Deciding to get credit

What you need to know before deciding to get credit, the questions to ask and what to do once you've made your decision.


Make sure that your decision to get credit is the right one. The information below will give you an overview of how to do that. If you'd like more detail, read our Good for Credit booklet.


What you need to know before you decide

  • The amount of credit you need
  • The amount you can afford to pay back each month over the term of the loan
  • That your income will be stable and that you’ll have enough money to cover your planned repayments and your necessary expenses
  • That your credit profile has no negative information on it. If it does, you may not qualify for credit. You can get one free credit report per year from any one of the major credit bureaus in South Africa such as TransUnionExperian or Compuscan.

Questions to ask before deciding to get credit

  • What do I need the loan for?
  • Is taking out a loan the only way to get what I need?
  • Will I be able to make the monthly repayments?
  • Is it the right time to borrow?
  • Is my source of income secure enough for me to make all the payments I need during the loan term?

Once you’ve decided to apply for credit

1. Work out how much you can afford

List all your income and expenses. Subtract your expenses from your income. What you have left is the amount you could use to repay a loan.

Tip: Don’t borrow for the full amount you have left after you deduct your expenses. Save some money for emergencies.

2. Shop around

Compare credit products and decide on one that meets your needs. Never take more credit than you need.

3. Understand all the costs

Look for any hidden costs and double-check all the fees and charges. Make sure you understand all the terms and conditions.

4. Choose a reputable credit provider 

The credit provider must be reputable and registered. This is important because it means that they obey the law and will protect your rights as a consumer.

5. Go over your money plan again

A money plan helps you set financial goals, maximise your income and control your expenses. Compare your income to your expenses and don’t spend more than you earn. Make doubly sure that you can afford to repay the loan.

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