What is persistent debt?

To help customers avoid taking on more debt than they can afford, the Financial Conduct Authority, or FCA, has created some rules to help people's accounts get out of persistent debt. On this page, we've explained everything you need to know about it, and what we can do to support you.

What the FCA means by persistent debt

If your repayments have been going more towards paying interest, fees and charges than off your balance for 18 months or more, the FCA calls this persistent debt. As part of the rules, we'll get in touch to explain what your credit card is costing you and what you should do next.

Paying more than the minimum each month reduces the interest you'll pay

Your minimum payment is worked out using a % of your balance plus interest, fees and charges.  This will then slowly reduce over time as your balance is paid off - provided that you haven’t made any further purchases, transfers, cash advances or incurred any fees or charges. 

If you can afford to, fix your repayments to more than the minimum or make extra payments now and then to make sure your account gets out of persistent debt. Paying more than the minimum every month can make a big difference – you’ll pay off your balance quicker and save on interest. It could also improve your credit score.

This example shows the difference between only paying the minimum % each month and fixing your payment at the same amount each month:

How to reduce the cost of your credit card

The figures are based on a £3,000 balance and assume you don't continue to use your card for purchases, transfers or cash advances, incur fees or charges and that the 24% effective rate per annum doesn't change. The minimum payment has been worked out using 1% of the £3,000 balance plus interest, fees and charges.

See the difference repaying more can make

A small change like fixing your monthly repayments can make a big  difference, and help you clear your balance sooner and pay less interest.

StepChange, an independent free service have a budgeting tool that allows you to quickly see the effect of setting up a fixed monthly payment. You can find this at www.stepchange.org/repayment-calculator

3 ways to take your card out of persistent debt


Set up a direct debit

Fix your monthly payment so you pay more than the minimum each month. Our budgeting tool can help you decide how much more you can afford to pay, and then it's taken care of.


Pay in extra when you can

If paying more by Direct Debit isn't possible, keep up your minimum payments and pay in extra top ups when you can. An extra few pounds here and there can make a big difference.


Ask for help

If money is worrying you and paying more feels out of the question, now is the time to ask for help. We're here to explain all your options and help you find a way forward.

Find out how - Call 0800 085 9173
Lines are open 7am - 11pm, 7 days a week.