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How Much Debt Do I Have?

One of the most common questions we hear at Debt Support Trust is, "I don't know how much debt I actually have".  For many people that don't have a debt problem, they may not fully understand how this can occur, but it's actually not surprising.

When the cycle begins and money is borrowed and repaid, there's no concern about the imminent arrival of a creditor statement landing on the doorstep. We know how much money has been borrowed and needs to be repaid. But, when a person becomes overstretched financially or a life changing event occurs, such as separation or loss of a job, it can be difficult to keep track of just how much money has been borrowed.

Being in debt and knowing the level of debt has grown to an unaffordable sum can result in people avoiding opening letters or answering telephone calls from creditors. This only accentuates the problem, but it's the primary reason people don't know how much debt they actually owe.

How to find out your level of debt?

The first step in any process to deal with debt is admitting a problem exists and that a solution is required if you're ever going to be debt free again. Ultimately, an issue with outstanding debts isn't going to disappear and it's best to tackle the predicament head on.

If you have moved property or have not heard from your creditors for some time, then you have two options to find out your level of debt. The first is to contact the creditor and ask for an up to date balance. Most people will find this intimidating, but it's the most accurate way to understand the outstanding debt. The second option is to apply to see your credit file via a credit referencing agency. Most credit referencing agencies will offer you a free trial, however, you'll have to cancel before the end of the trial or you'll be charged monthly for the service. One of our favourite websites is as it allows you to see reports from multiple credit referencing agencies in one place.

Know your debt? Get a Solution

Once you know how much debt you have, then you're in a position to understand what debt solutions are suitable for your circumstances.  Any debt advisor will struggle to give accurate debt advice without knowing how much debt is outstanding.

You may be suitable for a number of different debt solutions. It's the role of the debt advisor to explain every option, detailing the advantages and disadvantages of each solution to empower you to make an informed decision on how to deal with the unsecured debts.

You can speak to a debt advisor in confidence at Debt Support Trust on 0800 085 0226.

Friday, August 19, 2016
Debt Support Trust
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Bankruptcy Moves Online

Changes to the process for people wishing to make themselves bankrupt take effect today for people living in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The changes mean there's no longer a paper application and the fee has been reduced from £705 to £655.

We've outlined the changes so you're fully aware of how to make yourself bankrupt. It's important that prior to submitting an application you seek debt advice to ensure

Application to Enter Bankruptcy

Previously, the cost to enter bankruptcy was £705 and you would have to submit your paper application to the local court. However, from today the process has been simplified and it's completed online.

The fee to proceed has also been reduced to £655 (£130 application fee and £525 for the management fee). You can make instalments online to save for the debt solution.

If you need help and assistance to complete the online bankruptcy forms you can receive guidance from Debt Support Trust on 0800 085 0226.

Before Entering Any Debt Solution

It's important that prior to entering bankruptcy you seek professional debt advice. While this may be the correct debt solution, by seeking debt advice you can fully understand the implications of entering the solution to deal with unsecured debts.

A debt advisor can explain what will happen with any assets you own, what debts can and cannot be included in bankruptcy and if you will be required to make payments into your bankruptcy each month from your disposable income.

Debt Support Trust can give you advice on bankruptcy and other debt solutions on 0800 085 0226.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016
Debt Support Trust
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Getting Debt Advice

Getting debt advice is something people often do once they have exhausted all other options, including borrowing from friends and family and getting further credit.

While entering a debt solution may not always be the best solution, it is always advisable to seek advice to confirm the most suitable route forward.

The most common statement we hear from the people we help at Debt Support Trust is "I feel better after speaking to you" and that applies to people who enter a solution or simply get money advice.

A charity advisor helping you to deal with a debt problem will lift the weight and burden, which will likely have been on your shoulders for a long period of time.

A previous caller to the charity said they were in the process of having their property repossessed, something which could have been resolved with a debt solution 3 months earlier.

When To Get Debt Advice

The ideal time to get debt advice is when someone realises they are going to default on their financial obligations or immediately after. This allows the problem to be resolved quickly and often without the need to enter a debt solution.

The fear of dealing with debt can often be worse than the actual prospect of taking the first step - it's why we often hear "I got the best night's sleep in years after speaking with you". After seeking debt advice people often feel better about their financial situation, which is why we urge people not to deal with debt alone.

Getting debt advice early can help alleviate the stress which can grow and lead to more serious health concerns in the future. Debt Support Trust charity Trustee, Stuart Carmichael said,

"Rarely does anybody WANT to contact Debt Support Trust, they do so because they NEED to. People often worry about their debt problem for a year before taking steps to address the underlying issues. We never judge people and our advice team will give people the options appropriate for each individual person so they can once again be debt free."


