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Many people face a financial crisis some time in their lives. The crisis can seem overwhelming. But often, it can be overcome. Your financial situation doesn't have to go from bad to worse.

Do you have credit card debt problems?

One of the biggest contributors to personal debt in the UK is credit card debt; it stands at approximately 55 billion. With more and more of us relying on credit, and considering that the average interest is around 12% higher than the base rate, it's easy to see how debt has reached this level.

Most people have more than one card too - they're so easily available. Many will only make minimum payments as their debt increases, meaning the interest that accumulates quickly cancels out these payments and the debt mounts up.

What's the first step?

The most important thing is to start tackling the issue as soon as possible, the longer you leave it the worse it will get. Contact the companies you are in debt to, and explain that you care having difficulties; they will be more helpful if you contact them sooner rather than later. There are ways to start dealing with credit card debt; professional debt councillors (like the Citizens Advice Bureau) will assess your situation and help you to plan the best course of action together you should be able to find a solution to get you back on the right track.

Sort out your priorities

Go over all your debts and decide on the ones for which payment is a priority, i.e. which will have serious consequences if left unpaid, like a mortgage, water, gas and electricity. Once you have done this you can then look at how much you can realistically pay off.


If your debt goes unpaid, and no agreement can be made with the issuer, they may then obtain a warrant of execution from the courts so they can send bailiffs to recover property from your home in lieu of the debt. You can apply to the court to have the warrant suspended.

The laws governing bailiffs are complicated and if you are being threatened with this course of action it's a good idea to contact a specialist advisor for advice. There are some key points to bear in mind though.

Bailiffs cannot force entry into your home, and you don't have to let them in; however they are legally allowed on your property and may enter your house by 'gaining peaceful entry' this means by entering through an unlocked door or open window.

A bailiff will take goods from your home to sell at auction to pay for your debt, but they are not allowed to take basic clothing, furniture, bedding or household goods.

Who has problems with debt?

Personal debt has become a widespread problem in the UK; thousands of people require help with debt problems, you're not alone. Credit debt advice is given in confidence, so there's no need to feel embarrassed or shy about asking for help, and the services are generally free (You should check this before hand).

What are the options?

To deal with debt, a debt councillor may suggest one of the following; a direct repayment plan with the lender, debt consolidation, an IVA (individual voluntary agreement) or bankruptcy. They should go through all the different options with you and explain the pro's and cons.

Is there anything I should watch out for?

If going for any type of loan or credit, read all small print carefully, recently consumers are being warned that some 0% balance transfer deals could actually land them with additional debt if not properly managed.

You should always think carefully before going for loans to pay off your debts, and if you can afford the subsequent repayments. Many consolidation loans are put against your home, and late payments or non payment could mean you loose your house.

Bankruptcy should generally seen as a last resort, as the ramifications are difficult and long lasting. Your advisor should thoroughly explain all consequences of declaring yourself bankrupt.

Prepaid Cards

Prepaid Cards are a good alternative to credit cards. Compare Prepaid Cards.


Please Note: is not authorised to give advice under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.

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