It can be tough to know which debt services are actually free, reliable and truly knowledgeable. A starting point is avoiding places that heavily advertise as you can be pretty sure that they’re just out to make money from you remember; under no circumstances should you pay for debt advice.
Here are a few that you can trust:
These guys are super helpful and have tons of information, advice and support when it comes to debt. You can also contact their webchat service, helpline (03444 111 444 in England and 03444 77 20 20 in Wales, be aware that there is a charge), or your local Citizens Advice Bureau.
Money Advice Service
This is a service set up by the government. It offers free and impartial money advice. They also have a webchat service and FREE helpline: 0800 138 7777.
Although the gov.uk website doesn’t necessarily offer support and advice, it can provide you with lots of information, so it’s always worth having a browse to see if it can solve your problem.
You can be pretty sure that a charity’s only real aim is to help YOU, not to make money. And there are lots of reputable charities that offer great debt advice, even if you feel like you’re beyond help.
Call 0800 138 1111, Monday-Friday 8am-8pm, Saturday 8am-4pm.
Debt Advice Foundation
These guys are a registered national debt charity with a free helpline and a range of online tools to help those affected by debt. Trained advisors are on hand to work out how to manage your debt and protect your assets.
Call 0800 043 40 50, Monday-Friday 8am-8pm, Saturday 9am-3pm.
National Debtline has developed My Money Steps, a free programme which offers a personalised step-by-step action plan in 20 minutes.
You can also call them for free on 0808 808 4000, Monday-Friday 9am-8pm, Saturday 9:30am-1pm, or speak to an advisor on their webchat service.
NOPE. Beware of non-charity people claiming they can help you solve your debt woes. More often than not, debt advice people are just trying to sell you a whacking great loan. Phrases to look out for are:
Be very wary of companies that offer things called consolidation loans. Yes, they may initially lower your monthly payments, but that means it will take much longer to pay off your debts plus with interest you may end up spending thousands more.
StepChange has a useful Loan consolidation calculator that will help you work out if you need one.
We’re not saying you should never use a debt consolidation company, but you need to spend some time really doing your homework to make sure it makes financial sense in the long-term.