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Do’s and Don’ts

If you think you are experiencing financial hardship, here is a list of things you should and should not do.

Do

  1. Do get in touch with your bank first

    Banks all have specialist teams to help you if you’ve got financial problems. The phone numbers are on this website.

  2. Do work out a budget

    Sitting down and assessing your income and expenses can really help you find out where you can cut back on things.

  3. Do consider when you think your situation will improve

    Once you have made a budget, think about HOW your bank could help you. If you can show that you’ve thought through your issues, your bank will be ready to listen.

  4. Do think about your specific circumstances

    If your circumstances have changed, due to illness, loss of income or relationship breakdown, you can ask your bank about hardship assistance. However, you may also have to think about other arrangements or options – when you contact your bank, make sure you give them ALL the facts.

  5. Do be honest with yourself and your bank.

    Financial problems can be tough to solve – generally things that have taken a while to build up, will take a while to solve. Banks WILL try and help you.

  6. Do think about your products.

    Understanding how best to use your financial and credit products will help you better manage your money and debts – When you contact your bank, make sure you think about whether you have the right accounts and products for your current situation.

  7. Do remember that your bank will give genuine consideration to your situation

    It’s in nobody’s interests to see you struggle financially. If they can help you back on track, banks will assess your situation, and put in place a plan.

Don't

  1. Don't panic.

    Sounds easy, but it can be hard NOT to panic. Stay calm! A systematic approach will help solve the problem in the long-run.

  2. Don't ignore letters of demand, default notices or statements of claim

    We would all rather not have those letters, but ignoring them will not make them go away. Bottom line: The sooner you respond, the quicker your situation can be resolved.

  3. Don't use short term money-lenders to pay your bills.

    These lenders will almost certainly charge higher interest rates than your bank or other mainstream lenders, and end up costing you more money you don’t have.

  4. Don't feel at all uncomfortable talking to banks staff in your banks’ financial hardship team or a financial counsellor.

    Remember: These people are specially trained and employed to help people just like you.

  5. Don't be confrontational when talking to your bank

    Yes, it can be time-consuming and frustrating talking about these things to a stranger... so take a deep breath, and take your time to explain things thoroughly. A constructive approach will help solve the problem in the long-run.

  6. Don't be inflexible

    You may need to think 'outside the box' in order to get your finances in order. And the more willing you are to attempt alternative arrangements, the more likely your bank will be to offer them. A free and independent financial counsellor can help talk you through your options.

  7. Don't give up…

    It’s sometimes tempting to think ‘stuff it’ and give in to debt, financial difficulties, and financial problems. Don’t do it! Being financially stable and self-sufficient is one of the best feelings there is.