Other ways to find out about your debts
Check letters and emails from creditors
You should check any letters or emails you have, to see if they have information about what you owe, such as account numbers and balances.
If you’ve changed address and didn’t update your creditors, you could try and find out whether any mail went to your previous address by asking the new occupiers, landlord or agency, or providing them with a forwarding address if possible.
Get in touch with your creditors
If you remember taking out debts to specific creditors, contacting them can be one of the easiest ways to get more information. While contacting creditors can seem a scary prospect, it’ll help you find out more about your debts.
You can also explain to creditors that you’re looking to deal with your debts, and ask them to give you some breathing space, by agreeing to a temporary payment holiday, while you find out more and seek help and advice.
Read our guide to making a budget to show your creditors what you can afford to pay them.
Sometimes debts are passed to debt collection companies, who take over the ownership of the debt from the original creditor. However the original creditor should have a record of this and will be able to provide you details of who the debt is now with.
Check your bank account statements
Most payments for debts are taken from your bank account either by direct debit, standing order or using your debit card. If you use online banking or have copies of old statements you can check these, or ask your bank for help. A good place to search is the list of cancelled direct debits, as this might contain useful information.
Banks may only show recent statements in your online banking account, and may charge for copies of older statements.
Find HMRC, council tax, CSA and benefit overpayment debts
To help you find debts owed to government departments or agencies such as HMRC (His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs), local authorities and the Child Support Agency (CSA), you’ll need to get in touch with the right agency or department. We’ve listed some useful contacts here:
Read our guide to dealing with council tax arrears.
Should I wait for creditors to contact me about what I owe?
If you can’t find any information about your debts from your credit file, letters, correspondence, or bank statements then your only option is to wait for creditors contact you.
Creditors will use your last known address or the address on your credit file to find you, so keep these updated. Specialist tracing agents can also be employed by debt collection agencies or creditors to find you.
Some people deliberately avoid repaying debts or contacting creditors, in the hope that either the debts go away or creditors give up. This is almost guaranteed to make your situation worse as it risks further court action against, and the balances of the debts could keep going up.
We’d only suggest waiting for creditors to contact you as a last resort.