Debt Articles and Information
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Over-spending and high borrowings can be a big problem, as the latest Personal Credit Index survey from CreditExpert.co.uk recently found. Around 25 per cent of couples argue about finances and one in 20 split up after rows about money. Jim Hodgkins, managing director of CreditExpert.co.uk answers some of the most common financial worries.
I owe money to several credit and loan companies. If I get a £20,000 loan, I could pay them off and save hundreds of pounds a month but I can’t because I have a poor credit history. What can I do?
First, check that your credit report is up-to-date and accurately reflects your circumstances.
Your credit report is the personal history of all the credit you have taken out, such as credit cards, loans and mortgages, plus your repayment record and further information ranging from court judgements against you to your registration to vote. It is held securely by credit reference agencies who receive the information from lenders and public sources, such as the electoral roll and court records.
If you disagree with anything in the report, contact the lender who lodged the information or the relevant court and explain your objection, providing documentary proof if possible. If they agree with you, your credit report will be amended.
If you see entries referring to credit you have not taken out, you could be a victim of identity fraud. Contact the lender and provide proof that they are nothing to do with you.
Equally, if there are special circumstances surrounding an entry, you can add an explanation for example, you might have missed some repayments because of illness. Lenders will see this and may take it into account in future.
Finally, if you are not registered to vote at your current address, do it now. Lenders use the electoral roll to verify your identity and address, as a precaution against fraud.
My unsecured debts have spiralled to tens of thousands of pounds and it will take me decades to pay them off on my salary. I can’t afford an Individual Voluntary Arrangement and bankruptcy will mean the end of my job. What can I do?
Speak to a specialist organisations that helps with debt problems.
Citizen’s Advice Bureaux has a long history of community help. There are 462 member bureaux, each a separate registered charity, with around 3,000 premises and more than 20,000 trained volunteers so one will be near you. www.citizensadvice.org.uk gives a list of local offices, while www.adviceguide.org.uk provides advice and more contacts.
National Debtline is a telephone hotline a charity that is part of the Money Advice Trust and specialises in helping people to resolve their debt problems. You can contact them on 0808 808 4000. They also offer advice, fact sheets and budget plans on their website at www.nationaldebtline.co.uk.
The Consumer Credit Counselling Service, www.cccs.co.uk, is one of the leading debt management charities. It also provides useful budgeting advice. You can call them on 0800 138 1111.
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