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Frequently asked questions

Questions and answers on Foster's service and the process to help you make the best decision.

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This is a big decision. You probably have a lot of questions. We’ve answered a few:
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Is debt review, debt counselling and debt consolidation the same thing?

Debt review and debt counselling is the same thing, but debt consolidation is different entirely. Debt consolidation involves taking out a consolidation loan from a credit provider to settle all your debts and then repaying that loan. It depends on how much you qualify for, and the loan’s repayment can be quite big. Normal interest rates and fees apply. You’ll still be able to access credit, but this can snowball to over-indebtedness. With debt review, you make one significantly lower payment, at much lower interest rates, that is distributed between your credit providers. You steadily settle your debt without incurring more.

How long will you be under debt review?

On average, individuals are under debt review for 3 to 5 years. It depends on how much debt you have and how quickly you can repay it. That means you can pay more towards your debt, besides your usual debt review installment, when you’re having a good month. This will help you in tough months when you might struggle to make payment.

Can you exit debt review at any time?

You can withdraw from debt review:

  • Before you are declared over-indebted, before a 17.1 has been sent to your credit providers.
  • After we have declared you over-indebted and have sent a 17.1 to the client’s credit providers, if your financial position changes, and you can present new facts/information to the Magistrate to prove that you are not over-indebted, but only if a court/consent order has not yet been granted. Debt review will then come to an end if a Magistrate finds you not over-indebted.

Aside from withdrawal, debt review comes to an end when:

  • All your debt (excluding a home loan) is paid up and we issue you a clearance certificate.
  • We reject your debt review application because our assessment shows that you are not over-indebted or your affordability is too low. This is the amount we calculate that you can afford to allocate towards your debt. In other words, what you have available to negotiate a payment agreement with your credit providers.
  • We can suspend your application if you are not being honest when we assess your financial information, if you regularly skip your debt review payment, or if you do not follow reasonable advice or instructions from us.
  • A credit provider can end the debt review agreement with you if:
  • You don’t pay them as agreed.
  • The amount you can afford to pay them is not enough.
  • If the requirements for your debt review application in section 86 of the National Credit Act are not met.

Should you apply for debt review with your spouse?

Yes, if you are married in community of property. In this case, all your debts are shared.

  • Traditional African marriages are in community of property, unless you have an antenuptial contract.
  • Islamic Religious Marriages concluded after May 2014 are considered in community of property. Even if your marriage is considered out of community of property, but you and your spouse have joint debt (like a home loan), it might be treated differently and it’s important to mention it to us.

Who oversees the debt review process and keeps debt counsellors like Foster in check?

The National Credit Regulator (NCR) is a legal body that’s been appointed to make sure credit providers and debt counsellors are compliant with the process’ regulations. If we don’t do what we’re supposed to or act in way that’s not in your best interest, you can make a complaint to the NCR.

Is our service really free?

Did you know that the NCR limits the amount that debt counsellors may charge for their service?

We’ve gone one step further. Thanks to the generosity of our funders, you can receive the help you need through debt counselling, without being responsible for the fees that debt counsellors are normally allowed to charge. The only fee you pay is a monthly PDA (Payment Distribution Agent) fee to Hyphen, a third party agent that distributes payment to your credit providers every month. This fee is included with your monthly debt counselling instalment.

What Foster covers:

  • Once-off restructuring fee. The cost for calculating and negotiating your new debt repayment plan.
  • Once-off legal admin fee. The cost for obtaining a consent order from the National Consumer Tribunal (NCT) that makes your debt repayment plan legally binding.
  • Monthly aftercare fee. The cost for access to our services while you are under debt review, like updating your balances, resolving credit provider disputes etc.

You only pay your monthly debt review instalment in terms of the payment plan that we negotiate with your credit providers.

What you pay depends on your affordability. What’s that again? It’s the total amount we calculate that you can comfortably allocate towards repaying your debt.  

And why do we offer our service for free? The journey to becoming debt-free is financially challenging enough as it is. We believe in helping overindebted individuals for all the right reasons, without any agenda to pursue maximum profit at the expense of what is in your best interest. We don’t want to be incentivised by your decision to apply for debt review. Our approach allows us to concentrate on what really matters: helping you achieve debt-free living as quickly as possible.    

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