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Can Debt Collectors See Your Bank Account Balance? UK Guide

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Scott Nelson

Managing Director

MoneyNerd’s founder, Scott Nelson, has a decade of financial industry experience, including 6 years in FCA regulated loan and credit card companies. Troubled by a lack of conscience in the industry, he founded MoneyNerd to give genuine advice to those in debt and struggling financially.

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Janine Marsh

Financial Expert

Janine Marsh is an award-winning presenter and a valuable member of the MoneyNerd team. With a wealth of experience as a financial expert, she's been featured on BBC Radio 4, BBC Local Radio, and BBC Five Live, and is a regular on Co-op Radio.

Learn more about Janine
· Jan 31st, 2024
Could you legally write off some debt? Answer below to get started.

Total amount of debt?

This isn’t a full fact find, MoneyNerd doesn’t give advice. We work with The Debt Advice Service who provide information about your options.

For free & impartial money advice you can visit MoneyHelper. We work with The Debt Advice Service who provide information about your options. This isn’t a full fact-find, some debt solutions may not be suitable in all circumstances, ongoing fees might apply & your credit rating may be affected.

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Can Debt Collectors See Your Bank Balance

For free & impartial money advice you can visit MoneyHelper. We work with The Debt Advice Service who provide information about your options. This isn’t a full fact-find, some debt solutions may not be suitable in all circumstances, ongoing fees might apply & your credit rating may be affected.

Having a debt collector contacting you constantly can be a bit scary. You may be wondering if they can peek into your bank account balance. The good news is that they can’t! But, if you don’t make a payment, they could take you to court to find out about your money matters.

If you’re worried and confused about your debt, don’t fret. You’re not alone. In fact, every month, over 170,000 people just like you come to our website for information on debt problems.

In this friendly guide, you’ll discover:

  • How debt collectors do their job.
  • Your rights when dealing with them.
  • Steps to possibly clear some of your debt.
  • What happens if you don’t or can’t pay.
  • How debt could affect your credit score.

Research shows that 64% of UK adults find interactions with current debt collectors stressful1. So, we know dealing with debt can be tough.

We’re here to help you understand how you can handle the situation and move forward. Let’s dive in!

Could you legally write off some debt?

There are several debt solutions in the UK, choosing the right one for you could write off some of your unaffordable debt, but the wrong one may be expensive and drawn out.

Answer below to get started.

How much debt do you have?

This isn’t a full fact find. MoneyNerd doesn’t give advice. We work with The Debt Advice Service who provide information about your options.

Can creditors demand to see bank statements?

The answer to the question, “Can creditors demand to see bank statements?” is that they must apply to the courts and get an order first.

In short, without a court order, creditors cannot gain access to your financial circumstances.

What Is an Order to Obtain Information?

As I mentioned, an Order to Obtain information is when the debt collector makes you go back to court to face a judge.

Understanding Order to Obtain Information in debt collection is essential. As such, I suggest you seek advice from a debt expert if a lender/creditor requests this.

You will have to provide documents and information to the judge to show your circumstances.

This is completed under oath.

The debt collector may request that the judge is provided with evidence of your financial circumstances.

A debt collector uses the process to find out how much money you have.

But can debt collectors see your bank account UK? No, they aren’t given access to your bank account.

Your Rights With Debt Collectors

I’ve put together this quick table to help you better understand what debt collectors can and can’t do. If you’d like to learn more about your rights, make sure to check out our detailed guide.

Debt Collectors Can But They Can’t
Contact you by phone or mail. Call you after 9pm or before 8am.
Conduct home visits (on rare occasions) and knock on your door. Forbily enter your home, or stay if you ask them to leave.
Threaten to take you to court by suing you for payment on a debt. Harrass you, including threats of violence, repeated calls and visits, or abusive language.
Negotiate a debt settlement. Tip: make sure to get this new arrangement in writing. Visit your workplace.
Access your bank account, but only after a court judgment has been made. Take anything from your home or threaten to do so.
Sell your debt. Speak to other people about your debt without your permission.
Contact you frequently. Keep doing so if you request that they reduce communications.

Debt collection laws in the UK are strict and must be followed. Understanding consumer rights against debt collectors can help you deal with the situation when it arises.

Knowing how to protect yourself from debt collectors can also make the experience less stressful.

» TAKE ACTION NOW: Fill out the short debt form

But, What If You Still Don’t Pay?

If you don’t keep to the payments that were requested by the courtsthrough the CCJ – the debt collector or your creditor can use a bailiff to come to your home and request payment.

