Leading debt charity warns credit card users to seek advice with bills

Advice NI’s Debt service, Debt Action NI has said it is deeply worried about the level of credit card debt being accrued across Northern Ireland, and advised people to seek help to get their debt under control.  The service has helped over 4,000 people who are struggling with credit card debt, which is an average debt of nearly £7,800 per client, and dealt with £33.9 million of credit card debt in Northern Ireland since August 2012.

Many are still struggling as credit card bills hit the letterboxes, the reality hits that many people will have overspent on their credit card over the Christmas, and will struggle to meet their minimum payments.  Typically credit cards have relatively high interest rates, often in excess of 17% APR, so if they are not paid in full each month interest and charges can quickly spiral out of control.

Debt Action NI assists clients throughout the year who are using credit cards to pay for essentials such as fuel, food and childcare.  Worryingly, we also see people who are still dealing with debts from last Christmas.  Credit card debt is consistently in the top 3 debts which we deal with and we would urge people to seek help if they are unable to meet their payments.

If you are struggling with debt you can contact Debt Action NI by calling the Freephone helpline on 0800 917 4607 to speak directly to an adviser between 8am and 9pm Monday – Friday, and 9am -3pm on a Saturday or you can text the word “Action” to 81025 and an adviser will call you back. You can browse the dedicated website, where you can chat to a virtual adviser or use an online budgeting tool. You can also find a list of the contact details and location of advisers in your local area on the website.