Where do you start?
One of the most difficult aspects of falling into debt is knowing where to turn for advice.
Of course, there is no shortage of advice on the internet; from well-meant posts on forums, to the sites telling you why your previous loans were bad, but simultaneously trying to sign you up to ‘consolidate your debt in one easy monthly payment’.
But how much can you trust those sites? Probably not very much.
Also, things can get more tricky finding out which advice applies in Scotland and which doesn’t.
We’ve asked some debt experts for the best places to go online for advice on dealing with debt, and they recommended the following sources.
National Debtline Scotland is supported by the Scottish Government, and provides advice and support before and after falling into debt.
There are lots of excellent resources available, as well as self-help packs (which you can order free of charge) and factsheets, which can help you understand how to prioritise debts, or deal with particular situations such as avoiding debt at Christmas.
Call them for free on 0808 808 4000
Mon - Fri 9am - 9pm, and Sat 9.30am to 1pm.
Don’t want to talk to someone? you can email instead.
Money Advice Service
The Money Advice Service was set up in 2010 by the UK Government, and offers independent advice all things money related.
They have some really detailed and helpful factsheets on financial products and circumstances, including on credit unions, which I talk more about below, as well as a ‘Tools and Resources’ section. This includes letter templates for lodging complaints, calculators for calculating repayments, and a budget planner.
You can contact them for more tailored advice on 0300 500 5000, Mon – Fri 8am – 8pm, and Sat 9am – 1pm.
An Executive Agency of the Scottish Government, AiB operates independently and impartially, whilst remaining directly accountable to Scottish Ministers.
One of their main functions is debt relief and debt management, and they have lots of good advice around bankruptcy on Low Income Low Asset (LILA), the Debt Arrangement Scheme and Trust Deeds.
Call them on 0300 200 2600
They can help with:
- a bankruptcy or bankruptcy application, a Protected Trust Deed or the Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS);
- ordering a publication or a discharge certificate;
- if you want to speak to someone in a specific AiB team; or
- if you are looking for information on the bankruptcy process or are unsure of who to speak to.
Credit Unions are becoming an increasingly popular solution to a crisis in confidence in modern banking that politicians and bankers themselves have failed to resolve.
They are usually set up by people who share a common interest, usually in a community, which offers a range of financial products – for savers and borrowers. Therefore they are run by, and for, their members. This means they are not run in the interest of profits, but money made is used to reward members and improve services.
If you want to know more about the work of credit unions or to find one near you, visit the Association of British Credit Unions Limited.
More details about credit unions are available on our page here.