Debt Review


How does migration affect debt counselling?

People move in and out of the country for different reasons. In many cases these people carry more than their luggage with them, they carry their debt, and some of them are under debt counselling.

This is usually a cause for concern for these individuals as they don’t know how their migration will affect their debt counselling payments.

Moving out of the country doesn’t excuse non-payment

Being under debt counselling doesn’t hinder you from emigrating. You can still move to and work in another country while you’re undergoing debt counselling. However, you must let your debt counsellor know that you’re relocating.

You will still be liable for your monthly restructured payments. Failure to stick to your payments will lead to the cancellation of your debt counselling programme. Your debt will go back to your creditors and they will take legal action against you.

This means you will not be able to take credit in South Africa again because your credit score will be negatively impacted. Creditors do not give credit to someone who poses a risk.

What if you’re immigrating?

At DebtBusters, we assist consumers who are moving into the country. However, the debt must be local debt – that is, debt incurred from a South African company.

You will have to provide us with proof of your income, permanent residency, and your bank statements. If your debt was incurred in another country, you will have to contact debt counselling companies from that country.

What if you become overindebted whilst outside the country?

DebtBusters has assisted, and continues to assist, consumers who live outside South Africa. It does happen that sometimes you struggle to continue paying your debt while you’re living outside the country.

There’s no need to worry about this because we can still help you rebuild your finances. As long as the debt was incurred in South Africa, we can help you create a new repayment plan which will allow you to pay lower instalments, interest, and stop creditors from demanding payment.

You may be tempted to stop paying your debts while you are away, but don’t give in. You are only doing yourself a disservice.

Your actions may not affect your ability to travel, but some debt will haunt you. For instance, if you owe the South African Revenue Services, your assets can be attached, and if you have assets outside South Africa, they may be repatriated to SA. It can also be hard to obtain your tax certificate clearance for your investments.

DebtBusters has issued thousands of clearance certificates to South African residents including those living outside of the country. You can also be one of them by contacting our consultants at or call 086 999 0606.


A beginner’s guide to debt counselling

Many South Africans are struggling to meet their monthly debt obligations because of various factors, including the ever-increasing standard of living.

Sadly, some don’t even know that help is within their reach. In 2007, the government introduced a programme called debt counselling to assist such consumers.

What is debt counselling?

Debt counselling is a debt relief programme that helps over-indebted consumers through an affordable repayment plan to repay their outstanding debt.

According to the National Credit Act (NCA), you are over-indebted if you are unable or struggling to pay all your debt on time. If you find that your debt-to-income ratio is more than 43% or if more than half of your income goes towards your debt repayments, you should seek help.

How does it work?

A debt counsellor will determine how indebted you are by measuring your expenses and liabilities against your income. If the former two exceed the latter, you are over-indebted. All you need to do is provide the debt counsellor information such as proof of income, your ID number, bank statements, a list of your expenses, and credit obligations.

Once the debt counsellor has ascertained that you are over-indebted, they will apply for a court order to halt all your creditors from calling you. Your debt counsellor will inform the credit bureaus to flag you as undergoing debt counselling within 30 days of your application. Remember you will not be able to access further credit until you have been rehabilitated. The debt counsellor will negotiate with your creditors on your behalf for lower interest rates and fees on your various credit agreements, as well as extended payment terms.

After this you will pay one reduced monthly instalment which is a sum of all your instalments for your loans from your creditors. This amount will be distributed to all the creditors that are listed on the plan.

Who can apply for debt counselling?

Any person who feels over-indebted can apply for debt counselling, and you can jointly apply with your spouse if you are married in community of property. However, businesses or companies are not allowed to apply.

What are the costs of debt counselling?

According to the NCA, you will pay several fees for debt counselling, including an application fee, an administration fee, and a restructuring fee. However, it’s important to note that your fees will be based on your unique circumstances, and we will never charge you anything you cannot afford.

The fees for debt counselling will form part of your reduced monthly instalments. For example, if your current monthly instalments equal R2 000, your debt counsellor may reduce this down to R1500 per month, where R1400 will be sent to your creditors and R100 will count as your debt counselling fees.

This means you will still pay R500 less each month, even when the necessary fees are included. Therefore, anyone in debt can afford debt counselling.

