With Black Friday inching closer, the National Credit Regulator (NCR) is urging consumers to put away their credit card and shop sensibly.
“If you did not plan and budget for ‘Black Friday’ you are cautioned not to use credit. This is because you will not be saving as credit costs more”, said the regulator’s acting Manager for Education and Communication Advocate Kedilatile Legodi.
Black Friday – which originates in the United States, is an informal name for the day following Thanksgiving Day, which has been regarded as the beginning of the Christmas shopping season – has in recent years started gaining traction in South Africa.
When one buys on credit, said Legodi, consumers will be liable for related costs such as interest, monthly service fees, once-off initiation fees, credit life insurance and others.
The NCR cautioned against making reckless spending decisions and encouraged consumers to be smart and responsible spenders this Black Friday.
The regulator advised consumers to first draw up a list, separating “needs” from “wants”, then look into the budget to check whether the available money is enough for further purchases.
The NCR which is responsible for the regulation of the South African credit industry — cautioned consumers to not take the value of planning and budgeting.
“Although Black Friday may indeed be providing consumers with an opportunity to buy goods on special and discounted prices, consumers still need to make use of this opportunity in a wise and responsible manner,” she said.
Buying on credit without a plan, highlighted the regulator may lead to an inability to repay the credit granted.
“Should the consumer be in a position not to repay the credit, credit providers will take legal action and this will negatively affect your credit record. Once you have a negative record as a consumer, not only will accessing future credit be a struggle, it will be expensive, because credit providers will charge you higher interest rates in comparison to those who have positive credit records.”
“This can also affect people seeking employment in cases where the job requires you to deal with cash and or finances.”
The regulator had the following tips for consumers ahead of Black Friday:
- Plan and draw up a list of what you need;
- Set a realistic budget of what you can afford to spend and stick to it;
- Check the items and prices before Black Friday to do a comparison on the prices and to ensure that you are getting a better deal;
- Should you decide to buy, stick to what is on the list;
- If buying on credit, consider the related costs; you may not be saving;
- If buying on credit, consider your ability to repay the debt; you may be signing up for financial troubles;
- Remember, cash is king;
- Remember, not everything is really a deal, some items may drop even further closer to Christmas;
- Avoid buying food on credit;
- Do not forget to conduct a financial health check and get a free copy of your credit report from registered credit bureaus on the NCR’s website: www.ncr.org.za.
The NCR is an agent of the Department of Trade and Industry.