Persistent Debt – what does it mean and how does it affect you?
Last year the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) introduced new regulation to help credit card customers avoid long term debt. They stated that any credit card customer who has been paying more in interest, fees and charges than they have towards repaying their account balance for 18 months or more, is classed as being in ‘Persistent Debt’.
How do I know if I’m in Persistent Debt?
We’ll let you know if your account is in Persistent Debt by sending you a letter setting out the options available to help move your account out of Persistent Debt. As a rule of thumb, if you are not on a 0% interest rate and have only been paying the minimum payments or thereabouts each month, for 18 months or more, you are likely to be in Persistent Debt.
What do I need to do to get my account out of Persistent Debt?
When you receive the first Persistent Debt letter from us, we’ll recommend you increase your monthly payments to at least double your interest, fees and charges. If you don’t make this increase until later, you will need to pay more to make up the shortfall. You can find the interest, fees and charges on your monthly statements. The amount you need to pay in order to come out of Persistent Debt will be more than the minimum repayment due on your account.
If you would like us to help you work out how much to repay monthly on your particular card balance, please contact us on 0345 835 9560*. We’d be happy to go through it with you and discuss what is affordable for you.
The easiest way to ensure you’re paying enough each month is to set up a fixed Direct Debit. If you already have a Direct Debit set up, you can increase it.
If your account stays in Persistent Debt for a further 18 months, your credit card may be suspended, which means you won’t be able to use your card. If this happens, we’ll support you to pay off your remaining balance within 4 years, or earlier if you can afford it.
By paying more each month, you could reduce your credit card balance quicker and move your account out of Persistent Debt. You could also save yourself money because you’ll pay less interest over time.
There is a handy online tool that can help you see the cost of your credit card over time and how to reduce it; available at www.cardcosts.org.uk
So, if you’d like to continue using your card, it’s really important that you increase your payments.
Remember, we’re here to help you, so if you need any help or advice please contact us.
Where can I go for more help?
If you feel you need some extra help to understand what this means for you, please call us on 0345 835 9560* in the first instance.