Step Change helped me deal with my debts


StepChange Staff Whiteboard Photo1I have never really had a problem with debt, maybe one credit card, a store card here and there. I’ve always felt like I have been in control of my financial situation. However, after my partner and I separated I found myself without a job and having to manage a house and children on my own, this was a very different situation.

The monthly outgoings that were once shared between joint income suddenly became unmanageable and quite far fetched. I had no idea that when it came down to it repayments on the kitchen and the boiler along with other credit cards over the years came to £9,000.

Realising I needed a radical turn around in outgoings I called all the energy providers and managed to reduce my monthly payments quite significantly and cancelled direct debits I’d been paying without know why. I applied for all the means tested benefits, but that still didn’t sort out the monthly credit cards and loans.

Debt Awareness Week logoI had heard of the Consumer Credit Counselling service which is a charity that helps people manage their debt and offer free advice. I looked it up and noticed they’d changed to Step Change – exactly the same charity but with a different name. I had a look through the website and took an online test but realised most of the questions they asked me mentioned CCJ’s (County Court Judgements) and others bigger debt problems. I thought I’m not at that stage yet, but soon could be. I worried whether they would only help people at crisis point? What about preventative help? I called them up and spoke to an operator who took my details and transferred me to a financial advisor.

I soon discovered I was eligible for a debt management plan, whereby the charity pays off your lenders directly and then you pay the charity each month. It’s going to take 4 years to pay off the whole lot, but compared to just one of my loans which two years on is more that the original amount taken out isn’t such a bad thing.

They make the application as pain free as possible, sending you a breakdown in instructions. Even the process of proof of identity is accepted by snapping a document of income/benefits in your own home and emailing it. They ask that you change your bank account back to a basic one and cancel all direct debit payments to the lenders. Also, I can’t use any of my credit cards anymore or apply for, but then no pain no gain – or loss in this case.

Step Change logoYou can call Step Change on 0800 138 1111 Freephone – including all mobiles,   Mon-Fri 8am-8pm; Sat 8am-4pm.


This article was written by Name Withheld using our Community Reporters website