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Practical tips to help you improve your credit rating and avoid expensive high interest loans

Personal Bankruptcy or Another Option?

An image showing a credit card which has been cut up

The global financial crisis has affected a large number of people in the UK with a significant rise in the number of personal insolvencies. As a result of the crisis many people have found themselves in declining financial situations and as a result, have found the ability to borrow money becoming increasingly difficult.An image showing a chart of a financial crash

However, this difficulty proved to be relatively short-lived due to the fact that a group of enterprising lenders took to the financial marketplace to exploit a gap in the market by offering loans specifically designed for borrowers being shunned by High Street and mainstream lenders.

These lenders designed a range of financial products which were enticing as they appeared to offer the perfect solution for people with financial difficulties.

However, these ‘bad credit loans’ are often nothing more than a door to a debt spiral.

What Are The Disadvantages?An image of a bad credit sign

  • No. 1: They are very expensive – One of the biggest advantages of these types of loans is that these are extremely expensive. Most of these types of finance have a representative APR of over 1000%. The lenders claim that the APR is high as the borrowers are high risk and whilst there may be an element of truth to this, it still does not warrant such a high APR. Whilst it may be true that these loans look very attractive when no other lender is ready to lend you money but these come at a very high cost and should be avoided at all times.
  • No. 2: Not a Fix for Long-Term – Many people make the mistake of choosing these loans as a solution hoping to fix their long-term financial problems. However, this is not true. More often than not, these loans end up pushing people into a vicious debt spiral. People who are already facing financial difficulties usually find it difficult to get out of this debt spiral.
  • No. 3: Only small amounts available – Most of these lenders give a very small amount of loans. Typically, the loan amount is less than £1000.

Did you know that a bad credit score can impact far more than your ability to obtain credit – ‘A Bad Credit Score Affects A Lot More Than Credit

Alternative Options

One of the most effective ways of clearing substantial debt quickly is opting for personal bankruptcy. However, this is not an option that should be entered into lightly.

Most of the people think of bankruptcy as a derogatory term but the truth is that it is a viable option to manage your finances. Bankruptcy offers a way to permanently deal with various unsecured debts such as bank loans and credit card debts.

The following video offers an insight into the rise of the number of personal bankruptcies in the UK.

What is the Process?A red bankruptcy sign

There are two ways to declare personal bankruptcy. You can go to court yourself and file an application for declaring bankruptcy. Your creditors can also get you declared bankrupt and if you owe the lender an amount of more than £700.

However, filing for bankruptcy is not without its own cost. In most of the cases, you will be required to pay a fee of £525 to the official receiver and also a court fee of £175. The court fee is sometimes waved but one always has to pay the official receiver. The official receiver will decide how the assets will be sold.

It should be noted that bankruptcy does not erase certain kinds of debts that include student loans, taxes as well as certain family obligations.

Please click here for more information related to the debts which are covered.

Disadvantages of BankruptcyAn image showing a disadvantage

Bankruptcy may not be suitable for you if any of the following apply:

  • you owe less than £20,000 and any belongings you own (other than basic household goods and a vehicle worth less than £1,000) are not worth more than £1,000 in total – you might want to consider a debt relief order
  • you work in certain occupations such as a solicitor, accountant or estate agent, as your professional association may bar bankrupt people from membership
  • you don’t want your debt problems to be public
  • your circumstances might change in the near future – for example, if you’re going to inherit money or claim money because you were mis-sold payment protection insurance (PPI), it might be better to use this to deal with your debts
  • you have access to a pension pot that’s bigger than your debt – you might not be allowed to become bankrupt

One disadvantage of bankruptcy is that one cannot hold certain types of jobs that include MP and acting as a company director. Also, some of the professional bodies prohibited people with undischarged bankruptcy from practising as accountants, solicitors and financial advisor.

However, this does not mean that you won’t be able to hold on to your job. It is recommended to discuss the bankruptcy with the HR department in confidence. There is no point in unnecessarily worrying about bankruptcy as most of the employers don’t care. A general rule of thumb is that if your job application did not require you to tell about bankruptcy, your employer is not too concerned.

If you are living in a rented accommodation, your landlord may not allow you to live there as some of the tenancy agreements prohibit people with undischarged bankruptcy.

The bankruptcy will be shown on your credit report for a period of 6 years after you are discharged from the bankruptcy.

Your name is going to be published in the individual insolvency register.

Advantages of BankruptcyAn image highlighting an opportunity

Bankruptcy may be suitable for you if all of the following apply:

  • you can’t see a way to pay your debts
  • you don’t have many belongings of value and there’s little or no equity in your home
  • it’s unlikely that your situation will improve
  • you live or carry out a business in England or Wales, or have done so at any point in the last 3 years and live permanently in another European state (apart from Denmark)

The biggest advantage of bankruptcy is that it allows you to start afresh as most of the debt you owe is written off.  You also get a certain peace of mind as creditors or debt collectors won’t bother you any longer.

In most cases, a person is allowed to keep certain possessions that are necessary for work including tools of the trade for self-employed people.

Regardless of whether you would like to explore the choices available in regards to borrowing money in an effort to improve your long-term financial situation or would like to explore the alternative, one thing is certain – you must enter the agreement having done all of the required homework to ensure no unpleasant surprises are waiting for you.

For more information on how bankruptcy can affect you, please take a moment to view the following article from the Step Change Charity

Jon Edward
Jon Edward
Passionate about helping people find options, when on first glance there do not appear to be any.

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