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Almost 80% Enter 2021 in Debt

By | Financial Help, News

Almost 80% Enter 2021 in Debt

According to a recent report, just 22% of the UK did not have any debt as we entered 2021.

Discounting mortgages, and concentrating on personal debt, the report has mixed news; although this is a lot of people in debt, it also suggests that the level of debt is reduced when compared to previous years. The report also suggests that the most common reason for people getting into debt is just normal living expenses.
The report shows what we have all believed and seen with our own eyes: More people are struggling just to get by.

The report goes on to show that the debt of the average adult was £9,246 – with men most likely to be in greater debt (£11,581) than women (£7,016).

COVID Debt

Almost a third of the people said that the COVID-19 pandemic was responsible for their struggling to pay their everyday living expenses. With no end in sight as we enter 2021, this is extremely worrying, and action needs to be taken NOW!

Get Debt Help TODAY!

If you are struggling to meet your household living costs, and are worried that your debt level is rising, please don’t struggle alone. We can help!

You can talk to a professional adviser today, for no cost, and together can investigate your options – if we can’t help you, we will point you in direction of someone who can.

Simply fill in this form, and we will get back to you ASAP. Things aren’t going to get better by simply ignoring them.

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Take Control Of Your Debts

Take Control Of Your Debts

By | Financial Help

Take Control Of Your Debts

Don’t wait until the new year, there’s no better time to get on top of your finances than NOW.

Get A Clear Picture

If you find yourself struggling to repay your debts, then the first thing you need to do is get a clear picture of your finances. This should include ALL incomings and outgoing, no matter how small (they all add up). This should give you an idea of exactly how much trouble you are in. There are often places where you can cut spending; we have seen cases where just cutting a store-bought coffee each day can be the difference between paying and not paying your debts – which then leads to charges, and further debts, etc.

Check Your Credit Report – For Free

Your credit report is an important tool for finding out exactly who and what you owe. And while all of the major credit report companies push their very expensive paid-reports, what they DON’T tell you is that they each offer a completely free version! They may not include all of the same information, and they tend to not look quite so good, however they do include all of the information you need.

These are the three main credit-report companies in the UK, and each offer slightly different sets of data. But as they’re free, why not sign up for all three? This is the best way to get a complete list of your debts.

Take Care Of Your Mental Health Too

Debt doesn’t only cause problems for your bank account, it is also one of the greatest causes of mental stress (often leading to suicide) in the UK today. Fortunately, there are many organisations out there who can help. Please talk to them as you are sorting out your debts, it can be hard to talk to anyone about this, but these people are 100% on your side.

Here are some links to charities and some useful information.

Avoid Payday Loans

If, after you’ve taken the steps above, you’ve found that actually you can manage monthly, but just a small injection of money would help clear the charges, then a payday loan could be the answer you’re looking for. Unlike some other companies, we;re not going to tell you how evil payday loans are, they DO have a purpose, however they are often abused and this can lead to much greater debts, and many of the companies fully take advantage of this. However, if taking out ONE, SMALL payday loan, that you can payback at the end of the month, and this will see you get clear of debt for good – then contact a reputable payday loan company.

Should You Take Out A Personal Loan?

When it comes to debt, a personal loan is similar to payday loans, in that they are good in a small set of specific circumstances. If it’s simply the fees and charges that are dragging you into debt, but otherwise you can easily repay your basic debts, then a small personal loan to repay your debts, can be great, and lead you to just repaying one lender. However, we’ve found that those struggling to repay their debts in the first place, would also struggle to repay a personal loan. So make sure you have a proper grasp on your finances before considering a personal loan.

How About A Secured Loan?

A secured loan is, as its name suggests, a loan secured against an asset that you own, typical property. Obviously, taking out a secured loan to repay your debts is a risky plan, as it could lead to you losing your home if you cannot repay the loan. This should be the last option, and should be entered into lightly.

What About My Credit Rating?

This is something we get a lot, and don’t particularly understand – people who are struggling with debt, refuse debt help as it will likely affect their credit score…

This makes no sense to us, a credit score is only to show lenders how much they could lend a person. However, these people are already struggling to repay their current debts, so a further loan is only going to get them into further debt – and in turn, damage their credit rating.

