I recently discovered a charity called stepchange through a friend. She was in serious financial difficulty after loosing her job.
Like many people she was in debt with constant phone calls and letters from banks, kept missing payments which caused various other charges to be applied on top.
It was impossible for her to match the charges, let alone repayments. Something had to be done and she received valuable advice from Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert after sending a direct message to him on their forums.
He pointed her in the direction of stepchange.org (formerly consumer credit counceling service – CCCS) and thanks to them, she has managed to reduce her debts considerably and will be soon debt free.
The charity does an amazing job. If you are struggling to meet repayments, it is well worth a visit, the site offers great advice on dealing with banks, how to deal with threats and the debt collectors.
However, their main task is helping you sort your debts out. They will help you work out how much money you have coming each week, how much you spend on essentials such as bills etc, and then draw up an action plan based on what you tell them. Once this is done, they will break down your debts in order of importance.
You will then be told an amount you can afford to repay each month, this is usually negiotiable if you feel it is too much to part with.
Once you have an agreed amount, stepchange will write to all your creditors on your behalf and make them an offer. Almost all creditors will accept reduced payments and freeze any interest and charges as long as you keep to your scheduled repayments.
You pay a lump sum to stepchange each month, and they divide it up and send it out on your behalf.
Beware of other debt management companies who claim to do the same thing, you have to pay them a rather hefty fee and they do exactly the same as stepchange, except most of your money goes to the company managing your debt to line their profits.
Stepchange is a leading charity and is recommended by all the major banks and financial institution.
If you’re curious, want advice or interested in managing your debts, visit their comprehensive yet easy to understand website at www.stepchange.org