I can't pay my debts

If you’re struggling with unmanageable debts and it’s causing you financial stress, it’s important you act quickly. Whether you’ve run into money troubles with unemployment, illness, a business or taking on too much debt – the first step in taking control of the situation is to ask for help.

There is help available. Financial counsellors offer free, independent and confidential services to discuss your situation and help you get back on track.

To speak with a financial counsellor contact the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007. This free hotline is open from 9:30am to 4:30pm Monday to Friday. There are also more tools and resources available online on the National Debt Helpline website.

For more information on financial counsellors and other support services see Where to find help.

Talk to your creditor

If you are having trouble meeting your loan repayments, it’s important to get in contact with your credit or service provider early. Taking action quickly will help a small problem from turning into a big one.

You should start by telling your credit or service provider that you are experiencing financial difficulty. Many providers have hardship programs that are designed to help support you through moments like these.

You may be able to reach the following arrangements with your provider:

  • more time to pay
  • a flexible payment arrangement
  • a smaller payment to settle the debt.

Some of these options may be legally enforceable and you may wish to seek your own independent advice before making a decision.

Understand your options

If you’ve already spoken with a financial counsellor or just want to get some information on what formal insolvency options are available for you, we can provide you with information about:

For more information on your insolvency options see Dealing with unmanageable debt?

Understand bankruptcy

Bankruptcy is a legal process where you're declared unable to pay your debts. It can release you from most debts, provide relief and allow you to make a fresh start.

When you become bankrupt we appoint a trustee. A trustee is a person or body who manages your bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy has serious consequences that you need to be aware of. Bankruptcy can impact your ability to apply for credit, travel overseas and be a director of a company just to name a few. To understand all the ways that bankruptcy may impact you see: Consequences of bankruptcy