New card expected to save homeowners R140m

New card expected to save homeowners R140m

Homehunters and homeowners have had a tough time of it with years of soaring property prices topped off with rapidly rising interest rates, but there is some good news that is likely to save them R140m.

The ooba credit card, the first home-improvement credit card specifically designed for homeowners, has just been launched by ooba, the country's leading mortgage originator, and coincides with its recent change of name from MortgageSA.

The card gives consumers substantial automatic discounts of up to 35% from the leading home-related retailers and service providers.

"We believe that we have launched the card at a time when South Africans are really counting every penny so we are pleased to help cut the costs of home ownership and improvement," says Saul Geffen, chief executive of ooba.

"When a customer buys a house they will go through the costly exercise of moving into the home and spending on household contents, services and improvements.

"The oobacard provides access to credit to manage the costs of moving and gives substantial savings on everything from the move to property improvements, household goods as well as vital services like security and internet connectivity," continues Geffen.

Nic Weaver, managing executive of homeowner services at ooba, said that the credit card was already proving popular.

"Our initial target for take up by ooba clients is 50 000 cards. We estimate that our customers will spend over R1 billion in the next few years at oobacard partners and save R140 million through the discounts they will receive using the oobacard.

"The oobacard gives the deepest possible discounts at the leading national retailers of home related products and services. Oobacard partners, include Mr Price Home, Weylandts, ADT Security, SA Paving, Pickfords, Glasfit, Wonder Flooring, Water Comfort, House of Paint and MWEB."

The entire discount programme is totally automated, and cardholder discounts either reflect at point-of-sale, or on the cardholder's statement, depending on the merchant.

In addition to the savings received through the partner discounts, ooba credit cardholders can save even more by transferring existing personal debt onto their ooba credit card at the preferential interest rate of prime less 1% for the first year on the balance transferred.

At the current prime rate, oobacard holders would only pay 14% interest rate for the first year, way below the normal rates on in excess of 20% on most credit cards.

The ooba credit card offers all the benefits of a gold credit card, as well as the additional advantage of a linked garage card.

The oobacard is issued in partnership with ABSA Bank, a member of the Barclays Group, under licence of MasterCard.

The oobacard is exclusively available to customers who have sourced their home loan finance through ooba.

Hello ooba news

ooba (formerly MortgageSA) welcomed the 0.5% interest rate cut announced yesterday by the South African Reserve Bank which will save South African home owners an estimated R259m in home loan repayments each month, but says more cuts are needed.

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Weak economic conditions, higher interest rates and the global credit crisis have forced banks to be far more picky about who they will lend money and less generous with their lending rates. But Mary Jane Lefevre, Regional Sales Manager of ooba, said that before you apply for a home loan, there are steps you can take to improve your credit status and encourage lenders to look more favourably on your application.