Your personalised action plan
Thanks for answering those questions. Here are your personalised recommendations for the help you could get.
1. Help paying your essential bills
Gas, electricity etc
If you think you’re paying too much for your utilities, use a switching service like USwitch to see if you can get a better deal.
Otherwise, get in touch with energy provider and ask them if they can lower your bills, or switch you to a cheaper tariff. If you’re struggling to pay your existing bill, ask them to put you on a payment plan, so you can pay smaller amounts.
If you don’t already pay monthly, get in touch with your council and switch to monthly direct debit payments.
If you’re struggling to pay anything right now, call your council and ask them to give you a payment holiday for a few months. You won’t be the only person in this situation. Do it as soon as you can, so they don’t try to bill you for the whole amount.
2. Help paying your debts
Can’t make your minimum payments?
The good news is most banks are offering some form of help (payment holidays, or not charging you if you miss a payment), so find out what’s available to you.
Going over your overdraft?
Be aware that some banks have changed their interest rates on overdrafts, so if you go over your overdraft limit you might get charged 40% interest! That’s about double what you’d pay on a credit card and it could mean you get into debt quickly.
Fortunately, some banks (including Lloyds and HSBC) are giving current accounts an extra £300 – £500 overdraft buffer (interest free). So if you normally live in your overdraft, get in touch with your bank to ask them to extend your overdraft. Just to give you a buffer for the next 6 months, so you don’t get charged interest.
Really worried about debts?
If you’re worried about your debts and you’re not sure what to do, please don’t panic. There’s always something you can do. StepChange debt charity offers free, impartial advice to help you.