This contribution examines the essential elements of credit agreements within the meaning of the National Credit Act and the consequences of entering into a credit agreement in South Africa.  The National Credit Act has made great strides in consumer protection and the new interest rate caps will bring welcome relief to many borrowers. However, the combined effect of interest, opening fees and service charges will result in the cost of credit for small loans remaining exorbitant. This will have devastating negative effects on poorer individuals and communities. A consumer is the party to whom goods or services are sold or to whom money is lent in one of the examples above. . . .