Consumers urged to take the ‘debt test’

Amanda Jarvis

January 12, 2006

Answering a few simple questions allows consumers to obtain:

–       information and feedback on their levels of debt;

–       tips on how to avoid getting into debt problems; and

–       help to manage any problems they may have 

The Debt Test can be accessed at: http://www.fsa.gov.uk/consumer/debt_test/ and www.bbc.co.uk/debt

Vernon Everitt, the FSA’s Director of Retail Themes, said: “Managing debt effectively is one of the most important things any of us have to do to keep control over our finances.  The debt test is a useful tool to help consumers gain a fast overview of their borrowing, avoid debt becoming problematic and sort out what to do if it is already causing concern.” 

Peter Clifton, Head of BBC News Interactive, said: “In the wake of the Christmas period, there could be no better time to be launching the debt test. Debt is a very real problem for many people across the UK, and this is a neat way to help them. It provides clear feedback and links to more information and is just the sort of thing that works really well on the web.”

As well as using the BBC and FSA websites, the FSA is working with other potential partners to make the tool more widely available and will explore this possibility further with financial services firms and consumer organisations. The debt test and the wide range of other tools the FSA offers on money management are to be promoted in a new advertising campaign starting next month.

Although the FSA does not regulate unsecured lending or consumer credit, the regulator is committed to helping consumers become more capable and confident. The Debt Test has therefore been delivered as part of the National Strategy for Financial Capability backed by the financial services industry, consumer groups, government and unions.

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