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Joint debts

What are joint debts?

When you borrow money or enter into a financial agreement with someone else, such as your partner, you take out a joint debt. There are different types of joint debts, such loans, credit agreements and bank accounts.

When you take out a joint debt, you and the other person both become responsible for the whole amount, not just your own share or ‘half’. If one of you can’t or won’t pay, you’re both liable for the full debt no matter which one of you spent the money. This is known as ‘joint and several liability’.

If you've been left with a joint debt to pay and can't afford it, we can help you with expert debt advice to help you manage the situation.

One type of debt that people sometimes think is in joint names is credit card debt. While joint credit cards do exist in other countries, these aren’t available in the UK. Credit card agreements always have a primary cardholder who is responsible for repaying all debts, even if they come from an additional authorised cardholder.

Joint and several liability can also apply to other debts, including household bills such as rent, mortgage, council tax, water charges and utility bills.

Need debt help?

If you need help with any joint debts, we can help. Use our online debt advice tool which can help you put together a budget and offer practical advice on dealing with your debts.

Or, if you'd prefer, you can also call us and talk to one of our advisors (free from all landlines and mobiles).

Helping you become debt free...

“I wish to thank your staff for all the great help they gave me when I was in so much debt.
They were a pillar of support to me.” (Leslie, Essex)

Foundation for Credit Counselling Wade House, Merrion Centre, Leeds, LS2 8NG trading as StepChange Debt Charity and StepChange Debt Charity Scotland. A registered charity no.1016630 and SC046263. It is a limited company registered in England and Wales (company no:2757055). Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

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© StepChange Debt Charity 2019