You may no longer be on the black list. The credit amnesty that comes into play on April 1st has caused much jubilation amongst cash strapped South Africans-but their Happy Dance may be short lived. The amnesty, contrary to common belief does not allow you to walk away from the finance you got for the supersonic vacuum you bought from a way too clever salesman. However it does give you a second chance if you have negative information on your credit report due to bad debt-but only if you have paid it off. If you have ever tried to get an adverse report removed from you credit record you will know that it is stickier than gum in a three year olds hair. Until recently, even people who had settled their debts continued to be in the grips of the credit bureaus because the process to get their records clear needed cash, lawyers and a stint in the court room. Getting an adverse report or a judgement off your name is critically important because not only does it stop your access to further credit, it can also affect your ability to get a job or rental accommodation, as these entities check your credit reports. The Amnesty now ensures that adverse information against people who have paid their debts is automatically removed. From 1 April 2014, this information will no longer be able to be supplied by the bureaus to anybody who is wanting to make use of that information in the course of a credit transaction or any other reason. The credit bureaus will have until the 30th of May to complete the administrative work. If there was ever a good reason to get your debt sorted- this is it. In the past the fact that paying off your debt did not make a difference to your record, created a disincentive to pay creditors. The Amnesty has definitely changed the landscape. The credit bureau system has been a real thorn in people’s side, while it was supposed to discourage people from being negligent with credit obligations it did not succeed. However, it did a good job of keeping individuals out of the credit market that did not necessarily deserve it. Many people who slip into debt stress don’t do it with intention, a job loss or financial emergency is often the cause. Individuals do not have to apply to get their information removed, it will be done automatically. If you have outstanding debts that you want to settle call the credit provider to negotiate a settlement of the debt. It does not have to be the full amount as they have written off this debt, any cash they get is a bonus. If you are a good negotiator you should at least be able to get the legal fees and interest charges dropped. If you are a master of the universe negotiator you can get more than 50% off. No harm in trying.