Most debt solutions will negatively affect your credit rating as you are not meeting the terms of the agreement that you agreed to when taking out your credit. However, in the long run, it is a much better solution as your credit rating will improve as you get out of debt and repay your creditors (albeit not at the agreed rate).

Talk To The Experts

If you simply can not get on top of your repayments, you can’t go wrong with talking to the experts. When you contact Debt Assist UK, you will be talking to a small company who have helped thousands of people with their debt troubles. We have achieved (and maintained) Feefo’s Gold Service Award, which is an independent review service based upon genuine customers’ feedback. Although there may be fees for specific solutions, all of our advice is completely free of charge and with no obligations to use any of the services we may suggest.

As you can imagine, we’ve heard everything over the years. We understand that to you this is a completely insurmountable problem, but trust us, we’ve helped people in far worse situations than you.

Although we CAN do quite a lot without talking to you personally, legally we (and every debt solution company) MUST talk to you at some point. If you have anxiety about phone calls, please let us know and we’ll limit it as much as we can.

Complete The Form Below

If you want help with your debts, please complete the form below and we’ll get back to you in working hours (10.30 – 19.30).

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Use The New Lockdown For Good

By | Financial Help

Use The New Lockdown For Good

With the prospect of facing yet another month locked down, things are looking bleak. So why not make something positive out of it?

One of the (few) benefits of lockdown is that most people have more time to get things done; with the lack of a commute, and limited opportunities to leave the house, we’ve got more time than ever get those little, neglected jobs done.

I know we’re biased but one of the most important jobs you can do at the minute is to sort out your finances!

We know that people are struggling with their finances more than ever this year, so why not take advantage of the times and get your debts sorted out once and for all!? If you are struggling to repay your debts, then talk to our friendly advisers who will discuss with you ways in which you can get your debts paid off. Even if we can’t help you ourselves, we will point you in the direction of someone who can. All of our advice is free of charge and you are under absolutely no obligation to use any of the services which we may suggest to you; although as we are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), we only provide the best advice for your particular situation.

Get Debt Help Now

If you are struggling to repay your debts, and would like to get some help, simply complete the form below and we’ll do what we can to help.

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Salary Advance Schemes

By | Financial Help, News

Salary Advance Schemes

The financial impact of lockdown has been hard on millions of us, and this has given rise to something known as Employer Salary Advance Schemes (ESAS). Through these schemes, cash-strapped workers can access up to 50% of their wages before their usual payday. However, as we know from payday loans, this can push their users into an ever-tightening spiral of debt and worry.

How Do ESAS Work?

Working alongside your payroll company or employers, ESAS only allow you take money that you have accrued up until that point (keeping your company safe). They then retake their money and charges from you on payday. All good so far.

Often called “wellness packages”, or something similar, ESAS were created to offer a ‘safer alternative to payday loans’. If used correctly, ESAS look gerat. Unlike payday loans, which can still APRs of upto 1,400%, ESAS charge a flat fee, or percentage, per withdrawal – with some offering your first withdrawal for free.

Whilst this seems all well and good, here at Debt Assist, we know that this can be the first step into larger debts. Taking out money mid-month often leads to shortfalls in the next month, needing you to take out another loan, and another, and another… Each with their own fees to be repaid, giving you less money each month. Enter the spiral of debt!

The Danger of ESAS

The danger of ESAS is that they are (currently) unregulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which means that their fees can actually be higher than the price cap on payday loans!

ESAS are used by some large companies as part of their employee packages and they are definitely being used. Latest reports show that on average people are taking out loans three times per month! And whilst most of these will have simply been used to smooth cash flow throughout the month, Debt Assist worries about those slowly trapping themselves into the debt spiral, with their final monthly salary reducing each month as they pay off previous loans.

Are You In The Spiral of Debt?

Complete the simple form below and one of our friendly advisers will give you a call to discuss how we can help. There is no fee for our advice, and you are under absolutely no obligation to listen to us. What have you go to lose?! Get help today and stop worrying about tomorrow.

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Furloughed Workers Struggle With Repayments

By | Financial Help, News

Furloughed Workers Struggle With Repayments

Consumer group Which? Has found that those people who have been on furlough during the Covid-19 crisis, are more than three times as likely to have defaulted on a payment than those who were not.

In not-so-surprising news, a recent survey by Which? Has found that those workers who have been on the furlough system (a Treasury-backed scheme where people are paid 80% of their salary, and has currently cost the taxpayer £31bn), are struggling to meet their regular financial repayments much more than those who are still getting paid 100% of their salary.

