Persistent debt

What you need to know about persistent debt and how you can reduce the cost of your credit.

What is persistent debt?

The Financial Conduct Authorities (FCA) defines persistent debt as when you are paying more in interest, fees and charges than you are paying off your credit or store card balance, over a period of 18 months or longer.

This means, without increasing your payments, it could take several years and cost you more in interest and charges, before you repay the balance.

Persistent debt applies to credit or store cards because your payments can be relatively flexible.

If we think you are in persistent debt, we’ll get in touch and offer you practical advice to help you move forward.

Repayment calculator

Use the calculator to get an idea of how your monthly payments could change the repayment time, amount owed, and interest applied.



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Total paid = ##total_paid##

Period of time = ##years## year(s) and ##months## months


Reduce your credit cost by paying more

When you get your statement, you’ll see that you need to make a minimum payment by a set date. Paying this on time to avoid fees or losing any promotional interest rates and damaging your credit score.

If you continue to pay more interest, fees and charges, than off your balance for 36 months, we’ll look at other ways to help you clear your balance. This may include stopping your card or lowering your credit limit.

Here’s an example based on a balance of £3,000 with an effective interest rate of 24%.

Paying the minimum costs you the most

Starting at £84 and reducing over time.

You’ll repay your balance in:

28 years and 3 months

Interest paid: £5,214

Total paid: £8,214

Paying a fixed amount costs you less

At £84 each month.

You’ll repay your balance in:

4 years and 10 months

Interest paid: £1,866

Total paid: £4,866

Paying a little more costs you the least

At £124 each month.

You’ll repay your balance in:

2 years and 9 months

Interest paid: £981

Total paid: £3,981

This example assumes you don’t use your credit card, have no extra fees or charges, and the interest rate doesn’t change. The minimum payment is calculated at 1% of the remaining balance, plus standard interest, fees and charges.

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Worried about your repayments?

We’re here to talk about your money worries and help you find practical ways to deal with them. 

The sooner you let us know there’s an issue, the easier it will be for us to deal with it together.

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You can also go to these organisations for free advice and support with money worries:

PayPlan logo


Free, simple debt advice.

Call: 0800 280 2816

Mon-Fri 8am-8pm and Sat 9am-3pm.


StepChange debt charity


Get expert advice and free debt management help to manage your debts.

Call: 0800 138 1111

Mon-Fri 8am-8pm and Sat 8am-4pm.


National Debtline - advice you can trust

National Debtline

Free help and advice on dealing with your debt.

Call: 0808 808 4000

Mon-Fri 9am-8pm and Sat 9.30am-1pm.

National Debtline

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Persistent debt - FAQs

  • We'll write to you if you have paid more interest, fees and charges than off the balance, over 18 months or longer. 

    This letter will include information and tips on repaying your balance sooner to cut your borrowing costs.

    If we have your mobile number and think it’s affordable for you, we’ll send you a text message each month with a suggested payment. It will show an amount that you can choose to repay to help get you out of persistent debt.

    In 9 months’, we'll check in to let you know how things are going. We'll tell you if you're managing to pay more off your balance than in interest, fees and charges. 

    In 18 months’, if your account is still in persistent debt, we'll let you know how much to repay each month so you can clear your balance in around four years and pay less interest. 

    We might send a few more reminders and suggestions in between these letters to help you.

    Any action we take is aimed at helping you to cut your borrowing costs and repay your balance more quickly.

  • If your account has been in persistent debt for three years, a recommended payment amount will start to feature on your monthly statements.

    By paying this amount each month, it’ll help you to repay your balance more quickly.

    The recommended payment amount will include your minimum payment, any overdue payments, and will consider if you still use your card. As a result, the amount can vary month to month, so make sure you keep an eye on your statements.

  • You will lose the ability to make further transactions if your account has been in persistent debt for 3 or more years, and you are not paying the recommended monthly payment.

    This is to help you make progress with repaying your balance.

    If we stop your card, we will close your account after you've cleared your balance.

    If you need your credit card for essential living expenses, get in touch so we can find a way to help.

  • Having an account in persistent debt doesn’t directly affect your credit score, but missing payments or making late payments could.

    Find out what affects your credit score

  • If you’re worried about money or repaying your balance, please let us know. We’re here to help you and will explain all your options.

    Get help with money worries

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