Persistent debt

It takes longer to pay off your credit card if you make minimum or low payments. You could end up paying more in interest, fees and charges than you pay off your balance. If that happens for 18 months or more, it's called persistent debt. It's an expensive way to borrow money. It can also mean that you're more likely to get into difficulty with debt.

For example

Imagine that your balance is £3,000, your interest rate is 17.9% and you have a late payment fee of £12. Your minimum payment is £72. Only £30 of that minimum payment reduces your balance. The remaining £42 pays your interest and late payment fee. So, you're paying more in interest and charges than you’re paying off your balance.

If you're in persistent debt, we'll write to you to let you know.

How to get out of persistent debt

To get out of persistent debt you need to pay more off your balance each month than you pay in interest, fees and charges. There’s more than one way to do this. The best way for you will depend on your situation.

Make additional payments

You can make a payment to your credit card at any time. If you find yourself with a little cash to spare, why not use it to reduce your credit card balance? Additional payments will help you avoid remaining in persistent debt, and bring down your balance faster. Find the details to make additional payments below.

Use your savings to bring down your balance

If you have savings, consider using some of that money to bring down your credit card balance. You’ll be paying more in interest on your credit card, than you’ll be earning on your savings. So, bringing down your credit card balance will save you money in the long run.

Pay a fixed amount each month instead of the minimum payment

If you don't plan to spend any more on your card, think about changing to a fixed payment. It doesn't have to make a big difference to your monthly outgoings and could save you a lot.

For a card with a balance of £3,000 and a rate of 17.9% If you make your minimum payment If you make a fixed payment If you make a bigger fixed payment
Monthly payment Starts at £72, and reduces each month as the balance decreases Fixed at £72 every month £100
Time to pay off your balance 14 years and 1 month 5 years and 3 months 3 years and 4 months
How much you’ll pay in interest £3,227 £1,499 £901
How much money you’ll save n/a £1,728 £2,326

To work out the right numbers for your card, try (This link will open in a new window). It's a free calculator which can help you work out how much to pay. You'll need to know your card's minimum payment rules to use it.

It's best to pay off as much as you can afford. If you'd like some help budgeting, try our budget calculator. We're also happy to help over the phone or in branch (This link will open in a new window).

How to make payments to your card

If you bank with us, it’s easy to make a payment to your credit card in our Banking app or internet Bank.

All you need to do is select your current account and make a transfer to your credit card.

If you bank with another provider, you'll need these details to make a transfer:

Sort code: 073012

Account number: 00001604, and

The 16-digit number on the front of your credit card (to use as your reference)

If you pay by direct debit you can increase your payment in the Internet Bank (This link will open in a new window), or by giving us a call. You can call us to set up a new direct debit, too.

What happens if you stay in persistent debt

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have introduced new rules to help people in persistent debt. As part of these rules, you can't be in persistent debt for more than 36 months in a row. If it gets to that point, we'll need to increase your minimum payment so that you pay more off your balance. If you don't meet your new minimum payment, it could affect your credit score. We may also suspend your card, so that it can't be used to increase your balance.

You’ll never have to guess whether you’re in persistent debt. We’ll write to you at the 18-month point (when it officially becomes persistent debt). And we’ll write to you again 9 months later, to let you know if the changes are working. If you’re still in persistent debt at that point, you’ll have further 9 months to make changes to how you repay your card.

What to do if you're worried about money

We understand that it's not always as easy as paying a bit more. If you can't afford to increase your payments then get in touch. We'll do all we can to help.

If you'd prefer some help from an independent organisation, try these free services: