How Personal Loans Impact Your South African Credit Score

Published by The National Debt Review Center on

Personal loans offer a convenient way to access a lump sum of cash for various needs, but how does this financial tool affect your South African credit score, a crucial factor in accessing future loans and lines of credit? This article sheds light on the impact of personal loans on your credit score, addressing frequently asked questions for informed decision-making.

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Personal loans can influence your credit score in both positive and negative ways, depending on your borrowing and repayment habits.

Potential Benefits

  • Making consistent on-time payments for your personal loan significantly contributes to a positive credit history, a major factor influencing your credit score. Aiming for full and on-time payments is crucial to reap this benefit.
  • If your credit profile primarily consists of revolving credit (credit cards), a personal loan adds diversity to your credit mix, which can be viewed favorably by credit bureaus like Compuscan, Transunion and Experian South Africa.
  • Consolidating existing high-interest debts into a lower-interest personal loan can potentially improve your credit utilization ratio (the amount of credit used compared to your credit limit), positively impacting your score. However, this should only be considered if you’re confident you can manage the new loan responsibly.

Potential Drawbacks

  • Applying for a personal loan triggers a “hard inquiry” on your credit report, which can cause a slight, temporary drop in your score (usually 1-5 points). These inquiries typically stay on your report for two years, but their impact on your score diminishes over time.
  • Taking on a new loan increases your overall debt, which can negatively impact your credit utilization ratio if not managed responsibly. Maintaining a low credit utilization ratio (ideally below 30%) is crucial for a healthy credit score.
  • Missed or Late Payments on your personal loan can significantly damage your credit score, making it harder to access credit in the future. Setting up automatic payments can help you avoid missed payments and protect your credit score.
How Personal Loans Impact Your South African Credit Score

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How many points does a personal loan drop my credit score? The point drop is typically minimal (1-5 points) and temporary, lasting only a few months.
  • Are personal loans bad for your credit score? Not necessarily. Responsible borrowing and timely repayments can actually improve your credit score in the long run.
  • How much does applying for a loan affect my credit score? Each hard inquiry can cause a minor, temporary dip. However, multiple inquiries within a short period (typically 3-6 months) can have a more significant impact. Space out your loan applications to minimize the impact on your score.
  • Is it good or bad to get a personal loan? It depends on your individual circumstances. If you need the funds and can manage the repayments responsibly, it can be beneficial. However, if you struggle with managing debt, it might not be the best option. Consulting with a financial advisor can help you determine if a personal loan is suitable for your situation.
  • Do personal loans help or hurt your credit? They can do both. Responsible use can help build your credit, while mismanagement can hurt it.
  • Do personal loans build credit? Yes, making consistent on-time payments on your personal loan is an excellent way to build a positive credit history and improve your credit score.


  • Before committing, compare interest rates and terms from different lenders to secure the most favorable deal.
  • Only borrow what you can comfortably afford to repay on time, considering your budget and existing debts, to avoid negatively impacting your credit score.
  • Regularly check your credit report for errors and take steps to correct them promptly if necessary. You can obtain a free copy of your credit report once a year from each credit bureau.


By understanding the potential benefits and drawbacks of personal loans, you can make informed decisions to leverage them to achieve your financial goals while maintaining a healthy credit score. Responsible borrowing and timely repayments can significantly improve your credit score and open doors to future financial opportunities. Remember to compare loan options, manage your debt wisely, and monitor your credit report regularly. This responsible approach will ensure personal loans work for you, not against your financial goals.

This conclusion reiterates the main points of the article, emphasizes responsible borrowing practices, and encourages the reader to take action by managing their finances effectively.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as personalised financial advice.

By understanding the potential impact of personal loans and practicing responsible borrowing habits, you can leverage them to achieve your financial goals while maintaining a healthy credit score.

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The National Debt Review Center

Welcome to The National Debt Review Center, where financial stability and integrity are our guiding principles. We strive to deliver the utmost best in customer service & act with the highest standards of integrity. We are South Africa's best Debt Counselling & Debt Review Removal Company. NCR Registration Number - NCRDC3106


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