What if you are unemployed?

The debt counselling programme is for consumers who can provide proof that they can afford the lower monthly instalments that are afforded by the programme. However, if you are unemployed but married in community of property, you can jointly apply for debt counselling with your spouse.

What happens after debt counselling?

Once you have been rehabilitated – that is, once you have paid all your debts according to your restructuring plan – you will receive a clearance certificate that shows that you have completed the debt counselling programme.

Your debt counsellor will send the certificate to all the credit bureaus so that they can “unlist” you under debt counselling. It is up to you to ensure that the bureaus remove the debt counselling status. Failing to do so may harm your chances of you accessing credit again in future.

We can assist with all your debt counselling needs. We offer customised assistance based on your unique circumstances. Call us at 086 999 0606 to get started.


How does life look after debt counselling?

So, you’ve reached the end of the debt counselling journey – a fantastic achievement. Like many who have been part of the programme, you are probably wondering what’s next and how your life is going to change after the programme.

Here is what you should expect:

Once all the necessary paid up letters from your respective credit providers have been received, your debt counsellor will issue you with a clearance certificate which is also known as a Form 19. This certificate confirms that you have settled all your accounts listed under the debt counselling agreement and that all of your accounts are paid up – this excludes your home loan, which just needs to be up to date with payment.

Once all the paid up letters have been obtained, the clearance certificate must be issued within seven days of finishing the programme. The debt counsellor will ensure that the credit bureaus receive the certificate so that you are no longer flagged under debt counselling.

Can you apply for credit?

Since you have been rehabilitated, you can apply for credit as soon as the debt counsellor hands you your clearance certificate. Your status as someone who was under debt counselling will not have a negative impact on how the creditors perceive you. If anything, they will perceive you as a responsible consumer who realised that they were overindebted and acted accordingly.

It is highly advisable that you set up a realistic budget and draw up a financial plan before you attempt to take out any new credit. Your debt counsellor and/or a financial advisor will be happy to assist you with this budget as well as a sustainable financial plan for the future.

How will your credit score be affected?

Naturally, your credit score will be low after debt counselling. But you can rebuild it by ensuring that you pay your accounts on time. Creditors always look at your payment history when they are risk profiling you for credit. Make sure that service agreements such as DStv, Telkom accounts, and phone contracts are up to date.

After you have completed the debt counselling programme, pull up your credit report to see if it is updated. If not, immediately inform the bureau, so that they can correct any mistakes. Those mistakes could cost you your credit score.

Can you apply for debt counselling for a second time?

You can apply for debt counselling any time you feel over-indebted. However, the debt counsellor must also do an assessment to determine if you are indeed over-indebted.

DebtBusters has a trained team of consultants who will help you negotiate debt settlement discounts with your creditors. If you are struggling to pay your monthly instalments, do not hesitate to call us on 086 999 0606.


Clean Sweep for IDM at the 2016 Debt Review Awards!


The 3rd annual Debt Review Awards Gala was held on Saturday evening, in recognition of outstanding achievements in the Debt Counselling industry for 2015.

It came as no surprise as once again, DebtBusters and Consumer Debt Help, both subsidiaries of Intelligent Debt Management (IDM Group) scooped the most anticipated awards of the evening, with Consumer Debt Help winning best ‘Large Debt Counselling Company’ and DebtBusters bringing home the best ‘National Debt Counselling Company’ award.

This has started to become somewhat a formality at the Gala Awards, with IDM grabbing top honours at the Debt Review Awards since the inaugural Debt Review Awards were first held in 2014.
ian wason awards

Ian Wason, CEO of IDM Group dedicated this recognition to the staff at IDM.

“This is testimony of the incredible work everyone at IDM has done over the last year. You can all be very proud of yourselves at IDM. It is always difficult as the market leader, as you constantly need to compete with yourself and keep improving on your previous performances”.

In addition, Payment Distribution Agent, Hyphen grabbed all major honours, winning all the awards in their various categories, including Industry Support, Software Integration, Customer Service and Payment Distribution.

IDM maintains a close working relationship with Hyphen PDA, with both companies leading the industry in terms of innovation and maintaining market leadership.

