Despite the high number of over-indebted consumers in South Africa, recent research shows that there has been a marginal decrease in the amount of credit provided in the past year.
According to the latest Consumer Credit Market Report released by the National Credit Regulator (NCR), the number of applications for credit decreased from 9.9 million in March to 9.95 million in June.
Statistics say that 86% of South Africans are currently in debt. The amount of credit granted decreased from R108.33 billion to R108.32 billion in the past year.
This may be as a result of a number of factors. For instance, the new rules introduced for credit providers has made it slightly more difficult for some consumers to be granted access to credit.
The harsh economic environment has also made it more challenging for some consumers to gain access to credit.
The report is based on data submitted to the NCR by registered credit providers and credit bureaus.
Further findings from the report:
The unsecured credit debtors book decreased by R2.44 billion for the quarter ended June 2016.
Consumers classified in good standing increased by 79000 to 14.41 million customers. This is a good thing, and shows that consumers are working on on improving their credit ratings.
The number of accounts decreased from 84.96 million in the previous quarter to 84.56 million for the same period. The decrease may very likely be due to concerns about consumers not being able to afford debt.
As credit providers become more strict with their lending criteria fewer consumers are expected to open new credit accounts.
The total value of secured credit granted decreased by 18.22%.
South Africa has an estimated 23.88 million credit active consumers. There are a range of factors that could be the amount of credit provided in the last year. Findings demonstrate that consumers are being successfully active in reducing their debt and meeting monthly payments.
According to the new rules for credit providers, all lenders and credit agencies must be licensed by the National Credit Regulator.
As the amount of credit provided drops in South Africa, this may lead to improved living standards and increased savings.