Persistent debt

Everything you need to know

What it means

‘Persistent debt’ is part of a new set of regulations introduced by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to help prevent people getting into long-term debt.

You’re in persistent debt if you’ve taken out a credit card, and paid more in interest, fees and charges than you’ve paid towards your balance over the past 18 months.

This can happen if you’ve chosen to pay back the minimum monthly amount or thereabouts, for a long period of time.

    What you can expect

    We’ll keep an eye on your account and contact you when it’s in persistent debt. Here’s what you can expect from us and when:

    • At 18 months, we’ll contact you to let you know that your account is in persistent debt and provide some steps that’ll help you out of it.
    • At 27 months, we’ll review your account to see if it’s still in persistent debt and contact you if it is.
    • After 36 months we’ll review your account again. If your account is still in persistent debt, we’ll be in touch with some options to help you become debt free on this account within four years. Your card may also be suspended – we’ll always let you know before doing this.

    Why it matters

    Increasing your monthly payments means you’ll pay off your balance sooner and pay less interest on the amount you’ve borrowed.

    Let’s say, for example, you were paying off a card balance of £2,500. By increasing your monthly payments, you could save yourself up to £1,967 in the long run.

      Repayment options

      Monthly payment

      How long it takes

      Total Interest

      If you choose to make the minimum monthly payments

        £64 in the first month, reducing every month as the balance comes down

          12 years and 11 months


              If you choose to make a fixed monthly payment

                £64 every month

                  5 years

                    £1,328 (that’s a saving of £1,513 vs. paying the minimum amount)

                      If you choose to make a higher fixed monthly payment

                        £75 every month

                          3 years, 9 months

                            £1,018 (that’s a saving of £1,967 vs. paying the minimum amount)

                              These examples are based on a card with an interest rate of 19.9% APR, a minimum payment of 1% of the outstanding balance plus interest or £25 (whichever is greater) and the balance not increasing (this includes any fees or charges that may be added) over the course of the repayment term.

                              To work out the right numbers for you, try Card Costs. It’s a handy tool that’ll help you work out how much you may be able to afford each month.

                              What happens next?

                              To prevent your account getting into persistent debt, or to get your account out of persistent debt, you should increase your monthly repayments to more than the minimum amount – if you can afford to. As a guide, you should stick to monthly repayment amount that is double the interest, plus any fees charged on your account. You can find all this information on your monthly credit card statement.

                              The best way to do this is by setting up, or amending, a Direct Debit. You can do this through Online Banking or via our Mobile Banking App.

                              If making changes to your repayments doesn’t feel affordable, or if losing the use of your card will cause you serious worry, we’re here to help and support you. Just call us on 0345 835 9560*.

                                Credit card repayment calculator

                                Find out how much you could save by changing the way you pay off your credit card. Simply put the details from your credit card statement into our calculator. Then adjust the amount of your monthly payment and see how much you could save by paying a higher fixed amount you can afford each month.

                                  Further support

                                  You can also talk to StepChange, an independent charity who can provide free and confidential advice to help you. You can reach their persistent debt team on 0800 054 6734 or head to