It is thought that around four million workers are still on the furlough scheme, with all or most of their wages being paid through the scheme, with many having reported missed a loan or credit card payment in the past four weeks.

It was also revealed that the number of those defaulting on housing payment (mortgage or renting) has doubled, with many admitting that they have defaulted on more than one payment in the last month. This means that as many as 500,000 missed payments in the last month alone!

Only The Beginning

Unfortunately, this debt crisis is only going to get worse. As the furlough scheme comes to an end in October, there is a suggestion that many businesses will have to make redundancies and/or close for good, as they come to the realisation that once they must fully pay their staff, the money simply isn’t there.

Richard Piggin, the head of campaigns at Which?, said: “Despite extensive action being taken by the government and the banking industry, it’s very worrying that people currently on the furlough scheme have reported experiencing much higher levels of financial difficulty than those who are working as normal.

“With just a couple of months until the scheme comes to an end, there is real concern that this gap could widen even further. The Financial Conduct Authority will also have to ensure consumers are provided with the help they need if they are in financial difficulty.”

Struggling To Meet Repayments?

If you have found yourself struggling to meet repayments recently, or if this crisis has simply pushed you even further into debt, please don’t hesitate in contacting our award-winning team of advisers. There is no cost for our advice and you under absolutely no-obligation to listen to our advice.

Use the contact form below and get help before it gets worse.

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Payment Breaks Coming to an End

By | Financial Help, News

Payment Breaks Coming to an End

There is a timebomb slowly counting down to a debt explosion. During the coronavirus pandemic, high street banks have allowed 1.5m ‘payment holidays’ for those struggling to repay credit cards and personal loans. These payment holidays allow people to not repay their debts for three months. However, interest rates are (generally) still accrued on the debts, and with many people losing their jobs or suffering a wage decrease, at the end of the three months, many people are going to return to a serious debt problem with no way of repaying.

Household debt on credit cards and loans and car finance had been rising before the coronavirus struck. Damon Gibbons, director of the Centre for Responsible Credit, said some lenders were being more flexible than others with consumers. “There’s going to be a lender lottery as a result of all this,” he said.

“We were in the midst of a growth of household debt problems before the pandemic, and this is going to tip huge numbers of people over the edge, whether it’s living on furlough with 80% of wages, or looking forward to the jobs market shattering. People are going to be in real difficulty.”

Terrifying Debt Letters

Due to an out-of-date law, millions of those struggling to meet repayments are about to receive ‘threatening’ letters demanding repayment from their lenders. Although these letters cause massive levels of distress and can ruin lives, they are a legal requirement, and the lenders have little option about sending them. Even though lenders have granted the payment holidays, they will be forced to send these letters demanding repayment, causing confusion and distress.

The letters even give out-of-date advice, causing further confusion. Currently the legally mandated warning says, in bold and in capitals: “IF YOU ARE NOT SURE WHAT TO DO, YOU SHOULD GET HELP AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. FOR EXAMPLE YOU SHOULD CONTACT A SOLICITOR, YOUR LOCAL TRADING STANDARDS DEPARTMENT OR YOUR NEAREST CITIZENS’ ADVICE BUREAU.

However, the correct advice for many people struggling with debt is not to go to a solicitor but to contact one of the many free debt advisers, including Debt Assist UK, that can help with putting together a repayment plan.

Research has indicated that in England, as many as 100,000 people in problem debt considered taking their own lives each year, and that the debt letters were a key contributing factor.

If you receive one of these threatening letters, or you are worried about your debts at all, please don’t hesitate to contact one of our friendly advisers. Alternatively, please visit this page for a list of mental health charities that can help.

Don’t struggle alone.

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Self Employed and COVID-19

By | Financial Help, News

Self Employed and COVID-19

The Chancellor announced a new Self-employment Income Support Scheme to support self-employed people who have been adversely affected by COVID-19. This will pay you an average of your last three years’ PROFIT – up to £2,500 a month.

If you are eligible for this you don’t need to do anything, HMRC will contact you by June. Unfortunately, we are aware of an increase in scam emails, calls and texts. If someone gets in touch claiming to be from HMRC, saying that financial help can be claimed or that a tax refund is owed, and asks you to click on a link or to give information such as your name, credit card or bank details, please do not respond.

