Debt consolidation - Can it work for me?

South Africa is one of the most indebted nations in the world and the outlook for highly indebted consumers is getting bleaker, especially with the April VAT increase looming! One of the 'easy solves' that are touted as a solution for debt strapped South Africans, is the consolidation loan. But what exactly is it? How does it differ from debt counselling? Would it be a good option for you? Read on and learn more…

date: 12/03/2018Author:

What is a consolidation loan and how do I get one?

Your debt is consolidated into one single payment so that you no longer make several small payments per month.

You apply for a loan from your chosen financial institution.

They do a credit check (which may affect on your credit score negatively).

If your loan is approved, a lump sum is paid into your bank account.

You settle your debts.

You pay a single monthly instalment to the provider of the consolidation loan.

You have total control over how the loan money is spent or distributed.

Sounds simple enough, doesn't it? But remember T&C's will apply, no matter who your credit provider is!

What are the advantages?

The greatest benefit of a consolidation loan is that you have a single repayment instead of paying several smaller amounts to different credit providers.

It is sometimes possible, that the single instalment will be less than the sum of the smaller repayments.

You'll also be less likely to miss a payment, which will improve your credit profile and overall credit score.

You'll be paying off the loan over a longer period and it will be easier to manage your monthly budget.

Keep in mind that the above is best-case scenario.

What are the disadvantages?

The reality is that if you have too much debt, your risk profile is not likely to be very favourable.

With a high-risk profile - high debt – your interest rate is likely to be higher and the loan might not be big enough to cover all your debt.

All credit comes at a cost and it's important to understand that the interest and administration fees will add up to significantly more than the amount you initially borrowed. These include: High interest rates; initiation fees; monthly loan fees as well as monthly credit life insurance.

If an accredited creditor will not give you a consolidation loan, loan sharks and unaccredited lenders are ready to prey on the financially vulnerable, charging exorbitant interest rates that will trap you, the consumer, in a never-ending cycle of debt.

Are you financially disciplined enough to use the lump sum you receive, to pay off the outstanding debts? Or will you be tempted to take a payment holiday – buying some 'nice to haves', take your loved ones out for a change?

If you have a history of reckless spending – you may just have created another debt trap for yourself!

The short of the long

In short, consolidation loans are a valid option for individuals who have proved that they can manage their own budget and finances.

If however, you need support on this journey, get in touch with Libertine Consultants today.

From our range of debt solution products, we will be sure to recommend the one that suits you best. Our skilled and experienced debt counsellors know all the pitfalls in the process and will be able to assist you every step of the way.

We want you to make the right decision for your financial health, because we understand that debt creates a lot of stress!

Don't miss our next article on 27 March: Debt Review – Is it a better option?

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