Online Lenders Changing Policies in Wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Online Lenders Changing Policies in Wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic

It’s not only the general public who are being forced to adapt as the COVID-19 pandemic continues its relentless march. With South Africa now in lockdown, one of the country’s biggest short-term lenders, Wonga has outlined how its products and services will change as it attempts to support consumers through these trying times.

Changing loan terms

Perhaps the biggest change is that the maximum term of a loan has been reduced from three months to six months. The lender wanted to be able to give consumers access to short-term funds without tying them into a lengthy repayment period when the future remains so uncertain. That means that loans are now available with repayment terms of between four days and three months.

Proof of income requirements

Under the terms of the National Credit Act, Wonga must check the affordability of loans before they are agreed.  With so many people’s situations changing so quickly, bank statements are no longer acceptable as proof of income. Instead, to check that prospective borrowers can afford the loan repayments, Wonga will be asking its customers to upload their latest payslips. Those who do not have an electronic payslip can take a photo of their paper payslip with their phones and upload it online. 

What can customers with existing Wonga loans do?

If the jobs of existing Wonga customers are affected by COVID-19 and that makes it difficult to make their loan repayments, they should contact the customer care team immediately. South Africa’s lenders are being urged to work with borrowers that are struggling to make their loan repayments to reach a manageable solution. Borrowers should gather any supporting information they’re likely to need before calling to speed up the process.

Try not to panic

Although these are difficult times for many, South African consumers can rest assured that lenders are making changes to their policies in an attempt to reduce the financial impact of the outbreak. To do their bit, consumers should contact their lenders as quickly as they can and follow the guidelines from the government and medical professionals to reduce their risk of exposure to COVID-19.

Have you contacted a lender about unmanageable loan repayments? How did they try to help? Please share your experiences in the comments below.