Consumers appear to be managing their debt, such as home loans and credit cards, better than a year ago, but being well dressed seems to be a priority for South Africans. Credit bureau TransUnion’s inaugural “Industry Insights Report” found that fewer credit accounts are being opened across all categories except for clothing accounts, which soared by 31% over the third quarter of this year compared to the same period a year earlier. The quarterly report analyses TransUnion’s database of 23-million active credit records across three categories, which include new accounts opened, balances outstanding, and whether accounts are in arrears. Carmen Williams, director of research and consulting at TransUnion SA, says that although significantly more clothing accounts were opened in the third quarter, the average balance of new accounts is R2,000 lower than existing accounts, reflecting the strategy of clothing retailers trying to gain customers through supplying this credit, but to limit t...

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