Huge congratulations to the IDM Group on their achievement!



Testimonial of Erica Manuel

“This was my first salary and I was so excited that I didn’t realise that I was taking out too many loans. I felt trapped because I needed more and more loans to pay my current ones. I came across DebtBusters, who were able to lower my payments so that I can afford to pay my debts every month. I have learnt a valuable lesson at a young age and I am better off because of them. Thank you DebtBusters”. – Erica Manuel, DebtBusters Client


Testimonial of Brandon Williamson

“I never thought I would ever end up in a situation where I would not be in control of my money. I tried every solution possible, but I could not handle my monthly payments and started going into arrears with some of my accounts, I even started getting lawyers letters which was frightening and was always fighting with my partner. I asked DebtBusters to help me and help me they did. In fact, they saved me and my relationship.” – Brandon Williamson, DebtBusters Client


Testimonial of Margaret Jefferson

“Being in debt can be so overwhelming. It’s a nightmare that you can’t wake up from. When I realised that I could no longer take out a loan each month to service my existing debt, I made the responsible decision to call DebtBusters. The empathy, the advice and the will to help, was what convinced me that I made the right choice to solve my debt problems. I can now sleep peacefully at night knowing that I can afford to pay off my children’s education and put food on the table. Debt Counselling has changed my life.” – Margaret, DebtBusters Client


Testimonial of Simon Dube

“I couldn’t sleep at night. I thought of my family and that they may end up on the street. DebtBusters helped me save my home.” – Simon, DebtBusters Client


Debt Review with DebtBusters

Over 23 Million South Africans are burdened with debt and more than half of them are in arrears on their debt repayments. At DebtBusters we understand that life happens and that you don’t always plan to get yourself into this situation. There are many reasons for why and how people become over-indebted, ranging from a sudden loss or decrease in income, retrenchment, illness, injury and divorce to improper affordability assessments by credit providers.

We understand that being over-indebted has a massive impact on your life and well-being. We know it leaves you feeling hopeless, desperate, socially judged and overwhelmed. When our clients first talk to us, they feel as if they have nowhere to turn for help with their debt.

At DebtBusters we know that when you get to this point, you need urgent and efficient help and intervention with your credit providers. In many cases, we have to move quickly to stop the banks from repossessing your car and home. So far, Debtbusters has saved 524 homes and vehicles from being repossessed. We are proud to have helped over 35,000 individuals to get back on track with their finances.

We also know that the first step is the hardest and that is why we offer a free and confidential credit check and debt assessment to any South African that is struggling with debt. Our Financial Consultants will offer you free advice and will explain the benefits of debt review to you.

What is Debt review?

Debt Review, also known as Debt Counselling, is a very effective debt solution which has seen thousands of people becoming debt free. It is a process whereby you are assigned a debt counsellor (such as DebtBusters), who contacts your credit providers and negotiates lower instalments and interest rates with them on your behalf. With Debt Review, all your payments are consolidated into one monthly instalment that you can afford. Debt Review offers you legal protection from your credit providers which means that they will stop harassing you for payments.

How to know you need debt review

  • You are living off credit because your salary doesn’t cover all your monthly expenses
  • You don’t have a budget and you struggle to keep track of your expenses
  • Divorce, unplanned children, death, disability or illness has resulted in you incurring expenses that you cannot afford
  • You have defaulted on one or more of your monthly debt repayments
  • You constantly think and worry about how you are going to pay your monthly debt repayments and expenses
  • You are taking out more debt just so that you can pay your existing debt
  • Credit providers, debt collectors or lawyers are calling you for money that you owe
  • You have started avoiding calls from unknown numbers because it may be credit providers, debt collectors or lawyers asking you for money

If you are in need of help with your debt, call DebtBusters on 0869 99 0606 today for your free and confidential credit check and debt assessment.

Find out how debt counselling can work for you.


Understanding Debt Review on Smartcents

Smartcents is the easiest way to keep track of your debt review application progress. By logging on to, you are able to view your account balances, payment history, credit report and your countdown to debt freedom! Smartcents is a revolutionary debt review tracking tool and is one of a kind in the industry. Logging into Smartcents, it is best way for you to stay up to date with your debt review application progress.