Do you need debt advice?
Debt advice is for people struggling with problem debt. Even if you have large debts, seeking advice might not be necessary if you find these debts fairly manageable.
However, if you are consistently struggling with debts and not meeting repayments, a debt adviser could be exactly what you need to get your finances back on track. Luckily, there are plenty of organisations out there that can help.
How can a debt adviser help you?
A professional debt adviser will look at your financial situation and recommend the best debt solutions to suit you.
They can advise you on which debts to prioritise paying, tell you what your rights are, and help you negotiate with creditors to arrange alternative repayment plans.
If you have serious debts, they may point you towards a debt solution such as an individual voluntary arrangement or debt relief order.
A debt adviser can also help you access the government's Breathing Space, which launched in 2021. This gives people in England and Wales who are struggling with problem debt a 60-day grace period during which interests and charges on their debts will be frozen.
- Find out more: check out our guide on how to pay off your debts
Free debt advice organisations
You do not have to pay to get debt advice. Below is a list of organisations that will help you for free, offering independent debt advice and solutions over the phone and online.
Remember: if a debt-advice organisation is unable to offer you a free debt solution that matches your personal circumstances, ask for a referral to a free alternative.
- Tel: 0800 240 4420
- Opening times: 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (except public holidays)
- Citizens Advice Scotland and Citizens Advice Northern Ireland offer the same service
Provides advice and resources to people with debt problems. You can speak with an advisor over the phone or online. You may want to complete its online budget before calling.
- Tel: 0808 808 4000
- Opening times: 9am to 8pm, Monday to Friday; 9:30am to 1pm, Saturday
Offers debt advice and a range of debt solutions. It has an online debt advice tool you can use to get guidance. If you'd prefer to speak over the phone, it says the average call takes 40 minutes to complete.
- Tel: 0800 138 1111
- Opening times: 8am to 8pm, Monday to Friday; 8am to 4pm, Saturday
Provides debt advice in each council area throughout Northern Ireland. It also has an online chat service which is available Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm.
- Tel: 0800 917 4607
- Opening times: See the website for opening times in your council area.
Offers debt advice over the phone. Alternatively, fill in its helpline call-back form and someone will call you back at a time that’s convenient for you.
- Tel: 0800 043 4050
- Opening times: 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday
Advises people on potential debt solutions. It has a debt test you can take online to get advice. You can email or complete the enquiry form and someone will get back in touch. If you'd prefer to speak over the phone, the details are below.
- Tel: 0800 085 0226
- Opening times: 8am to 7pm, Monday to Friday
Helps people with debt advice and solutions. Fill in its three-step form online with your details and one of its advisers will call you back.
- Tel: 0800 280 2816
- Opening times: 8am to 8pm, Monday to Friday; 9am to 3pm, Saturday
Gives advice and practical support to people with debt problems. Check the website to find your local Community Money Advice service.
- Tel: 01743 341929
- Opening times: See their website for the opening times of your local centre.
Business debt advice
A debt advice service for small business owners and the self-employed. You can webchat with an adviser or speak to one over the phone.
- Tel: 0800 197 6026
- Opening times: 9am to 8pm, Monday to Friday
Other useful contacts
A service you can use to complain about a debt collection agency or lender, as well as other businesses in the financial sector. Check out its page on how to complain.
- Tel: 0800 023 4567
- Opening times: 8am to 5pm, Monday to Friday; 9am to 1pm, Saturday
A government agency that helps people of working age find employment in the UK. Click here to find your nearest Jobcentre.
- Tel: See website or telephone directory for query-specific telephone numbers
A government agency offering guidance on bankruptcies and company insolvency. You can get in touch via email, using its contact form or by calling the number below.
- Tel: 0300 678 0015
- Opening times: 9am to 5pm, Monday to Thursday; 9am to 3pm, Friday
A charity aimed at helping people in emotional distress. You can call any time, day or night, or write them a letter or email if you'd prefer.
- Tel: 116 123
- Opening times: 24-hours a day
Should I use a debt management company?
There is plenty of free and independent advice for people struggling with debt.
National Debtline offers mainly telephone-based free advice. It also runs a free online service called My Money Steps.
Face-to-face advice is provided by Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Scotland.
Money Advice Scotland is an umbrella group representing debt advice agencies across Scotland.
StepChange offers free and confidential debt advice online and by phone.
If a debt management company fails to deal with your complaint against it, the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) may be able to help.
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