Financial difficulties

Many people experience money problems at some stage of their lives.

There can be many reasons for this such as the breakdown of a relationship or long term illness. Sometimes people simply spend too much then find it hard to manage when an unexpected expense crops up.

Please don't be tempted to ignore the problem and hope it just goes away - it won't!  The sooner you start to take steps to sort things out, the easier it is to remove the pressures of being in debt.

How do I know if I have a problem?

Be honest with yourself. If one or more of the following warning signs apply to you, then you should consider taking some action:

  • Do you just pay the minimum payment on your credit card, month after month?
  • Do you need to borrow from friends or family?
  • Are you borrowing more, or using cash advances from credit cards, to pay existing debts
  • Do you put off opening bills, or letters from banks and other lenders?
  • Are you paying bank account charges because of bounced cheques or unpaid bills?
  • Do you pay for grocery or utility bills by credit card without clearing the balance each month?
  • Do you use credit card cheques to pay regular bills such as your mortgage?

How do I start to get things under control?

Spend some time working out your own personal budget plan - make a note of all your financial commitments, not just the obvious mortgage and loan payments, but other payments such as gym fees, bills, petrol, council tax, internet and satellite TV packages, pension contributions, etc. Total those and subtract them from your total monthly income to determine your available budget.

Be realistic with the figures, otherwise you could set a budget plan you can't stick to.

  • Use our interactive budget calculator to list your monthly income and outgoings. You’ll then be able to see where you are with your money
  • Review what you spend on non-essential items. Cut back on them until your finances are under control
  • Consider your priority debts first, where failure to pay could have serious consequences. For example, Council Tax, Rent arrears, Mortgage arrears and outstanding fines
  • Check what rates of interest you pay on your debts. Many lenders offer 0% introductory rates so you could save money by transferring your balance to a lower rate. Try to pay the most expensive first
  • Could you possibly increase your income? For example take a temporary second job, or look at any benefits you may be entitled to
  • If your budget planning shows your outgoings exceed, or are close to your income, seek advice on how to approach creditors with a view to reaching a payment arrangement

Our Money Management Team (see the number below) can help you work out what you can afford to pay, and give information on how to approach your other creditors.

If you haven't already done so, you could register for our Internet Banking service. This will give you constant visibility of your finances, allowing you to check your balances, see what's come in and gone out, and send payments at a time that's most suitable for you.

Potential options:

The legal options available for you to consider should things become too difficult to sort out on your own depend on where within the UK you live.

Options in Scotland (including Halifax customers resident in Scotland):

Call our Money Management team (number below) for information on:

  • Trust Deeds
  • Sequestration (Bankruptcy)
  • Debt Arrangement Scheme

For more information on these options, see the Money Management options (Scotland) page.

Options in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (including resident Bank of Scotland customers):

Call our Money Management team (number below) for information on:

  • Temporary Repayment Plans
  • Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA)
  • Bankruptcy

For more information on these options, see the Money Management options (England, Wales & N.Ireland) page.

Useful Contacts

Always think carefully about your situation and the options available to you - don't make any rash decisions.  The teams and organisations below will be able to help with any questions and suggest a suitable course of action.