How to Get Quick Cash When Your Credit Score is Low in South Africa

By Tevait Feanle •  Updated: 02/18/24 •  6 min read

Facing financial challenges can be overwhelming, especially when your credit score is less than ideal and you know it will limit your access to quick help. Fortunately, there are avenues available for obtaining the necessary funds even with a less-than-perfect credit history. Today, we will explore some of them with you.

Why South Africans Might Need Fast Cash

In South Africa, many of us are struggling with the sluggish economy, the effects of infrastructure issues like loadshedding, rising inflation, and economic turmoil. This means we face super-tight budgets, and turning to credit to ease the strain or cover emergencies is common. Economic woes aside, we are also a country where showing off is a social priority, and many of us get into debt trying to look like high rollers, wreck our credit scores, and then hope taking on more debt will get us out of trouble.

The former is a very difficult situation indeed. If you need money to feed, house, or get medical care for yourself or your family, there’s little you can do but look for a quick way to get cash even if your credit score is low. We are here to help, not judge, but if you’re only looking for some fast cash to fund your next shopping spree, now might be the time to ‘check yourself before you wreck yourself,’ as the 90s cool kids once said. You can’t fix a bad credit score, or get out of debt, with more badly-used debt. So keep that in mind.

How to Get Quick Cash When Your Credit Score is Low

Borrowing money usually means using credit, unless you have a particularly nice Uncle you can ask! Financial institutions use your credit score as a way to assess your overall creditworthiness. In other words, how risky a borrower you are. If you have a low credit score, that means your prior behavior with credit has negatively impacted your risk profile. Reputable, trusted, and regulated financial institutions don’t want to lend to people they believe won’t pay it back, and this will severely throttle your access to credit. What can you do to get quick cash if your credit score is low, then?

Explore Alternative Lenders

Traditional financial institutions may be hesitant to lend to individuals with low credit scores. However, alternative lenders, such as online lenders and microfinance institutions, often have more flexible lending criteria. These lenders may be willing to consider things beyond just your credit score. Such as your income and employment stability. Some banks will look at your overall banking history if you bank with them. Whatever you do, however, vet your alternative lender very carefully. They should be a member of the NCR and a registered financial services provider that is generally trusted. Remember that loan sharks, predatory payday loans, and fraudsters love to exploit desperate people like you. Don’t fall for any wild promises, and carefully assess the interest you are charged and the overall loan terms. 

Consider Secured Loans

Secured loans need you to offer collateral, such as a vehicle or valuable asset, to secure the loan. Because the lender has an actual asset with value as a form of security, they may be more willing to approve a loan despite your credit history. However, it’s essential to carefully consider the risks involved. Defaulting on a secured loan will result in the loss of that collateral. That could be damaging indeed!

Think Outside of Debt

If that model sounds familiar, it is just a more regulated and formal version of a pawn shop at the core. If you are truly pressed for emergency cash and can’t get any help due to your credit score, pawning some lower-value items might get you the cash you need. You can also sell items you don’t need on platforms like Facebook Marketplace. While it is not ideal, you might be able to ask for a loan from a friend or family member, too. These are often better than getting into more debt long-term.

Where Can I Borrow Money if I Have Bad Credit in South Africa?

If you have a low credit score, your access to credit will be very limited. If you are truly desperate, you might be able to borrow money through a peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform. These connect borrowers directly with individual investors willing to lend money. These platforms often have less stringent eligibility criteria than traditional banks. There are very few in South Africa, but you may get lucky.

In some communities, local organizations offer financial assistance to locals in need. These organizations can sometimes provide small loans or financial support programs to help people facing temporary setbacks. Reach out to community centers, charities, and churches. They may offer tangible goods (like food parcels) instead of cash, but they will try to help.

What is the Best Payday Loan for Bad Credit?

Payday loans are best avoided if you have any other choice. Even the legitimate ones charge astronomical interest rates, and it is rarely obvious how much that debt costs. You can quickly fall into a payday loan cycle, where more and more of your income goes to new loans every month to cover the old ones. Sadly, most payday loan companies are little more than scammers.

If you are forced to take a payday loan, then Wonga is currently one of the better options in South Africa. That said, you will still face incredibly high interest rates, and severe penalties for not paying on time, so consider carefully. 

Will Anyone Lend Me Money with Bad Credit?

The unfortunate reality is people with bad credit, even if they fell into it for worthy reasons, simply aren’t appealing borrowers to most lenders. However, that does somewhat depend on how bad your credit is. Additionally, some non-traditional lenders work specifically with the bad credit market but are trustworthy. Carefully evaluate the individual provider for legitimacy before you take on the debt.

Getting quick cash with a poor credit score is rather difficult, but you do have some options. We hope you find a fair and safe lender to help you.

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