If you’re anxious or confused about money, paying your bills, or debt, there are organisations that can help for free. But finding the right financial advice and information from organisations that don’t charge can be confusing and overwhelming. In this article we’ll direct you to trustworthy organisations that offer free financial advice in the UK.
Getting help – free financial advice in the UK
Worrying about money, paying bills, and debt can feel overwhelming at times. If you’re finding you’re worrying a lot about money, then it’s time to get help.
Who gives free financial advice in the UK?
All the organisations below can show you how to navigate the path forward by providing clear, practical advice you can trust about money and debt. None of them charge a fee for the advice or resources they offer.
National Debtline is a charity that offers free debt advice to people in the UK. According to the charity, 94% of people who called them in 2021 said they were unclear what steps to take to deal with their debt situation.
They can advise you if you’re an individual or a business struggling with debt. So if you’re worried about paying energy bills and meeting the cost of other essentials, then National Debtline can help with useful information and tools including:
You can speak to an advisor quickly via live chat on the website or by phoning 0808 808 4000. The helpline is free and is open Monday to Saturday. You should check the website for specific opening hours.
Citizens Advice (previously called Citizens Advice Bureau)
If you’re not in debt but you’re concerned about your finances, then Citizens Advice can help prevent you getting into financial difficulties. On the website you’ll find information about:
- Managing mortgages and how to deal with mortgage problems.
- Pensions to help you make choices today that will benefit you in future.
- Borrowing money, advice on getting the best deal and making sure repayments are manageable.
If you’re struggling with debt or a gambling addiction, Citizens Advice can also help you. You can talk to an advisor online, get help by email, or call their free national phone line: 0800 144 8848. They also offer in-person advice at their local branches.
StepChange debt advisors are friendly, non-judgemental experts who’ve been supporting people for over 25 years. They can help you no matter how large or small your debt.
You can speak to them confidentially and free of charge through their online chat service or by phone. What’s great about StepChange is that they can continue to offer you free and impartial advice for as long as you need it.
If you know you need help with debt, but you don’t know where to start, StepChange will help you get the right help. By answering a few simple questions. they’ll help you:
- Understand what to do next;
- Get guidance and support to help you; and
- Start to take control of your money.
StepChange also has a useful guide to coping with the rising cost of living.
MoneyHelper (previously called Money Advice Service)
On the MoneyHelper website there’s a confidential online chat service so you can talk to an experienced debt advisor straightaway. The website also signposts you towards free, face-to-face debt advice services in your area.
Among the many other resources that MoneyHelper has to offer are:
Can you get money help from the government?
As well as Universal Credit, there are a number of state benefits that you may be entitled to claim.
You can check your benefit entitlement on the Turn2Us webpage or visit the government’s page about Universal Credit and other financial support.
How can you avoid fake debt advice?
Unfortunately, there are fraudsters who promise to get people out of debt. These fraudsters prey on vulnerable people by posting adverts online, sending text messages and cold calling people.
The way these scams work vary. But sometimes, a fraudster will ask for payments from someone, falsely claiming to use this money to pay off the person’s debts. Another worrying scam is when they ask for or steal personal data, and use it for criminal purposes.
The good news is that the National Debtline website has lots of useful advice about how to spot financial advice scams. It’s useful to read this information to help protect yourself and your loved ones against scams.
Remember the golden rule, that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If you hear a promise to ‘pay off 90% of your debts’, be suspicious. Don’t give anyone any money without being absolutely certain what it’s for and that their intentions are genuine.
How much does a financial advisor cost?
On average a financial advisor costs £150 an hour. In general, financial advisors aren’t intended to help people struggling with debt or money problems.
In fact, financial advisors are more suitable if you’d like advice about:
- Saving for your retirement.
- Investing your money.
- Planning for a life event like having a child.
- Looking for a mortgage.
- What to do with a lump sum of money e.g. inheritance or redundancy.
There are times when the services of a financial advisor don’t incur a fee. For example, if they help you to take out a mortgage you might pay a fee but receive it back once you’ve been offered a mortgage.
You can find out more about getting financial advice from Citizens Advice.
Beware the dangers of credit
Credit cards, overdrafts, payday loans, and buy now pay later can seem very appealing at times. But it’s important to know that these companies make money from fees and or interest that you have to pay to access the credit.
Borrowing more than you can afford to repay will result in problem debt. So it’s important to consider your credit options very carefully and being absolutely certain how much you’ll end up paying in the long run.
Worrying about money can affect your whole life. It can impact the way you feel about yourself and your relationships with others. Many people hide their debt issues from those closest to them which causes added strain.
Accepting that you need help is a crucial step towards getting on top of money and debt issues. Fortunately, there are organisations and charities across the UK offering free financial advice to help you. By following the right advice, you can get back in control of your finances.
The information in this article is for general information only. It does not constitute professional advice from Openwage. Openwage is not a financial adviser. You should consider seeking independent legal, financial, taxation or other advice to check how the information in this document relates to your unique circumstances.