South African couple discussing about personal loan requirement

Personal Loans

As times get tight for everyone, you may find yourself contemplating trying to find a little help to get through a rough financial patch. Perhaps you’ve hit one pothole too many and need car repairs. Or a family emergency has left you scrambling for cash. Whatever your reason, you’ve probably wondered if taking a personal loan will be the right choice to help you through the hard times. We take a look at this class of loan, and whether it’s right for you.

Why would you need a personal loan?

A personal loan belongs to a category known as micro finance. These are not intended to be large secured loans like mortgages and vehicles, and are a fixed loan over a fixed time period unlike overdrafts or credit cards. They are instead smaller amounts used towards repairs, specific purchases, unexpected expenses and perhaps debt consolidation.

If you’re considering to get a personal loan in South Africa, it’s critical to remember that this is in no way ‘free money’.

Interest and administration charges will add up very quickly, and you’ll have to pay the original sum back plus all of these, within the agreed period, or face very strict penalties.

Interest rates are typically far steeper on personal loans in South Africa then they are on loans where there is collateral security (an asset such as a house or car), simply because they are more risky for the financer- after all, they’re simply taking a calculated risk that you can pay back the loan, they don’t have that asset to sell if you default!

Then again, they also can’t foreclose on an asset, so there are benefits too.

Only consider this type of loan if you’d like debt consolidation to restructure your payments more favorably for yourself, or if you have urgent need of fast access to money for a necessity. If you can live without what you are considering purchasing, rather leave it until there’s actual cash in your bank.

Consider a personal loan for occasions such as unexpected medical costs, burst geysers and other emergencies which will impact your daily life too adversely to wait out.

Because this is also a category where you may be tempted to borrow more money than is needed and spend it on things that aren’t essential or planned, it’s also critical to do your research well, choose the best loan company or bank, understand exactly what interest and fees will be charged to you, and make sure your total loan is in line with the costs you face.

Your installments should also be both affordable and manageable within your monthly budget.

What is a debt consolidation personal loan?

The debt consolidation loan is a special case. Here you will bundle all your debt into one single loan. This is not sequestration or debt review, simply a restructuring of your existing debt where all the small amounts due to many institutions are paid off and instead you make payments towards on one long-term loan at a more manageable rate for you.

Typically, you will manage to make your debt consolidation loan a repayment amount that’s lower than you were paying before, and you may opt for a longer repayment period to give yourself breathing room.

How do personal loans in South Africa work?

The amount and length of payment for a personal loan can vary widely, depending on the institution and your reason for taking the loan. There are payday loans, where small amounts (typically under R10 000) are loaned with the understanding these will be paid back within one or two pay cycles. Then there is the more typical long-term personal loan, where you will loan a larger amount (think R15 000- R500 000) over a repayment period of 1, 3, or 5 years.

Typically, the longer the loan period the less the interest rate, but remember- the loan is always more expensive the longer you hold it for, so choose your terms carefully. Don’t just opt for the lowest repayment rate and longest time! Your credit history, and whether you are blacklisted, will play a huge role in determining your interest rate, too.

Applying for a Personal Loan

Most South African lenders will want to see your ID, proof of residence, at least 3 months of payslips and possibly your bank statements too.

Persons who are self-employed looking for personal loan will require further proofs, or may not be eligible for certain loans.

Be sure to check your credit history before applying, and choose only a few institutions to approach that offer products closest to your needs as making multiple applications, especially if rejected, may affect your credit record and chance of getting your loan.

Once you’ve found the right lender, be sure you understand the fees you will be charged before you sign- and find out if there is a penalty fee for early payment, too, as you don’t want any unpleasant surprises!

Top Personal Loan Companies in South Africa

Loan CompanyDescriptionAmount RangeRepayment PeriodLinksApply
ABSA Personal Loan

ABSA Loans
No matter what your plans are, Absa got a personal loan that suits your needs.
  • Flexible loan amount and repayment term
  • Best interest rate with price guarantee
Learn more details here.
R250 to R350 00012 to 84 monthsMore InfoApply Now
Boodle Loans

Boodle Loans
Getting a personal loan has never been this easy. Boodle will help you get your loan in the bank quickly.
  • Just select how much you want and for how long.
  • Fill in your details and get your Boodle loan fast within 10 minutes
Learn more details here.
R100 to R4 0002 to 32 daysMore InfoApply Now
DirectAxis Loans

DirectAxis Loans
DirectAxis Personal Loan offer up to R200 000 is a convenient way to take care of your personal and family needs and goals. 
  • It is secure and straightforward to complete your loan application online
  • Repayments are fixed at their current interest rate for the full term of your loan.
  • Feedback given quickly and Your loaned money could be in your bank account within 48 hours.
Learn more details here
R5 000 to R150 00024 to 72 monthsMore InfoApply Now
FinChoice Loans

FinChoice Loans
Let the FinChoice Loan be the simple solution to your problems.
  • Qualify for up to R8 000 loan. Apply in 3 easy steps.
  • Offers 3 types of personal loan products with varying rates and terms.
  • FinChoice Personal Protection Plan is your cover in case of loss of job, disability or death.
Learn more details here.
R8 000 to R40 0006 to 24 monthsMore InfoApply Now
Old Mutual Personal Loans

Old Mutual Loans
Make your dream real. Apply for a personal loan in less than 10 minutes.
  • Get a personal loan of up to R200 000 Options to Consolidate your loans.
  • Specify your repayment period and amount according to your needs
  • Apply online in easy steps.
Learn more details here.
R500 to R200 0003 to to 84 monthsMore InfoApply Now
Sanlam Personal Loans

Sanlam Personal Loans
Apply for a fixed rate personal loan of up to R200 000 through Sanlam South Africa.
  • Apply online with some easy steps.
  • Tailor your repayment term to suit your budget
  • Qualifying Sanlam Reality members can earn 20% cash back on their loan
Learn more details here.
R5 000 to R200 00024 to 72 monthsMore InfoApply Now
Wesbank Personal Loans

Wesbank Loan
Get easily a personal loan from WesBank, offering no hidden costs, very low interest rates and flexible repayment term.
  • Apply online for a Personal Loan at any time 24/7, from anywhere.
  • Choose your own convenient repayment term
  • Customer Protection Plan is included in your Personal Loan repayments.
Learn more details here.
R5 000 to R150 00024 to 72 monthsMore InfoApply Now
Woolworths Personal Loans

Get a Resolving Personal Loan from Woolworths. With low interest rates and a simple online loan application from Woolworths, getting a personal loan has never been this easy.

  • Get cash in 48 hours
  • Complete the application form online or apply in-store.
  • Balance Protection to cover you for death, retrenchment, critical illness and disability.
Learn more details here.
R2 000 to R70 000160 days to 60 monthsMore InfoApply Now

You should now be well on the way to finding the perfect personal loan for you through our helpful MoneyToday service- good luck!