our commitment to you - we'll help wherever we can
We're committed to treating customers sympathetically and positively when they are experiencing difficulties, and will do our best to help those who are having problems with their debts.
If you're worried you may be starting to have financial difficulties, or are already having problems with your debt, it's important that you speak to us as soon as possible. If you do so we'll do everything we can to help you solve your problems.
There are also a number of places that provide free and impartial debt advice. These organisations are not associated with cahoot and can help you to manage your creditors and debt problems.
talk to us - call us on 0844 9000 900*
when you call us it's often helpful to:
- have your account number ready
- remember that we'll need to ask you some security questions to confirm your identity for your protection
- have thought about what you spend and have details of your expenditure to hand.
You may want to consider writing down as much as you can about your income and spending, perhaps by filling in a budget planner, before you talk to us. This will mean that you have all the information to hand and will help us get a complete picture of your situation.
We're open 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday, and 9am to 5pm on Saturday. *Call charges apply
what you need to know - information on how to prioritise your debts and payment proposals
'non-priority' or 'credit' debts
Although you may not lose your home or go to prison for not paying 'non-priority' or 'credit' debts, you can still be taken to County Court and ordered to pay what you owe - often with extra costs on top. If you still don't pay after you've been ordered to do so, there are several enforcement options the Court may give your creditors to use to recover what you owe them.
It's a good idea to consider taking free, independent advice on your options for dealing with your non-priority debts. For impartial advice contact one of the many non-fee charging agencies.
examples of non-priority debts
Credit card or store card arrears, catalogue debts, water rates arrears, bank overdrafts and loans not secured on the property, personal loans with finance companies, doorstep lenders, payday loans, and money borrowed from friends or family.
It's a good idea to aim to pay off the most expensive debts first. Compare the APR - the higher it is, the more expensive it is. Also consider the possible penalties for late or missed payments.
You should only re-schedule, consolidate or transfer debts with the guidance of an independent specialist money adviser, making sure you read and understand the terms and conditions fully.
Making payment proposals to your creditors is quite a daunting task, especially if you have many to cope with. It's important that you contact each and every one.
Ideally, the most convenient way of dealing with this is to telephone them and offer a copy of your budget planner to support your proposals. Alternatively, independent debt advice agencies will do this for you.
taking control - plan your budget
having a budget is a positive step to help you control your money rather than allowing your money to control you
Most financial advisers will tell you that it's important to spend time working out your monthly budget correctly. Take a look below at some useful budget planner tools that can help you do this.
Find out how much money you have coming into your household and how much you have going out:
If you're in debt, a breakdown of all your money coming in and how you spend it will help you to understand how much you can realistically afford to pay towards your debts.
Before you make any decisions about how you repay your creditors you need to be sure that you can afford any proposals you offer. Promising to make payments you can't afford can actually end up making matters worse.
budget summary for creditors: nationaldebtline.co.uk provides a printable document to help you work out affordable offers to your creditors. It also helps you to identify any available spend for other things.
did you know?
priority debts are ones where serious action can be taken against you if you don't pay what you owe
These include things like your mortgage or rent, any loans secured on your property, County Court Judgments (CCJs) or Magistrates' Court fines, child maintenance, council tax, tax / VAT / National Insurance payments, TV licence, essential hire purchase goods (such as your washing-machine or car) or overpayments for benefits and Working / Child Tax Credit.
independent organisations that might be able to help you with your financial situation
There a number of places that provide free and impartial debt advice. These organisations are not associated to cahoot and can help you to manage your creditors and debt problems - please see the links on this page to find out more.
you may be entitled to benefits - dwp.gov.uk is a free Government online information services for tax credits, state pensions and benefits. If you're a homeowner and get certain income-related benefits, you may qualify for help towards your mortgage interest payments. This is payable as part of your benefit and is called Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI).
redundancy payment - if you've been made redundant and have received a large sum of money and do not know the best way to make it work for you, please call us on 0844 9000 900*. We're open 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday, and 9am to 5pm on Saturday. *Call charges apply
self employed - please contact The Business Debt Line on 0800 197 6026.
independent face to face advice - for face to face advice on debt or other issues, contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau for information on benefits you may be entitled to or visit www.moneymadeclear.org.uk
credit card payment protection insurance - if you hold payment protection insurance and want to make a claim please contact us
Make sure that you check to see if you have insurance with any other creditor as you may be able to make a claim.
Student loan information - if you'd like further details on loans that may be available to students, please visit www.slc.co.uk
mental health and stress - financial problems can affect your mental health. There are a number of organisations who can help you through this difficult time:
- The NHS may be able to help anyone suffering with stress due to money worries. Take a look at NHS live well on a budget
- Mind is a leading mental health charity for England and Wales. Please visit mind.org.uk
concerned about your credit file?
You're entitled to see the information Credit Reference Agencies hold about you. You can request your report by contacting any of the agencies shown below.
You'll be charged a nominal fee and will need to provide your full name, your date of birth and your addresses for the last 6 years.
help by product
overdrawn on your current account
If your personal current account has an overdrawn balance or you're exceeding your overdraft limit, it's very important that you contact us as soon as you know there's a problem. The number you need is shown in the 'talk to us' section above. Before you call us please take a few minutes to review your monthly expenditure. If you don't have a budget planner to hand go to our 'taking control' section above.
If you're overdrawn, exceeding your overdraft limit or regularly incurring charges, it's a good idea to check if your Direct Debits / standing orders are still required. If so, can the monthly amount be reduced or due dates changed to coincide with funds being paid into your account? Depending on the type of account you have we may be able to help in a number of different ways, including:
- putting in place an overdraft on a temporary basis as long as you reduce the balance each month so you can keep on using your account while you repay the overdrawn amount;
- suspending fees on your account where you're making payments as part of one of our repayment plans;
- increasing your authorised overdraft limit (subject to our lending criteria and satisfactory credit score);
- helping you consider ways of managing your account that may reduce the fees being charged;
- offering general guidance on how to manage your account (e.g. change Direct Debit dates).
Find out more by calling us. Our 'what you need to know' and 'useful links' sections above will explain in detail why it's important that you come to an arrangement with us.
If you can't offer a regular repayment plan right now due to financial difficulties, or if you're currently seeking help from an independent third party with regards to assessing your finances, please let us know. We'll work with your nominated third party adviser to offer an appropriate solution.
TIP: online banking lets you access your transactions 24/7, so you can keep track of your money and can manage your accounts more efficiently. We even offer you free text message and email alerts to let you know when you're nearing your overdraft limit or have incurred a transaction fee.
It's important to note that: a potential outcome for a bank account being overdrawn or exceeding an agreed overdraft and entering a repayment agreement, is that it will start affecting your credit file and internal credit score, affecting the application process when applying for products with cahoot and other lenders.
difficulties paying your credit card
If you can't pay your credit card minimum payment or miss a payment it's very important that you contact us as soon as you know there's a problem, as we may be able to offer you a short term payment arrangement. The number you need is shown in the 'talk to us' section above but, before you call us, take a few minutes to get your income and expenditure information together.
If you don't have a budget planner to hand go to our 'taking control' section above and when you know your income and spending details we'll be able to fully understand your circumstances and decide on the right option for you.
Please note: any agreement to pay less than your contractual minimum monthly amount due may affect your credit file and decision making when applying for products with cahoot and other lenders.