FCA urges consumers struggling financially to ‘seek help quickly’

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has urged people that are struggling to pay their bills due to the cost-of-living crisis to get help has soon as possible.

Research conducted by the regulator found that some people who struggle financially don’t seek help out of embarrassment.

The study revealed that 42 per cent of borrowers who were struggling and ignored their lenders’ attempt to contact them did so because they “felt ashamed”.

A further 40 per cent of consumers who were struggling financially incorrectly believed that simply talking to a debt adviser would have a negative impact on their credit file.

But those that do seek help find it useful, with eight in 10 people in financial difficulty who use debt advice saying they would recommend it, while 70 per cent said it had been more helpful than they had anticipated.

“Anyone can find themselves in financial difficulty, and the rising cost of living means more people will struggle to make ends meet,” said Sheldon Mills, executive director of consumers and competition, FCA. “If you’re struggling financially the most important thing is to speak to someone.

“If you’re worried about keeping up with payments, talk to your lender as soon as possible, as they could offer affordable options to pay back what is owed.'

Over half of borrowers in financial difficulty waited more than month before seeking out help, while 53 per cent of those that delayed regretted not accessing help sooner.

Regret was stronger amongst those who waited more than six months to seek help, with 67 per cent saying they wish they had reached out sooner.

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