Frequently Asked Questions


My debts are out of control. What can I do?

Getting advice as soon as possible can help you to deal with your debts and your creditors. There are a number of people and organisations that can give free confidential and impartial advice in your local area. Some may also give information and advice over the telephone or on their websites. They include advisers in Citizens Advice Scotland and Local Authority money advisers. The National Debtline and StepChange Debt Charity provide advice over the phone and online.

I want to speak to someone face to face, how do I find my local advice agencies?

Please visit our search page to find your nearest advice agencies.

How can I manage my money better?

The best place to start is with your budget. By working on your budget plan you’ll have a good understanding of the money that’s coming in and going out. Here are some of the online tools available to help you budget.

The National Debtline budget tool.

Money Advice Service budget planner.

Citizens Advice Bureau online budgeting tool.

I'm on a pension. Can I get any other benefits?

Even if you are on a pension, you may still be entitled to Pension Credit. This is dependent on your individual circumstances.  You may also be entitled to Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction. Find out more about benefits on the Age Scotland website.

What does APR mean?

The term APR stands for Annual Percentage Rate. You can use it to compare different credit and loan offers. The APR takes into account not just the interest on the loan but also other charges you have to pay, for example, any arrangement fee. All lenders have to tell you what their APR is before you sign an agreement. It will vary from lender to lender.

I am being threatened with eviction, what can I do?

If you have fallen behind with your rent or mortgage payments, or payments for a loan which is 'secured' on your home, your landlord or your lender can take action against you. There are expert organisations out there who can help you to prevent the situation from getting to this stage. Find out more about your home. Contact an organisation such as Shelter Scotland who specialise with helping you to keep your roof above your head

Debt Solutions Section

What is the difference between bankruptcy and sequestration?

There is no difference between bankruptcy and sequestration. In Scotland, sequestration is the word sometimes used instead of bankruptcy but the process is the same.

I have run up a lot of debt but I don’t want to go bankrupt, what are my options?

Bankruptcy is only one of a range of debt solutions available. Depending on your individual circumstances, a number of options exist to help relieve your debt issues. A money adviser can help find the best solution for you.

Options include:

Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS) – A government backed scheme which allows you to pay back your debts in full, over a longer period of time at a more manageable rate. Interest and charges are frozen and, providing you stick to the terms of the plan, creditors cannot take any action to recover debts included in the plan. 
For more information about DAS talk to an approved money adviser.

Trust Deed – A form of insolvency, a trust deed is a legally binding agreement lasting a minimum of 4 years, that transfers your assets (money and property) to a trustee who may sell them to help pay your debts. You will normally have to pay a regular amount from your income for the duration of the trust deed. As long as you have you have met the terms of the agreement by the end of the trust deed, with some exceptions, the money still owed will be written off.

Bankruptcy – A form of insolvency, Bankruptcy (or sequestration in Scotland) is a formal declaration that you are unable to pay your debt as they fall due. If you are declared bankrupt, your assets (money and property) are transferred to a trustee who may sell them to pay your creditors. You may also have to make a regular payment from your income after you are declared bankrupt. At the end of your bankruptcy, if you have met the terms of the agreement, you will be discharged and, with some exceptions, any money still owed will be written off.


Debt Recovery

How can I claim money owed to me?

There are several ways to claim money owed to you. The person who owes you money (the debtor) may already be bankrupt or you may be considering making them bankrupt to recover the debt they owe you.

Bankruptcy is not the only way to try to recover debt. In Scotland other legal processes, known as diligences, can be used.  Diligences include:

  • Arrestment of the debtor’s bank account;
  • Arrestment of the debtor’s earnings;
  • Attachment of the debtor’s assets;
  • Inhibition on the debtor’s property.

A solicitor can give you advice about these processes. You may also get advice from Citizens Advice Scotland or Money Advice Scotland.

Are debt collection agencies allowed to come into my house to take money or my possessions?

No, debt collection agencies are not allowed to come into your house to take your money or possessions.

In Scotland, “diligence” is the term for various processes of debt enforcement in Scottish law. The creditor must have a decree (court order) enforceable in Scotland, or a document of debt such as a Summary Warrant before they can carry out diligence. It is only officers of the court, known as sheriff officers, who can enter your home. In most cases, sheriff officers cannot take possessions from your house unless they have an exceptional attachment order. For more information on exceptional attachment orders, please visit the AiB website.

Welfare benefits and Pensions

I have just lost my job. What benefits can I get?

Any benefits you are entitled to are dependent on your individual circumstances; whether you are working, have children, are caring for someone or are retired. You can find out more about what you may be eligible for at your local advice agency.  

There are also organisations that can help you or provide you with information on employment and getting back to work. Citizens Advice Bureau’s Advice Guide website has an employment section which you may find useful. 

I am a pensioner and would like to seek advice on how to manage my money better.

Age Scotland will be able to advise you on how to manage your money better.


Does anyone regulate/oversee the financial services industry?

The financial services industry in the UK is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Their aim is to protect consumers, ensuring stability throughout the industry and to promote healthy competition between financial services providers.  They have rule making, investigative and enforcement powers that they use to protect and regulate the industry.

What is a payday loan?

A payday loan is a short-term, high interest loan designed to be taken out over a short period of time. They are arranged over days, rather than years, are usually for amounts less than £1000 and are to be repaid in full, including interest, on your next payday. Find out more about borrowing