Where to get free help with debts

Being stressed about debt can leave you quite vulnerable. If you're looking for advice and support to sort it out, here are the safest places to try.

Boy on the phone

It always helps to talk to an expert

Charities that help with debt

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.

Step Change

Has a free Debt Remedy anonymous online tool which can help make you a debt repayment plan. It also has a freephone (even on mobile!) advice line and a livechat advice service.

Call 0800 138 1111, Monday-Friday 8am-8pm, Saturday 8am-4pm.

Visit the Step Change website

The Debt Advice Foundation

A registered national debt charity offering a freephone helpline and an online debt analysis tool 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 644 6089, Monday-Friday 8am-8pm, Saturday 9am-5pm.

Visit the Debt Advice Foundation website

National Debt Helpline

Helpline offering information and advice to people about debt using a simple four-step programme, including credit cards, council tax, utility bills, bank charges, and harrassment. It also provides an information pack on dealing with debt.

Call free on 0808 808 4000, Monday-Friday 9am-9pm, Saturday 9.30am-1.00pm.

Visit the National Debt helpline website

What about these guys telling me they can take my debt away?

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:

  • “Consolidate your loan into one single monthly payment”
  • “Lower your monthly payments”
  • “Manageable monthly payments”

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.

Photo of boy on the phone by Shutterstock

Next Steps

  • Moving out for the first time? Get the real Home Truths.
  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.
  • Need help but confused where to go locally? Download our StepFinder iPhone app to find local support services quickly.

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Updated on 29-Sep-2015