The National Credit Regulator (NCR) has urged South Africans to avoid being influenced by the hype generated around Black Friday and Cyber Monday, as not everything on sale may be a bargain.
Communications manager for the NCR, Poppy Kweyama warned consumers against unnecessary reliance on credit and unplanned purchases, especially in the face of economic uncertainty.
“Unnecessary use of credit is not only expensive, but can lead to over-indebtedness,” Kweyama said.
“You are not actually saving on a deal when you buy on credit, if you consider the interest and fees on the credit, you actually end up paying more.”
Consistent interest rate hikes and rises in fuel prices have put a big hole in the pockets of South Africans, thus leaving little room for impulsive shopping which could arise during the Black Friday hype.
Kweyama said that fear of missing out or FOMO can end up leaving consumers in severe debt, with very little cash on hand to manage themselves for the rest of the festive season as well as the start of the new year.
“Misuse of credit exposes you to the risk of becoming over indebted and defaulting on debt repayments, when you are unable to pay back the debt because you were too hasty to snap up the deal, rather than consider your affordability,” Kweyama said.
“Don’t let Black Friday and Cyber Monday lead to a blacklisting.”
The NCR also gave a few tips to avoid falling into the trap that is the Black Friday hype, which include:
– Do your research: Once you know exactly what you want to buy, compare with different stores to get the best deals. It may sound tedious, but it can save you money.
– Create a budget and stick to it: Budgeting always helps to control your spending.
– Avoid impulse buying: List all items you intend to buy. Do not buy something that you don’t need or planned for.
– Beware of costs and risks associated with online shopping: Normally, online shopping requires credit/debit card details which may not only carry additional costs but may expose you to the risk of cybercrime.
– Do not spend more than you can afford: Irresponsible use of credit may lead to excessive debt and blacklisting at the credit bureaux which will damage your credit profile.
– If you are prone to impulse buying or are ill-disciplined, stay at home! Do not visit shopping malls and stay offline.
– If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is: Some deals may pop up as you are online doing your shopping and you may even receive emails that offer special deals on items.