Get Debt Advice Today

If you are struggling with a debt problem or think you will soon default on a contractual payment, contact Debt Support Trust on 0800 085 0226. Alternatively you can complete our online debt test.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016
Debt Support Trust
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Is Bankruptcy Right For You?

The majority of people we speak to will often have heard about one or two of the available debt solutions. Yet, there are a variety of different debt solutions which a person could be applicable for and consider. Each debt solution is designed to help resolve outstanding unsecured debts and regain control of personal finances.

For some people, bankruptcy is the only debt solution they are aware of so they believe they may need to enter this solution. However, in many instances bankruptcy isn't suitable and a full review should be completed before debt advice can be provide. Some people are surprised to hear that they actually have two or three different debt solutions which they could enter. So, at Debt Support Trust, we explain what these solutions are along with the positives and negatives of each route.

The consequences of wrongly entering any debt solution can be severe, especially when it's an insolvency solution, such as bankruptcy. While bankruptcy can be the best debt advice to dealing with a debt problem, it will also have a number of other effects on a persons life.

Consequences of Bankruptcy

There are a number of routes to enter bankruptcy and across the UK the process and costs will vary, but they all have the same consequences once it begins.

  • Income Payment Order: When entering bankruptcy you will be asked to provide a statement of affairs. If it's determined by the bankruptcy administrator that you have disposable income to pay towards your debt then you'll need to pay this for 3 years.
  • Assets: Any savings and realisable equity from assets could be sold to release their value, which will be paid towards the debt.

There are other negatives of bankruptcy which would apply, such as a negative credit file. Some employment contracts restrict a person from being made bankrupt and retaining their job, so it's worth checking in advance.

However, for some people the best advice is bankruptcy. The reason is often because they have little or no assets, low levels of income or solely state benefit income and an inability to repay the outstanding debts within a reasonable period of time.

Choosing Your Debt-Free Route

There are other solutions to resolve problematic debts and the correct solution will depend on your personal and financial circumstances. Debt plans like token payments, trust deeds, debt management plans and IVAs are solutions which you may be applicable for.

In a conversation with a Debt Support Trust debt advisor and a person contacting the helpline, the caller believed her only option was bankruptcy, however it was soon clear this would not be the best option for her.

She worked full time, had a property which had accumulated a substantial equity and a disposable income of over £200 per month. While the debt was £35,000, bankruptcy would have meant she would likely lose her property and be asked to repay at least some of the debt from her disposable income.

We considered all available debt solutions and explained what would happen in each debt solution. The caller wanted to retain her house and still pay back her debt. We helped to set up an affordable payment plan and get the debts back under control.

Which Debt Solution?

Before entering any debt solution it's important to speak with a not for profit organisation to give you the best possible debt advice.

They should explain each debt solution you are suitable for along with the benefits and consequences of entering it.

If you are unsure how the solution is run, the associated costs or the impact it could have on you, then seek a second opinion. You can call Debt Support Trust on 0800 085 0226 for debt advice and information about dealing with your debt.

Friday, January 29, 2016
Debt Support Trust
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1 in 4 Cut Spending on Heating and Food To Afford Christmas

Nearly a quarter of Brits have said they would cut their spending on food and heating to afford the cost of Christmas, according to new research.

The report from found 22% of credit card holders said they would spend more than they intended to during Christmas. 13% would cut down on their food expenditure, while 10% would cut down on heating to pay off debt.

Last year saw a record amount spent during "Cyber Week" with consumers spending a total of £3bn during the run up to Christmas. 12% of credit card holders said they would spend more than £1,000 during the festive season, with the average person spending £528.

Stuart Carmichael, Chief Executive of Debt Support Trust said:

"The thought that people will sacrifice food and heating to repay their debt is frightening, even more so as the majority of people contacting Debt Support Trust have children too."

Stuart implored people to seek help,

"There are options available to resolve money worries and people don't have to struggle alone. If credit cards are a problem then a balance transfer could offer time and the affordability needed to resolve the situation."

7% believe they will struggle with their finances during 2016, with 1 in 5 admitting their financial circumstances are worse than in 2014.

The report also highlighted 27% of people would cut down on eating out, 23% on holidays and leisure activities and 7% on using their car.

Credit Transfer Tuesday

New credit card data suggests January could be a record month for balance transfers, following record online sales on Black Friday last month.

The comparison website believes January 12th could see the highest ever number of balance transfers, due to the record spending during Christmas last year.

