Debt

Debt is when you owe someone money.

Debt is when you owe someone money – either when you borrow money and agree to pay it back later, or by buying something with the agreement to pay later.

Sometimes if you do not pay a debt by the due date it may be lodged with a debt collection agency. The debt collection agency will then contact you to make an arrangement for you to repay the debt.

If a debt collection agency becomes involved it will affect your credit rating making it harder for you to borrow in the future.

In extreme cases the debt collection agency can obtain a court order to acquire your assets (such as house or car) or take some of your wages in order to pay your debts.

Never get a loan for someone else – even if they are your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, partner or family member. You cannot guarantee that that person will pay all the money back and you may end up being liable for the full amount.

You can request a free copy of your credit file once a year. The website where you can fill in details to receive a form to request a free copy of your credit report can be found here.

Differences between states

Northern Territory

Debt can put financial and personal pressure on a person or relationship. You can contact Anglicare NT or CatholicCare NT for advice and financial counselling to assist with budgeting and money management.

You can also contact the Central Australian Women’s Legal Service for legal advice on credit and debt matters – 08 8952 4055 or 1800 684 055.

Depending on where you live, you could alternatively contact the Darwin Community Legal Service on 1800 812 953; or the Katherine Women’s Information and Legal Service on 1800 620 108.

ACT

Debt can put financial and personal pressure on a person or relationship. If you are struggling with debt you can get help from Care Financial Counselling Service or Salvation Army Moneycare.

Western Australia

Debt can put financial and personal pressure on a person or relationship.  If you are struggling with debt, you may want to speak to a financial counsellor about how best to approach your financial problem and communicate with relevant financial services.

You can get advice from the Financial Counsellors’ Association of Western Australia by calling their helpline on 1800 007 007.  If you want to see a financial counsellor in person you need to make an appointment. The waiting period for an appointment is approximately two weeks.

You can also find a financial counsellor near you, using the Financial Counselling Australia website or ASIC’s MoneySmart website.

NSW

Debt can put financial and personal pressure on a person or relationship.  If you are struggling with debt you can get help from the Credit and Debt Hotline operated by the Consumer Credit Legal Centre NSW on 1800 007 007 – they might be able to help you communicate with your bank, and help you work out a payment arrangement.

Victoria

For legal advice, information and referrals you can contact Consumer Action Law Centre.

If you are struggling with managing your finances you may also want to speak to a financial counselor about how best to approach your financial problem and communicate with relevant financial services.

Find a financial counsellor near you, using the Financial Counselling Australia website or ASIC’s MoneySmart website.

You also might find some helpful information on the Victorian Government Money Help website which has useful tools and calculators that you can use to help you figure out your financial situation.

South Australia

Debt can put financial and personal pressure on a person or relationship. If you are struggling with debt, you may want to speak to a financial counsellor about how best to approach your financial problem and communicate with relevant financial services.

Find a financial counsellor near you, using the Financial Counselling Australia website or ASIC’s MoneySmart website.

Tasmania

Debt can put financial and personal pressure on a person or relationship.  If you are struggling with debt you can get help from Anglicare Financial Services – they might be able to help you manage your money and your debt.

Queensland

Debt can put financial and personal pressure on a person or relationship. If you are struggling with debt, you may want to speak to a financial counsellor about how best to approach your financial problem and communicate with relevant financial services.

Find a financial counsellor near you, using the Financial Counselling Australia website or ASIC’s MoneySmart website.