Debts & Loans

Most of us have some level of debt, maybe a credit card, loan or overdraft. When you have a job these debts will generally be manageable as you have a regular income to keep up with the payments. If you lose your job and your regular income disappears it can easily slip out of control. How do you keep a handle on your debt?


  • Don't ignore the problem. It won't disappear. The longer you leave it, the worse it gets. Immediately get in touch with your creditors and explain your situation. If you don't want to speak to them directly then write to them.
  • Check if you have payment protection insurance to cover any debts. If you aren't sure then check with the company that lent you the money. In addition make sure you are claiming any state benefits or tax credits that you are entitled to. Find out at DirectGov.
  • Make a plan. Tackle priority debts first. These should be your mortgage or rent and essentials such as gas, electricity and food. Work out how much you can afford to pay your creditors and show them your calculations - they can be surprisingly helpful when they have the information they need.
  • Carefully consider your situation and take advice before you borrow more money - this is just creating a bigger pile of debt.
  • If you have to attend court for unpaid debts make sure you fill in the paperwork promptly, correctly and fully disclose any facts. Always attend court when requested but remember it is almost unheard of for people to go to prison for not paying their credit card bill.

If you are struggling to cope with your debt there are several organisations that can offer both practical and emotional support.

If you're looking for professional debt help, advice and information, Debt Advisory Centre may be able to help you.


The Citizen's Advice Bureau can help you talk to creditors and make a plan for repaying your debts.

National Debtline provide free, confidential, independent advice on how to deal with debt problems.

Get your
free Experian credit report online and see the information lenders see.