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Can you ask the people you owe to stop interest and charges?

i This advice applies across the UK

Have you missed payments on your debt? Or are you finding it hard to keep on top of your payments? The people you owe may agree to stop interest and charges for an agreed length of time. This can help you clear your debts and get back on track.

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Does a creditor have to stop interest and charges?

There are many important codes of practice in the credit industry. These say that creditors should look at stopping or lowering charges and interest on a debt if you tell them you are in financial difficulty.

The majority of large UK consumer credit lenders and debt collectors are signed up to one of these codes, or something similar. These include:

If you are in financial difficulty, it is unusual for a creditor to continue adding interest over a long period. If you have arrears on your account, eventually it may default.

If this happens, the creditor is likely to pass the debt to a collection agency. It is rare for interest and charges to continue after this point.

If you:

  • Are finding it hard to pay, and
  • Want a creditor to stop interest and charges

You will need to let them know about your situation. It is likely they will want to know more about:

  • What money you have coming in
  • What you pay out to live on 
  • Any other money you owe 

We can help you with this. Take two minutes to answer a few simple questions, so we can understand the right way to help you.

Are the interest and charges added to my debt fair?

Interest and charges can only be added to your debt if they are shown in the credit agreement you signed when you took out the debt.

But the following could be classed as unfair. If a creditor does any of these you should consider making a complaint:

  • Increasing the rate of interest because you have missed payments
  • Continuing to add interest and charges if you are in financial difficulties, making the debt increase
  • Adding charges for actions the creditor has not done. For example, ‘legal costs’ or ‘solicitors fees’ when no legal action has been taken
  • Adding charges which are more than the actual cost to the creditor. Such as adding a charge of £100 for sending a letter. This would be unfair because that is a lot more than the cost to the creditor

Can you help me get interest and charges stopped?

Your creditors are more likely to stop or reduce interest and charges if you can prove you are in financial difficulty. We can help you make a budget which will show what you can afford to pay to your debts.

Some debt solutions will stop interest and charges. For example:

If one of these is identified as the best way to deal with your debt, we can help you to set it up.

Other debt solutions such as a debt management plan (DMP) do not make your creditors to stop interest and charges. If we help you set up a DMP, we will always ask your creditors to do this. But there is no guarantee they will agree.

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