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Last Updated: Monday, 16 July 2007, 13:43 GMT 14:43 UK
Tackling borrowing problems
If you are having problems with your borrowing, it is better to sort things out sooner rather than later - or your situation could easily get worse.



HOW BIG IS THE PROBLEM?

Make a list of all your borrowing. Remember to include your mortgage, your credit and store cards and any other loans.

And work out your budget - using an online budget calculator might help you to do this.

WHICH DEBTS ARE MOST IMPORTANT?

Check what could happen if you don't repay your debts - some will be a higher priority than others because the consequences of not paying them are more severe.

For example, if you don't keep up payments on your mortgage, or any other loan secured against your home, there is a real risk that you could lose your home.

Then you can start thinking about which debts are the top priority for repayment and how much you can afford to pay off each week or month.

TAKE ACTION

Contact all the people you owe money to as soon as possible and don't ignore their letters or phone calls.

Explain the problem and how you intend to pay.

Offer to pay off the debt at an amount you can afford, even if it's only a small amount per week or month.

Think carefully before borrowing more money. You might even want to cut up any credit or store cards so that you can't run up more debts on them.

GETTING HELP

You can review your borrowing in more detail and get more information on how to tackle any borrowing problems by taking our Debt Test.

It can be hard sorting out borrowing problems on your own, even with plenty of guidance on where to start and what to do. But there's no need to struggle on alone.

Free, confidential and independent advice is readily available.

So, if you would like some help sorting things out, you could speak to a specialist debt adviser.


Useful checklists and information


Handy tools

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Contact numbers and internet links

Citizens Advice Bureau
Free confidential and independent advice to those with money problems.
Check the phone book for the number of your local CAB office

Consumer Credit Counselling Service
Free advice and information to those affected by debt.
Tel: 0800 138 1111 (freephone)

Community Legal Service Direct
Information and free initial advice on legal problems in England and Wales.
Tel: 0845 345 4 345 (call rates may vary)

National Debtline
Helpline offering free, confidential and independent advice to those in debt.
Tel: 0808 808 4000 (freephone)

Payplan
Debt management and free confidential debt advice on resolving debt problems

Money Advice Scotland
Provides information on local money advice agencies.
Tel: 0141 572 0237

Advice UK
Links to advice services across the UK
Tel: 020 7407 4070

Financial Services Authority - Consumer Information
Information from the UK's financial services watchdog
Consumer helpline: 0845 606 1234 (call rates may vary)

British Bankers' Association

Council of Mortgage Lenders

Apacs credit card website
information on credit cards from the UK payments association

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


This checklist was developed jointly by the BBC and the Financial Services Authority (FSA), the UK watchdog for the financial services industry. It does not provide financial or other professional advice. If you want advice specifically tailored to your personal circumstances you should consult an adviser.






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