legal process that has been detailed by the National Credit Act, which protects over-indebted individuals while they take steps to implement a specific plan to settle their debts.

What does a debt review entail?

Once you have been placed under debt review, you will need to connect with a debt counsellor who can liaise with the different financial institutions where you have debts on your behalf, in order to help you develop a payment plan and restructure your debts.

It is important that this debt review counsellor is registered with the National Credit Regulator, so that you can be assured that the process will be done legally.

Then, a repayment plan will be drawn up detailing the ways that you can settle your debts and what the timeline for this plan will be. This plan will become a legal court order that you will be legally required to adhere to.

While you are in this process, you will be protected from potential legal action taken against you by these financial institutions, and you will also unlikely be able to apply for any additional lines of credit.

What does a debt review cost?

Once you have been placed under debt review, you may need to pay application fees for debt counselling and other service fees throughout the process.

Fortunately, your debt counsellor will legally have to disclose the total fee for your debt counselling and payment restructuring upfront. This will allow you to compare fees of different registered debt counsellors, so that you can find the counsellor that will be the right fit for you and your debt repayment plan.

How to clear your name from debt review

When you have worked through your repayment plan and you have settled any accounts in arrears or money left owing, your debt counsellor will notify the National Credit Regulator and update the listings on the website to indicate that you are no longer under debt review.

This process can take up to 21 days to complete. After your name has been cleared from debt review, you will receive a debt review clearance certificate from the National Credit Regulator, which you can present to any financial institution if you want to open a new line of credit.

When you apply for new credit, your credit report will usually comprise a five-year credit history. If this states that you have been placed under debt review in those five years, the clearance certificate can help you to show the financial institution that you have paid off those debts.

Final thoughts

Financial institutions often use your credit report to assess whether you can pay your debts.

This report will even show if you are under debt review. This debt review indicates that you will need to pay a debt counsellor to help you develop a repayment plan to pay off your debts, so that you can be removed from debt review and apply for credit again.