Where to get help if you are in debt

There are several different charities you can talk to about debt trouble – these vary slightly depending on which part of the UK you live in.

Facing up to debt can be a tough process. But there is lots of free, confidential help and advice available, so there’s no need to pay a debt management company to sort out your money worries.

Watch out for companies that aren't charities

Look out for companies with misleading names that sound like debt charities but are actually commercial businesses.

Never ever pay for services from this type of company.

Here is our selection of genuine sources of free, independent and confidential help.  

The Royal British Legion

The Royal British Legion is the UK's leading Service charity. It provides practical care, advice and support to serving members of the Armed Forces, veterans of all ages and their families.

Advice offered

Confidential, impartial and non-judgemental advice on managing your debt including solutions such as Debt Relief Orders and payment plans. Their Benefits and Money Advisers can also advise on  how to maximise your income, assist you with court proceedings, challenge debts or negotiate with your creditors, all completely confidential and free of charge

Problem debt can affect anyone, so it is important that you seek advice as early as possible and make sure you are receiving all the help you are entitled to.

Services provided

  • Contact Centre helpline on 0808 802 8080 from 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week (calls are free from UK landlines and main mobile networks) for all enquiries. If you are in the Republic of Ireland, you can call 1800 992 294 for free. From overseas: +44 (0)20 3376 8080 (full rate)
  • Information and advice centres around the UK – find one near you.
  • Live chat service available 8am-10pm, 7 days a week. Click on the Live Chat icon.
  • Online contact form to send an email enquiry.

For those in Scotland contact Citizens Advice Scotland who work in partnership with Poppy Scotland.

Suitable for

Serving members of the Armed Forces, veterans of all ages and their families.

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Help from Service charities

You can also try one of the many Service charities - see Other Service Organisations on The Royal British Legion's Knowledgebase.

Citizens Advice

Citizens Advice provides free, independent and confidential advice. 

Advice offered

Debt and money, benefits, housing, legal, discrimination, employment, immigration and consumer advice.

Services provided

  • face-to-face 
  • home visits
  • telephone
  • online

Get advice specifically for the Armed Forces and their families - find your local bureau to arrange an appointment or get advice online by following the links below:

England and Wales - Citizens Advice website 

Citizens Advice Scotland website 

Northern Ireland - Citizens Advice website 

Money fitness tip

If you're having money troubles contact one of these organisations as soon as possible - they can help with practical and sympathetic advice.  Don't ignore the situation - it won't go away on it's own.

Suitable for

Everyone.

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StepChange Debt Charity

The Step Change Debt Charity is a registered charity that provides free and anonymous advice over the phone and online to over 350,000 people per year. It provides fee-free debt management plans and other debt solutions.

Advice offered

Debt and money, bankruptcy, Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs), debt relief orders (Insolvency Service approved), trust deeds, the debt arrangement scheme, bailiffs, charging orders, employment, benefits, money management, mortgage and repossession support, and equity release.

Services provided

Telephone

  • Phone the StepChange Debt Charity Helpline for free on Tel 0800 138 1111 (Monday–Friday, 8am–8pm; Saturday 9am–3pm)
  • Use the StepChange Debt Charity call back service

Online

Create a budget using StepChange Debt Remedy, a free online debt advice service. It will identify the extent of your debt problems and provide you with a tailored recommendation to resolve your situation. It's free and you don’t have to give your name.

StepChange Debt Charity online debt tool

England and Wales – Debt information and advice  

Scotland – Debt information and advice

Northern Ireland – Debt information and advice

Start a live web chat with StepChange Debt Charity (Monday–Friday, 8am–8pm; Saturday 9am–3pm) 

Suitable for

Everyone.

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National Debtline

National Debtline provides a free, confidential and independent helpline for people with debt problems in England, Wales and Scotland. They give expert advice over the telephone and via email and will send you a free self-help information pack. 

Advice offered

Budgeting, money and debt issues including rent and mortgage arrears, debt solutions such as bankruptcy, Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs), debt management plans, debt relief orders, trust deeds, the debt arrangement scheme and advice and support if creditors take court action.

