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Persistent debt

Support for getting out of persistent debt on your credit card

What is persistent debt?

Persistent debt is where you pay more in interest, fees and charges over an 18-month period than you do towards the amount you’ve borrowed on your credit card. This can happen if you’ve been making minimum or low monthly payments over a long period of time. This means it will take you longer to repay what you owe and cost you more in interest.

How will I know if I'm in persistent debt?

We’ll get in contact by post to let you know. The letter will provide you with information about persistent debt and about how you could save money on interest by paying a bit more each month. We’ll also tell you about an alternative payment amount that we’ll show on your monthly statement which, if paid over the next 18 months, would take you out of persistent debt.

What happens if I stay in persistent debt?

If you’re still in persistent debt after another 18 months, we’ll write to you and explain your options.

This will include the option to move onto a paydown plan. This is where your monthly payment would change to the amount you’d need to pay to clear your balance over 3 or 4 years. This means you’d pay less interest and pay your balance off more quickly.

If you don’t get in contact with us, we may suspend your card to prevent you from increasing the balance further.

How much should I pay?

If we’ve contacted you about being in persistent debt, we’ll be showing a ‘voluntary payment’ option on your monthly statement over the next 18 months. Paying this amount every month will ensure you’re no longer in persistent debt when we reassess your account at the end of that period. You should always think about what you can afford, but it’s one way to make sure you’re paying as much towards the rest of your balance as you are towards the interest and charges on your statement.

Fixing your payment could be another option if you want to budget for the same amount each month. To see how long it would could take to repay your balance by making fixed monthly payments, and how much interest you’d pay, take a look at our repayment calculator.

Please make sure you can afford any increases before you change your monthly payments. If you're experiencing financial difficulties and would like to talk to us about your overall lending requirements, please get in touch as we want to help.

What can I do to get out of persistent debt?

If we’ve contacted you about being in persistent debt, then you’ll be able to get out of this situation by repaying more of the amount you’ve borrowed on your card than you pay in interest or charges over the following 18 months. Here’s few options which could help:


This will give you a good idea of what income and outgoings you have, and you’ll be able to review an increase to your current monthly payments accordingly.


If you're able to begin making fixed monthly payments instead of the minimum amount, you could pay off your balance more quickly, and pay less interest.

Find out more about amending the amount you’re paying.


When you have some extra cash at the end of the month, consider using it to make an additional payment to your credit card to bring the balance down further.

How could increasing your monthly payments make a difference?

The amount you pay each month affects the time it takes to clear your balance and the amount of interest you pay overall. Fixing your monthly payment helps reduce your balance faster.

So, if you had a balance of £5,000 at a single fixed rate of 21.9% per year, and you paid the minimum payment of £134 (reducing each month as the balance is repaid), it would take you over 32 years to pay off the balance, at a cost of £8,117 in interest. However, if you fixed your monthly payment at £154, you'd pay off the balance in just 4 years, paying only £2,252 interest.

Explore how long it'll take you to repay your balance and how much you could save by paying a bit more using our repayment calculator.

I’m worried about being in persistent debt

We understand that everyone’s circumstances are different. If you’ve any concerns, please get in touch with us.

Call us on 0800 028 7183

Lines open:

  • Monday to Friday 08:00 to 18:00
  • Saturday – 08:00 to 16:00

Please note, lines will not be open on public holidays.

If you’d prefer to get independent advice, you could try these free services:

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