A Complete Guide to Debt Review in South Africa

As many as 10 million South Africans, or 40% of the credit-active population, find themselves burdened by unmanageable debt. The debt review process was created by the government to address this issue and help over-indebted South Africans gain financial freedom in their lives.

What is Debt Review?

Debt review is a formal debt restructuring process for South Africans struggling to make ends meet at the end of each month. It was created under the National Credit Act 34 of 2005 (‘NCA’) and was the government’s answer to the rising problem of consumer debt and the chronic over-indebtedness that plagues many South Africans.

Debt review was built with you, the consumer, in mind, and is highly regulated and can only be conducted by an NCR qualified Debt Counsellor. The process allows a debt counsellor to renegotiate and restructure your debt to an amount that you can afford each month.

Your only requirement during the debt review process is to continue to pay your reduced monthly instalments, and once your plan is complete and your debt is paid off, your credit record will be cleared, and you can start living debt-free.

Benefits of Debt Review

Debt review is a simple process regulated by the National Credit Act that assists thousands of everyday South Africans like yourself every month, by reducing monthly finance instalments to an amount you can afford.

Here are some of the reasons you should consider working with us to help clear your debt through this process:


No more unaffordable amounts

We reduce your repayments to an amount you can actually afford.


We protect you and your assets

We provide immediate protection to you and your assets (including your house and car).


We negotiate on your behalf

We negotiate with your credit providers directly, so you don’t receive any more harassing phone calls.


More peace, less stress

We negotiate lower interest rates on your behalf, and we extend your repayment terms.

We clear your credit report on completion

Once you’ve cleared your debt, we apply to clear your credit report.

Benefits of Debt Review

The process is much simpler (and less daunting) than you might expect. It can be summarised in a few easy steps:

Step 1: Request a Free Consultation from NDC

One of our professional consultants at National Debt Counsellors contacts you and takes you through a free financial assessment. Don’t worry, this is completely confidential!

Step 2: Complete Your Application Form

If you qualify for debt review, we send you an application form (Form 16) to complete and sign.

Step 3: We Notify Your Creditors

We notify your creditors that you’ve applied for debt review. From here, you and your assets are immediately protected under the National Credit Act.

Step 4: We Negotiate a New Payment Plan for You

This is where the magic happens. We negotiate your loan agreements with your credit providers and restructure your repayments to an amount that’s affordable for you.

Step 5: Pay a Single, Affordable Monthly Instalment

Once we’ve handled the above steps for you, you begin paying one easy monthly instalment via an accredited PDA (Payment Distribution Authority), which distributes the funds to your credit providers.

Step 6: We Make the Approved Plan an Order of the Court

Once we’ve handled the above steps for you, you begin paying one easy monthly instalment via an accredited PDA (Payment Distribution Authority), which distributes the funds to your credit providers.

Step 7: Your Debt is Paid Off and Your Credit Record is Clear!

Slowly but surely, you’ll pay off your debt. Once it’s repaid, we’ll issue a clearance certificate and notify the credit bureaus to clear your credit record. You’ll now be able to live in financial freedom! Cue the budget-friendly celebration.


We negotiate with your creditors on your behalf to reduce your monthly repayments to an amount that you can afford. This means no more harassing phone calls!


We help protect you and your assets, like your house and car, from legal action while you’re under debt review.


We consolidate all your debts into one easy monthly instalment. When your debts are paid, we apply to clear your credit record!

Common questions answered

Anyone can apply for debt review, but to be accepted you need to meet the following criteria: 

  • You must be a South African citizen between the ages of 18 and 65 with a valid South African ID. 
  • You must be over-indebted. That means you’re not able to cover your essential living expenses and monthly debt repayments from your income. 
  • You must be employed and able to make monthly repayments while under debt review. 

The National Credit Regulator (NCR) issues fee guidelines for Debt Counsellors that include an application and administration fee of R350 plus VAT, a restructuring fee equal to the first month’s instalment up to a maximum of R8,000 plus VAT (maximum of R 9000 for joint applications married in community of property), and a reckless lending fee of R 1500.00 plus VAT.  

There is a monthly maintenance fee of 5% of the instalment up to a maximum of R450 plus VAT. These fees ensure you always receive professional service from your Debt Counsellor and are included from your monthly instalments. 

There is also a legal fee payable to the attorneys for obtaining a court order to ensure you are protected from your credit providers for the duration of your debt review. Your Debt Counsellor provides details of this in your application. 

While debt review is a necessary lifeline if you’re in serious financial trouble, you should still be aware of the various liabilities of the process: 

  • You are not allowed to apply for additional credit or loans while under debt review.  
  • Your debt review status will be reflected on your credit record until the completion of the process, or when all your debts are paid in full. 
  • The payment period of your debt will be extended to lower your monthly instalments. 

The period varies according to how quickly you can pay off all your debts. The process can last for just a few months, or up to 60 months. Alternatively, if you’re no longer over-indebted and can resume normal repayments, we can begin the debt review removal process for you by applying for an order to rescind your debt review status. 

It’s important to note that debt counselling is not the same as blacklisting. Any record of you being under debt review is removed from your credit record once you’ve completed the process successfully. 

If you’re under debt review and need a loan, it’s not possible to get approved for one as this is prohibited in accordance with the National Credit Act. This is not to make life more difficult for you, but to help you regain control of your finances. 

If you are able to continue accumulating credit and taking loans during the debt review process, your debt will unfortunately spiral out of control, and you won’t be able to make the committed repayments. 

Why Choose National Debt Counsellors?

We’re a team of leading debt review consultants who believe that debt doesn’t mean disaster. We assist everyday South Africans who find themselves struggling to meet their monthly financial obligations. Our team of Debt Counsellors are registered with the National Credit Regulator and offers you a no-obligation free assessment of your financial situation.

Our reputation for providing exceptional service is only enhanced by the great relationships we’ve cultivated with all the major credit providers in South Africa. This gives us confidence to negotiate the best payment plan to suit your financial needs and ensures that we protect you and your assets.

We’re available from Monday to Saturday to assist you with any queries or questions you may have.

Your financial freedom is waiting.

Request a free debt review assessment