Those Who Can Apply

You can apply if you’re a self-employed individual or a member of a partnership and you:

  • have submitted your Income Tax Self Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018-19
  • traded in the tax year 2019-20
  • are trading when you apply, or would be except for COVID-19
  • intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020-21
  • have lost trading/partnership trading profits due to COVID-19

Your self-employed trading profits must also be less than £50,000 and more than half of your income come from self-employment. This is determined by at least one of the following conditions being true:

  • having trading profits/partnership trading profits in 2018-19 of less than £50,000 and these profits constitute more than half of your total taxable income
  • having average trading profits in 2016-17, 2017-18, and 2018-19 of less than £50,000 and these profits constitute more than half of your average taxable income in the same period

If you started trading between 2016-19, HMRC will only use those years for which you filed a Self-Assessment tax return.

Banks and COVID-19

Banks and COVID-19

By | Financial Help, News

Banks and COVID-19

Are you struggling with making payments to your bank at this difficult time? Whether it’s overdrafts or loans, it can be difficult to repay them at the minute. There are people losing their jobs, working on reduced hours, statutory sick pay, plus it can actually be more expensive staying at home!

If you are struggling to meet your repayments, your first step should be to contact your bank. I know this can be a scary prospect, but they’re only human (in the main) and will try to help if they can.

Many banks have put in place measures, to help customers during the COVID-19 outbreak – follow the links for more information about your bank:

If your bank isn’t listed, they still may be able to help. If they can’t help, please don’t hesitate in contacting our friendly advisers. We’re still working to help people manage with their debts

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Debt and Coronavirus

By | Financial Help, News

Debt and Coronavirus

You may think that this is another cynical cash-in on the latest human tragedy, Covid-19, better known as coronavirus. However, there is a very real link between the virus and people struggling with debt.

As the virus spreads and more people take up voluntary seclusion, many people will be forced to struggle with the basic statutory sick pay (SSP) of just £94 per week. This will barely pay the rent for the majority of people, never mind essential such as food and household bills. In turn this means that thousands, even hundreds of thousands, of people will struggle to meet their financial repayments on credit cards or loans. Those that previously managed to repay their bills will begin to struggle, and those that previously struggled will be in serious trouble.

School Closures

Even if you are showing no symptoms and no need to self isolate, should the UK follow the lead of many other countries worldwide and cancel school, this will force people to stay at home and look after their children. Again, this will force many into accepting no pay or the SSP, in order to stay home and look after their children.

How We Can Help

Our trained advisers will go through your debts and any income you may have, and help find you the perfect solution to your debt problems – even if this is a (hopefully) temporary situation.

There is absolutely no cost in talking to us and getting our advice, and you are under no obligation to accept any of the advice given (Although we think you will). So if you are worried at all, please talk to us today. You can call us on 0800 029 3992 or complete the form below and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

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Credit Cards Set To Be Suspended In February

By | Financial Help, News

Credit Cards Set To Be Suspended In February

Come February, thousands of people will be unable to use their credit cards due to new rulings.

As part of new rules designed to help people in debt, the FCA has made the banks agree to force those who are continually in debt to agree a repayment plan – and in doing so, suspending the use of their cards.

Whilst we agree that this is a good idea in principle, it could massively backfire on those who continually live on borrowed money through their credit cards:

Myles Fitt of Citizen’s Advice Scotland said: “Persistent credit card debt is being tackled by the FCA and some people who have not been paying off their credit cards may be in for reality shock in the new year if they have been ignoring persistent debt letters coming through their letterboxes.

“These changes will help some people to pay off their debts quicker but we’re ­concerned about people who are forced to live in persistent debt because of insecure incomes in the first place.

“These changes could be a real problem for people who are ­unable to come to an ­arrangement with their credit card lender and this may trigger an increased demand for help with debts.”

Clear All Of Your Debts

The FCA has estimated that about 5.6million credit card accounts are held by customers who are struggling financially across the UK. Credit card companies have been ordered to send at least three letters to customers warning them to raise their payments. Firms must then offer ­alternative ways of repaying more quickly, usually over a period of three to four years. These could include transferring a credit card balance to a personal loan with lower interest.

Rather than taking four years to clear your credit card, you could clear ALL of your debts in just five years. Talk to our friendly advisers who can advise you of all of your options.

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