Consumers drowning in debt

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Johannesburg - South Africans are drowning in debt and need to be cautious about their spending over the festive season, the National Credit Regulator (NCR) said on Wednesday.

Credit bureau statistics for the quarter ended September showed an increase in consumer debt, NCR chief executive Nomsa Motshegare said in a statement.

Credit bureaus had over 20.2 million credit-active consumers on their books, up 0.4 percent of them from the previous quarter.

“The number of consumers with impaired records increased by 71,000 to 9.7m, from 9.69m in the previous quarter,” Motshegare said.

This group accounted for just over 48 percent of credit-active consumers.

Consumers in good standing increased by 9000, to 10.5m, representing 51.9 percent of credit-active consumers.

Compared with the quarter ended June, this reflected a decrease of 0.1 percent, or 1.1 percent year-on-year.

Over 357 million inquiries on consumer credit records were made, a decrease of 0.7 percent from the previous quarter, but an increase of 11.5 percent from the same period last year.

Of these, just over 85 percent were by banks and financial institutions, 4.6 percent by telecommunication providers, 4.5

percent by consumers, and 3.2 percent by retailers.

Motshegare said consumers should monitor their budgets during the festive season and avoid recklessly spending their year-end bonuses. - Sapa

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