Persistent Debt

Find out more about persistent debt and how it impacts you

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 the 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.
Rules were introduced by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to help credit card customers in this situation avoid long term debt. 

How do I know if my account's in persistent debt?

We'll be in touch by post to let you know. The letter will provide you with information about persistent debt and how you could save money on interest by paying a bit more each month. You'll also see a ‘voluntary payment' option on your monthly statement if you're in persistent debt. This is a suggestion on how much to pay to get your account out of persistent debt if you can afford to.

What can I do to get out of persistent debt?

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

  • Complete a budget planner
  • Pay more than the minimum amount or make additional payments where possible, see the different ways to pay

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 at this point, 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.

A good way to explore what a difference increasing your monthly payments could make to the time it takes to repay your existing balance and the interest you'll have to pay is by using a repayment calculator like the one StepChange have available. It's important to remember that the calculator won't take into account any further spending on your card. So you'll need to factor that in when deciding what you can afford to increase your payments to.
There are different ways to change the way you pay to get yourself out of persistent debt. For other options, see our FAQ's.

Want to know more?

You can find more information and answers in our Persistent debt FAQ's.
If you're in persistent debt and would like to discuss your options, please contact us.

Further help and support available to you


Offering free debt advice and support in tackling your debts.

Visit StepChange
or call 0800 138 1111

Money Helper

Offering free and impartial money advice as well as tools to help improve your finances.

Visit Money Helper
or call 0300 500 5000

National Debtline

Offering free and independent debt advice.

Visit National Debtline
or call 0808 808 4000

Citizens Advice

Offering free, impartial advice on debt and money, work, benefits and more.

Visit Citizens Advice
or call 03444 111 444