Your feedback is essential to help us improve - click here to take our 3 minute survey.

Just 8% of Brits have been consolidating their debts. Here’s why more should consider it!

Just 8% of Brits have been consolidating their debts. Here’s why more should consider it!
Image source: Getty Images


The amount of outstanding debt you have may not affect your credit score, but your ability to pay it off does. Unfortunately, the pandemic affected many households’ ability to pay off their debts, especially those with children.

CompareTheMarket conducted research that revealed a third of families are still struggling to pay off outstanding debt incurred since the lockdowns began. Many UK households have also reported outstanding debt of between £9,500 and £12,000, without mortgage repayments.

What can you do to pay off your debt on time? Here’s how consolidating your debts could help.

What is debt consolidation?

Debt consolidation means taking out one new loan at a lower interest rate to pay off the combined amount owed on various smaller loans. It’s not always as straightforward as it sounds. You may need to speak to a debt specialist for personalised assistance to find out whether your unique situation qualifies for debt consolidation and to avoid mistakes.

Should I consolidate my debts?

If you’re eligible, it could be a good option. It’s important to first check whether you have a bad credit score because you may not qualify for debt consolidation if you do.

Additionally, the options available when you have a bad credit score may not be that attractive. You may not be eligible for low interest rates and might be required to take out a secured loan against your home as collateral.

It’s also important to check what fees might apply to consolidate your debts. Sometimes the cost of consolidating might not be worth it. That’s why consulting a financial adviser is a good idea if you’re not sure where to start.

However, if you have a good credit score and are eligible, consolidating your debt can offer significant benefits. You can simplify your finances since you no longer have to worry about multiple due dates. You can also enjoy a lower interest rate, making it comfortable for you to make monthly repayments. All you need to do is make a budget to avoid falling behind with your consolidation loan.

What if consolidating your debts isn’t right for you?

There are two other things you can do if consolidating your debt doesn’t seem to be the right solution for your circumstances.

1. Seek financial support

CompareTheMarket’s research revealed that 60% of those struggling to pay off outstanding debt are struggling in silence.

The study showed that many people stacked up debts during the lockdowns. As a result, 27% of UK households sold unused and unwanted items to help pay off some debt, 26% put off large purchases and 24% had to pay off debts with savings.

If you’re struggling, check whether you’re eligible for financial support. An excellent place to start is contacting debt charities, Citizens Advice, and looking into the government’s new Household Support Fund. You can also find out about your eligibility for Universal Credit and other benefits.

2. Switch utility providers

Have you considered comparing household service providers for better deals? It’s worth finding out whether you can cut down your monthly outgoings by switching utility providers to find a cheaper tarriff. This can help free up funds for you to pay off your debt. It might look like a small step in the short term, but you’ll definitely save a lot in the long run.

Pay 0% interest on new purchases and balance transfers for 22 months – and earn reward points every time you shop!

The M&S Shopping Plus Credit Card* offers shoppers a 22-month 0% interest period on both new purchases and balance transfers. Not only that but you can also earn retail reward points every time you spend – whether in store at M&S, or elsewhere.  21.9% representative APR (variable)

*Affiliate Partner.

Was this article helpful?
YesNo

Some offers on The Motley Fool UK site are from our partners — it’s how we make money and keep this site going. But does that impact our ratings? Nope. Our commitment is to you. If a product isn’t any good, our rating will reflect that, or we won’t list it at all. Also, while we aim to feature the best products available, we do not review every product on the market. Learn more here. The statements above are The Motley Fool’s alone and have not been provided or endorsed by bank advertisers. John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Barclays, Hargreaves Lansdown, HSBC Holdings, Lloyds Banking Group, Mastercard, and Tesco.