3 ways to consolidate your credit card debt in South Africa 2023

Having too many credit cards can cause administrative problems. Credit cards can help you finance your travel and everyday expenses. […]

Having too many credit cards can cause administrative problems. Credit cards can help you finance your travel and everyday expenses. However, too many of them can result in late payments and difficult credit usage reconciliations. Furthermore, multiple credit cards come with additional interest, with credit cards charging up to 28% interest.

With high-interest rates and the administrative burden of having multiple credit cards, consolidating these cards can be a great deal. Consolidating all of your credit cards entails purchasing them from another lender and making payments to one lender rather than many.

For those who are looking forward to consolidating their credit card debt in South Africa, here are your options:

1. Get a personal loan

A personal loan is one of the best financial instruments for consolidating any type of loan, and it can also be used to consolidate credit card debt. Personal loans can be taken out against all credit card debt, with the personal loan amount used to repay all credit card debt.

You will be able to repay all of your credit card debt using this strategy, leaving only a personal loan to repay. A personal loan in South Africa can range between R5,000.00 and R500,000.00. One that is up to R500,000.00 can be used to pay off all credit card debt.

A credit check will be performed when applying for a personal loan. Your salary, credit history, and current debt will all be required for a credit check. Make certain that you will be able to qualify for the loan, particularly on an income basis.

Here are some of the benefits and drawbacks of a personal loan for credit card debt consolidation:

Advantages 

  • Interest charges can be lower than the interest charged on credit cards. 
  • Repaying the total loan will be easier than repaying multiple credit cards each month. 
  • There is a low risk of missing payments as you now pay one monthly installment. 

Disadvantages 

  • With a low credit score, you won’t be able to get a personal loan to consolidate your credit card debt. 
  • You will need to pay an initiation fee when taking out a personal loan. 

2. Balance transfer credit card

A balance transfer can accommodate various types of debts. A bank will usually allow a credit card holder to transfer personal loans and credit card debt from other lenders to their bank’s credit card. The balance transfer allows people to pay off their credit cards and personal loans in one payment.

Savings on balance transfers can be negative or positive, depending on the interest rate paid to other lenders. However, the solution offers a single credit card debt management plan with a single monthly payment.

Balance transfer credit cards typically have no interest charges for a set period of time, usually 12 months. To be eligible for a balance transfer credit card, you must have a good credit score. As a result, before applying for a balance transfer credit card, check your credit score.

Here are some of the benefits and drawbacks of using a balance transfer credit card to consolidate credit card debt.

Advantages 

  • This solution can include a free interest for a specific period. 
  • A positive balance gets paid interest. 

Disadvantages 

  • Requires a credit check when applying. 
  • The solution can require a balance transfer fee. 

3. Debt management plan

Through debt management, you can get credit card debt consolidation. Debt management requires an over-indebted individual to work with a debt counselor to create a budget and manage current debt. Negotiating current credit card debt and coming up with a new balance that will be repaid month to month until it is fully repaid is part of the process.

A debt management plan is only appropriate for credit card holders who are deeply in debt. Debt counseling requires one to go through a debt review, which means they will no longer have access to lending. A debt counselor will be in charge of creating a new budget for debt repayment.

Debt management will prevent you from taking out loans or incurring other types of debt. This process primarily requires debt repayment for a maximum of 60 months. Negotiated rates will be offered, as will lower monthly instalments.

You will not be able to use your credit cards while your debt is being reviewed, and you will have to wait until the process is completed. The benefits and drawbacks of a debt management plan when consolidating credit cards are listed below.

Advantages 

  • Interest rates can be cut by up to 50%. 
  • Monthly instalments will be reduced. 

Disadvantages 

  • You won’t be able to take out any more loans. 
  • The process is longer for making repayments which can take up to 5 years. 

Conclusion 

Consolidating credit cards can be affordable but affordability will depend on the stage where one is on their credit cards. Maintaining a good credit score is always beneficial for credit card holders, especially when consolidating debt. A high credit score can help you negotiate lower interest rates and better credit card repayment terms. As a result, if you want to consolidate your credit cards, think about your credit score, the lender you want to use, and the condition of your credit cards.


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