It’s encouraging to see many organisations stepping up to help support to people who may be feeling anxious about their finances during this uncertain time. Many lenders have already committed to offering assistance to their customers who are affected by COVID-19–related financial pressure. To make it easy for you, we’ve compiled a list of companies and organisations that are providing a helping hand. It’s just one way we’re working to help you protect your credit health if you’re being financially impacted by COVID-19.
We’ll continue to update this list as more information comes in.
Consumer Help Organisations
The following government and trade associations aim to protect you and provide education on topics related to credit and financial health.
The following general credit advice can apply to anyone, regardless of financial situation:
Don’t panic buy: While it may be tempting to buy large stockpiles of goods ‘just in case’, think twice before you load up those trolleys full of toilet paper. Avoid letting your fears get the better of you when shopping lest you end up buying an excess of things you really don’t need on credit.
Instead, think about how you can use your lockdown lifestyle to your advantage. You’re likely not spending as much on things like transport and going out, so put that money that would have gone into expenses like travel, gym, and takeaways into your savings or repayments.
Take advantage of the repo rate drop: Earlier this year, the Reserve Bank cut interest rates to 4.25%. That means that if you’re paying off a home loan, you’ll find yourself with a little extra disposable income every month.
Now is the perfect time to take that extra cash and use it to build up your financial health. You might want to put it towards an emergency cash fund, use it to pay off existing debts, or even consolidate your home loan. A few hundred every month builds up over time.
Plan for the long-haul: Don’t assume everything will blow over by the end of the 21 days and life will go back to normal. The economic impact of this pandemic is going to be felt for a long time, so plan for the future.
Take inventory of your credit situation today by downloading your credit report, and work out exactly how much you need to pay off your expenses. Then, plan your budget for at least the next three months, reassessing if your situation changes. There are plenty of great savings and budgeting apps out there, such as FNB’s savings pocket, TymeBank’s GoalSave, Capitec’s budgeting tool, and many more to help you achieve your monthly goal.
Be honest with your bank and credit providers: It’s not the end of the world should you not be able to meet your financial obligations over the next few months. If you’re in danger of not making payments, get in touch beforehand with your bank or the relevant credit providers to discuss options such as alternate repayment plans and temporary pauses.
Whatever you do, don’t just skip instalments until circumstances improve. Not only will you incur penalties on top of your existing debt, you’ll negatively impact your credit score. And the worse your credit history, the more difficult it will be to access alternative finance options such as payment holidays.
Stay positive: Remember that this too shall pass. There’s light at the other end of the tunnel, wherever it may end. Focus and plan for the moment when we emerge on the other side.
By taking charge of your finances now, you’re putting yourself in a position to enjoy life after lockdown, when you’re able to see your loved ones, enjoy an evening out, and plan a holiday. The world will be waiting - make sure you’re ready to enjoy it.
Financial Services Organisations
The Banking Association of South Africa (BASA) has a list of banks and the actions each is taking to help customers financially impacted by COVID-19 states that its members have agreed to do all in their power, while operating within the relevant regulatory frameworks, to responsibly support their customers and preserve the safety and soundness of our financial system. Please click here for full list of what is being provided.