68% admitted to not balance transferring, with 12% believing it's too complicated, 5% fearing it could damage their credit rating and 7% unaware it was even an option.

Debt Advice After Christmas

While balance transferring can help some people resolve their debt problem, for many people, their financial problems require a more in depth review.

Some people may find they had a debt problem prior to Christmas, which they were only just managing and the cost of the festive period is the final straw.

If someone isn't able to deal with their debt with a single balance transfer, they may require debt advice and/or a debt solution.

For anyone who is unsure about the right solution to dealing with their Christmas debt, it is important to seek debt advice for a full financial review.

If you require debt advice please call Debt Support Trust on 0800 085 0226 or alternatively you complete our online debt test.

Monday, January 11, 2016
Debt Support Trust
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Insolvency Figures Rise For First Time In A Year

Personal insolvency figures have increased for the first time in a year, according to The Insolvency Service.

In the three months to the end of September, 19,683 people across England and Wales were declared insolvent.

While the number of people entering insolvency solutions decreased 18.5% from the same quarter last year, it increased 2.8% from the previous quarter this year.

The increase has been driven by individual voluntary arrangements (IVAs), which was the only insolvency debt solution to increase.

Insolvency Statistics

The insolvency figures produced by The Insolvency Service show:

  • Bankruptcy: 3,857 people entered bankruptcy in the third quarter of 2015, down from 3,987  in Q2 and is the lowest figures for 25 years.
  • Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA): 10,197 people entered an IVA, this was up from 9,333 in the previous quarter.
  • Debt Relief Orders: 5,629 people entered a DRO, down from 5,832 in Q2.

Reason for Bankruptcy Decrease

As unemployment figures decrease it's likely the number of people entering bankruptcy will also fall. If someone has a disposable income they may be more suitable for an IVA, or an informal debt solution, allowing them to repay their debt in an affordable solution.

This would also explain the rise in the number of people entering an IVA, however it could be the figures averaging out over the year.

Stuart Carmichael of Debt Support Trust said:

"While it's positive bankruptcy figures are down, it is concerning that overall insolvency figures have increased. The number of insolvency cases were declining recently and this could be a sign figures are levelling out.

It's important people seek debt advice before proceeding to enter a debt solution."

Bankruptcy Changes

In October there were changes to the traditional bankruptcy debt solution which meant creditors can only apply to make someone bankrupt if they owe £5,000 or more, up from £750.

This is likely to further decrease the number of people entering bankruptcy, as creditor applications may also fall.

Monday, November 02, 2015
Debt Support Trust
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Preparing for Christmas While in Debt

It's almost that magical time of year again but for many people struggling with debt it can be extremely stressful

Christmas is an expensive time of year for everyone but for those with debt problems it can be even harder to manage.

Parents want to give their children the latest toys or gadgets and no one wants to have to explain they can't afford presents due to debt problems.

People who are in a debt solution such as an IVA or Protected Trust Deed in Scotland will have a strict budget which is managed by an insolvency practitioner or trustee.

Christmas With Debt Problems

There are techniques and tips which people can use to make Christmas more affordable.

  • Save: Saving just £10 a month from the start of the year will give people a £120 budget for Christmas. Most people won't notice £10 a month being removed from their budget but it can have a significant impact come the end of the year.
  • Online Discounts: Throughout the year special discounts online will be available from a number of websites. Subscribing to get the latest deals can help people buy presents throughout the year without spending a lot of money.
  • Customise Presents: If someone's budget is extremely tight, making customised presents is probably the least expensive method to managing the cost of Christmas. Creating custom designed cards, glasses or ornaments will show loved one's they still care without having to spend a lot money.

Get Debt Advice

If you're worried about the cost of the upcoming festive period due to debt or money problems speak to Debt Support Trust today.

Entering a debt solution may reduce monthly debt payments and help find additional money for Christmas presents.

You can call Debt Support Trust on 0800 085 0226 or complete our online debt analyser to assess the best way to deal with your debt problem.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015
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Payday Loan Adverts Could Be Restricted

The Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (Bcap), which sets the code of conduct for TV advertising is considering placing restrictions on payday loan advertising.

Bcap said it has begun a consultation process on whether payday loan adverts should have "scheduling restrictions".

The committee said they don't believe any restriction would lead to a loss in revenue for broadcasters.

It's considering whether payday loan companies should be banned from advertising during programs primarily viewed by four- to 15-year-olds or 10- to 15-year-olds.

Although Bcap have said they aren't yet convinced restrictions will be required,

"We believe that there are gaps and inadequacies in the evidence base we have seen. Particularly, that the precise harm that scheduling restriction might help to prevent has not been articulated."