Services provided

Telephone

Phone National Debtline free on Tel 0808 808 4000 (Monday–Friday, 9am–9pm; Saturday 9.30am–1pm)

Online

For debt advice and information, visit the National Debtline website.

National Debtline’s My Money Steps website is a secure, confidential and free online self-help debt advice service. My Money Steps can help you to work out a budget and give you personalised advice about the options available to you.

Visit National Debtline’s My Money Steps website.

Suitable for

Everyone in England, Wales and Scotland. 

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Debt Advice Foundation

Debt Advice Foundation is a registered national debt advice charity offering free, confidential support and advice to anyone worried about loans, credit and debt. Expert advice is available via a free telephone helpline or online.

Advice offered

Budgeting, debt consolidation, free debt management plans, Debt Relief Orders, Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs), Trust Deeds and debt arrangement schemes (in Scotland), administration orders, bankruptcy and sequestration (in Scotland).

Services provided

Telephone

Call the free Debt Advice Foundation helpline on Tel 0800 043 40 50 (Monday–Friday, 8am–8pm; Saturday 9am–5pm).

Use the Debt Advice Foundation call-back service

Online

For information on debt solutions and tools to help with budgeting and debt, go to the Debt Advice Foundation website.

Suitable for

Everyone throughout the UK.

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Christians Against Poverty

Christians Against Poverty (CAP) is a national debt counselling charity with 205 centres based in local churches across the UK.

Advice offered

Debt, money management, budgeting, and paying bills through a CAP account. 

Services provided

Face to face

To find all the services in your area offered by Christians Against Poverty – and to sign up to one of their money courses – go to their website:

Put your postcode into the Christians Against Poverty website to find local services

Online

Go to the self-help service on the Christians Against Poverty website 

Suitable for

Anyone who lives within the catchment area of a CAP debt centre.

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Civil Legal Advice

Community Legal Advice (formerly Community Legal Advice) can provide free and independent help for anyone who qualifies for legal aid in England and Wales. Be aware, however, that since 1 April 2013, debt problems will only qualify for legal aid if you’re at immediate risk of homelessness.

Advice offered

Family, debt, benefits, housing, education or employment problems.

Services provided

Telephone

Call Civil Legal Advice on Tel 0845 345 4 345 (Monday–Friday, 9am–8pm; Saturday, 9am–12.30pm. Calls cost 4p per minute).

Use the Civil Legal Advice call back service

Email

emailhelp@civillegaladvice.org.uk

Suitable for

Anyone living in England and Wales who is eligible for legal aid.

Check whether you’re eligible for legal aid on the Gov.uk website.

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Payplan

Payplan is an advice organisation that provides free, confidential and independent advice over the phone and online.

Advice offered

Money management, debt and debt solutions such as debt management plans, Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs), bankruptcy, debt consolidation, mortgage arrears and repossession, negative equity, remortgaging, bailiffs, charging orders, payday loans, County Court Judgements (or Decrees in Scotland) and redundancy.

Services provided

Telephone

Phone Payplan free on Tel 0800 280 2816 (Monday–Friday, 8am–8pm; Saturday, 9am–3pm)

 

Online

Go to the Payplan website

Suitable for

Everyone.

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Shelter

Shelter is a housing charity offering confidential advice on a range of financial issues.

Advice offered

Housing, debt, benefits, care, health, disability, prisoners/ex-offenders, council housing, property repairs, family, neighbourhood issues, eviction and homelessness.

Services provided

Telephone

  • If you’re in England, you can call free on Tel 0808 800 4444 (Monday–Friday, 8am–8pm; Saturday–Sunday, 8am–5pm)
  • If you’re in Wales, you can call free on Tel 0845 075 5005 (Monday–Friday, 9.30am–4.30pm)
  • If you’re in Scotland, you can call free on Tel 0808 800 4444 (Monday–Friday, 8am–5pm)

Online

Suitable for

Everyone

Last reviewed: 04/06/2018