Most lenders are required by law to assist borrowers who are going through a short term crisis. Here you can find out what to do if you are having financial difficulties. Find out about your rights and how to get in touch with a financial counsellor.

People's financial circumstances often change due to illness, unemployment or reduced working hours, family breakdown or for a number of other reasons. When this happens, if your income is reduced, it's important you seek help as early as possible.

Contact the people you have borrowed from and advise them of your changed circumstances. Ask about a variation on your loan under financial hardship or because of your changed circumstances. Banks and other lenders can consider either short or long term relief to help you through your difficulties.

Dealing with a temporary crisis?

If you are unable to pay an electricity or gas bill you should contact the utility provider and ask for an arrangement to pay over a period of time. If you cannot come to an arrangement to pay your account, contact a financial counsellor and arrange an appointment. Synergy will usually hold on a disconnection for 14 days if you tell them you have an appointment to see a financial counsellor.
You could also contact an emergency relief agency in your area to see if they can assist with a payment toward your debt.

Unable to pay your mortgage, personal loans, car payments or credit card?

Most lenders are required by law to assist borrowers who are going through a short term crisis.

If you are unable to pay your mortgage, personal loan or credit card payments, it is important that you contact your bank or lending institution as soon as possible. You may be eligible for hardship relief under the Consumer Credit Code. Most lenders are required by law to assist borrowers who are going through a short term crisis so don't be afraid to contact your lender if you are having problems.

If a lender refuses to assist you, contact a financial counsellor to arrange an appointment. Contact the Financial Counselling Helpline on 1800 007 007.

For comprehensive information and consumer advice relating to credit and finance. Please visit the ASIC's MoneySmart  website