Dangers of Payday Loan Adverts

The concern over payday loan advertising has come due to a number of reviews by Bcap and Children's Society last year.

Children's Society, chief executive, Matthew Reed said:

"We are pleased that regulators appear to be listening to the many parents who share our concerns about the damaging impact of adverts for high-interest loans on their children,"

The concern is that children, who aren't yet old enough to understand the dangerous of payday loans, will grow-up influenced by the adverts.

However according to Ofcom payday loan adverts only account for 0.6% of all commerciasl seen by 4 to 15 year olds. Although the media regulator also found children see 1.3 payday loan adverts per week.

Dealing With Payday Loan Debt

Payday loan debts can be more difficult to resolve because of the interest and charges which are added when a borrower defaults.

Someone with a payday loan debt should seek debt advice quickly, ideally before they default, to help find a solution.

If you or someone you know is struggling with payday loan debts, contact Debt Support Trust 0800 085 0226 or complete our debt analyser.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015
Debt Support Trust
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UK Bankruptcy Changes: Who Will Benefit

New bankruptcy rules are coming into effect from next month which should make it easier for people to enter the debt solution.

The changes to bankruptcy have been introduced to help people on low/no income and with limited assets to declare themselves insolvent.

Bankruptcy Rule Changes

Creditor Petition: Creditors are currently able to apply to the courts to have a person declared bankrupt if they owe a minimum of £750 but that will rise to £5,000.

Debt Relief Order (DRO): A DRO is considered a cheaper route into bankruptcy because it costs £90 to apply for, instead of paying the £705 for government and court administration fees.

The maximum debt allowed to enter a DRO is £15,000 and £300 in assets, but from next month people will be able to apply for a DRO if they owe up to £20,000 and have £1000 in assets.

Who's Most Suitable For Bankruptcy

While anyone can apply to be declared bankrupt through their local country court, it's not always the best debt solution everyone.

It's important to get debt advice before entering any debt solution, especially one as serious as bankruptcy because of the consequences associated with it.

If someone enters bankruptcy with assets they may lose them to recoup money for creditors and if someone is in employment an income payment order may be applied.

Standard Bankruptcy:

The changes will affect who is applicable for bankruptcy and which route into the debt solution is most suitable for them.

Anyone who is unemployed, has debts above £20,000 and who doesn't have sufficient assets which could be realised to pay the debt.


If someone has debts less than £20,000 and assets worth less than £1,000, they may be suitable for a debt relief order. Although it's worth noting if they were working and have a disposable income, they might be better suited to entering an IVA.

Considering Bankruptcy?

If you're considering entering bankruptcy it's crucial to get debt advice before starting the process because you may risk losing income, assets and more.

You can get debt advice from Debt Support Trust on 0800 085 0226.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Debt Support Trust
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Debt Management Company Has Closed

What should you do when your debt management company goes out of business and closes? There has been some debt management providers who no longer provide the service and as such have informed their clients to seek debt advice from a registered charity.

At Debt Support Trust, we've experienced an increase in the number of people contacting our advisors seeking debt help after their debt management company closed. We help people across the whole of the UK. As a registered not for profit charity, Debt Support Trust can help you with debt advice and to enter a suitable debt repayment plan.

We're always happy to help people with debt advice through our registered charity. You can seek debt advice on 0800 085 0226.

Help with Free Debt Management Support

If you've been informed your debt management company is no longer helping people in debt it's vital to get advice.

Your creditors will be informed that your debt management plan has been cancelled and will begin to contact you again. You are able to enter another debt management plan, or your situation may have changed and you could be suitable for another solution.

There are a number of different debt routes to resolve debts and you're not alone.

What Should I Do?

When you're ready, take a positive step and seek advice and support. You can call Debt Support Trust on 0800 085 0226 and speak to a debt advisor between 8am and 7pm Monday to Friday.

You can also take our debt test application and receive online debt help.


After you complete your debt test you will be provided with options to resolve your debts.

If you've lost money because of a debt management company closing and are looking for compensation you should contact the FCA. They will be able to put you in touch with the administrator managing the closure of the firm.

What Will Debt Support Trust Do to Help?

When you contact us for debt help we will listen to your personal and financial situation. Based on your information we will then discuss every applicable debt solution, along with the pros and cons of each option.

As a registered charity we won't send you a bill for our advice, but you'll receive the help and support to get back on track and become debt free.

You can start by completing our debt test, or by calling 0800 085 0226.


Monday, September 21, 2015
Debt Support Trust
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