With the cost of living crisis continuing its upward spiral across the country, many are finding themselves in a position where paying for necessities like food, rent and utilities is becoming increasingly difficult. Left with few other solutions, a vast amount of people have turned to credit in order to make ends meet, with the current financial situation putting pressure on many households to borrow beyond their means.
Sources show that debt issues are on the rise
It’s become clear that more people are seeking help with debt issues. Over the past year, Google searches for debt-related terms have increased at a notable scale. Searches for ‘debt consolidation loan’ are up 124% compared to the previous year, and searches for ‘debt management plan’ are up by 22%.*
In The Insolvency Service’s latest quarterly data, which was released on 28th October 2022, it was reported that the total number of insolvencies in England and Wales so far this year is 8% higher than in the same period in 2021, with a similar trend seen in Scotland.
Breathing Space, a debt respite initiative, has seen 18,347 registrations in Q3 2022, which is an 18% increase from Q3 2021, shown within The Insolvency Service’s data. Google searches for ‘breathing space scheme’ have also risen in the past year, more than doubling at 126%.
These stats clearly show that problems with debt are on the rise, so it’s more important than ever that people are properly informed about how they can manage their debt, and what resources are available to provide support.
What options are available?
Many people in severe debt assume that bankruptcy is the best way out, but there are several other options that may be more suitable, depending on their individual circumstances. There are a variety of charities, organisations and companies that can provide support and make debt more manageable, while trying to minimise the impact on an individual’s credit score in the future.
Having a wide variety of options available for advice, guidance and support with debt is extremely valuable, however, a Google search for ‘help with debt’ returns 917 million results, so it can be easy to become overwhelmed. Organisations that offer debt management are able to give advice on the best debt management options for each individual situation, but selecting the right organisation to seek help from is equally as important as the solution itself.
There are free resources available from Citizens Advice, as well as the Government’s Money Helper, which provides a list of free online debt advisors. Anybody who believes they need third-party help with debt management should do their research to ensure they are selecting a reputable and trustworthy provider with a good customer service track record.
The debt management provider should be understanding and non-judgemental, knowledgeable and transparent, being open with individuals about the implications of each debt solution. One of the best ways to find the most suitable company is by checking genuine customer reviews.
Smart Money People is an independent review site that allows members of the general public to rate their experience with financial providers. Currently, there are over 24,000 reviews for various debt solutions on the site, all from UK adults with first-hand experience with these debt management services. Below are the top four organisations that have received the most reviews on Smart Money People, along with their average rating, which is out of 5. A closer look at the reviews gives a better idea of what these companies have done to support those struggling with debt.
- PayPlan has 15,932 reviews and a rating of 4.94
- StepChange has 6,648 reviews and a rating of 4.97
- CreditFix has 784 reviews and a rating of 4.86
- Back2Credit has 567 reviews and a rating of 4.91
Get help today
Those struggling with debt, should not be afraid to reach out. Unfortunately, many people put off seeking help with debt issues due to feelings of embarrassment or being overwhelmed. The earlier assistance is sought, the easier it is to begin the journey to getting in control of your debt.
Jacqueline Dewey is CEO of Smart Money People, the UK’s dedicated financial services review site.
*All Google search data was extracted using Keyword Tool.