An enforcement officer’s role in debt recovery is to contact you with a view to discuss how you intend settling what’s owed once a court has issued an order to pay.

The bailiff, now called an enforcement officer can seize your belongings if you don’t pay. The items will then be auctioned to pay off the debt.

I recently spoke to the Mirror about debt collectors and bailiffs. While a bailiff may be permitted to take your possessions, a debt collector never can. All they are allowed to do is ask for a payment.

A debt collector or creditor can apply to the court for an Order to Obtain Information after a CCJ is issued.

It’s to find out about your financial circumstances and to see how much you can pay to settle the debt.

As you can see, the consequences of not paying debt in the UK can be far-reaching.

How a debt solution could help

Some debt solutions can:

  1. Stop nasty calls from creditors
  2. Freeze interest and charges
  3. Reduce your monthly payments

A few debt solutions can even result in writing off some of your debt.

Here’s an example:


Situation

Monthly income £2,504
Monthly expenses £2,345
Total debt £32,049

Monthly debt repayments

Before £587
After £158

£429 reduction in monthly payments

If you want to learn what debt solutions are available to you, click the button below to get started.

Get Started

What Happens If I Don’t Attend Court?

Some debtors think they can get around the whole situation by not going to court.

Failure to attend court for debt hearings can lead to further problems with creditors/lenders and the court.

After all, if you don’t attend the Order to Obtain Information hearing, then you can’t provide information to the judge.

And your debt collector will be none the wiser about your finances or other personal circumstances.

But that would be a bad idea!

Failure to attend a court hearing is a serious offence, you can be sent to prison.

If you fail to attend an Order to Obtain Information hearing, the judge may refer the case to a High Court Judge or a Circuit Judge.

The legal consequences of missing a court date for debt are best avoided.

What If You Can’t Attend?

If you are unable to attend the court hearing for a legitimate reason, you won’t have to face the possibility of prison.

You can ask the creditor or the debt collector to have the court date changed. In short, rescheduling a court date for debt hearing in the UK is possible.

Most reputable companies will do this for you to ensure they get the information they need.

If the debt collector refuses to cooperate and change the court date or time, you can make a request directly to the courts yourself.

I suggest using Form N244 for debt hearing rescheduling as soon as you can if you can’t make the initial court hearing.

How to Prepare for an Order to Obtain

Preparing for an Order to Obtain Information hearing can seem daunting. As such, I suggest you seek advice from a debt expert first.

You can use the Order to Obtain Information to show a genuine inability to pay the debt.

You must provide details of your income, expenditure, financial support you receive from family and any – if any – disposable income to pay the debt.

It’s one of the legal avenues for demonstrating financial hardship in UK that you could use.

It could be the perfect time to show you really can’t pay the debt and state that no further court action should be taken against you by the debt collector.

Thousands have already tackled their debt

Every day our partners, The Debt Advice Service, help people find out whether they can lower their repayments and finally tackle or write off some of their debt.

Natasha

I’d recommend this firm to anyone struggling with debt – my mind has been put to rest, all is getting sorted.

Get started

Reviews shown are for The Debt Advice Service.

What is a Debt and Mental Evidence Form (DMHEF)?

How can a DMHEF help in dealing with debt collectors?

It could see creditors being more considerate in how they deal with you when they have the information provided in the form.

If you’re struggling with mental health issues, you can apply for a debt and mental health evidence form (DMHEF).

Only health and social care professionals can complete a DMHEF. Providing you give consent.

Creditors and lenders sometimes use the form to confirm a debtor is suffering from a mental health issue.

Once the creditor receives the completed form, they’re obliged to make adequate adjustments in how they collect the debt from you.

It’s worth noting that a DMHEF and consent form you provide to a health care provider are both approved by the Information Commissioner’s Office.

It is also recognised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

What kind of debt solutions are there?

If you’re struggling to pay your bills and drowning in debt, there is help available.

Understanding different debt solutions in the UK could get you on the right path to being debt-free.

A debt adviser can offer advice on how to choose the right debt solution for your situation.

As such, I suggest you contact one of the main UK charities before choosing any of the debt solutions I mention below.

Debt Relief Order (DRO) – a legally binding debt solution when you owe less than £30,000 and have no disposable income or assets

Debt Management Plan (DMP) – an informal agreement made with creditors to pay back money owed based on what you can afford.

Administration Order – a legally binding formal agreement between you and creditors to repay what’s owed over a period of time.

Debt consolidation – consolidating debt typically involves a new credit line. This is usually a consolidation loan that’s used to pay existing debt.

Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) – an agreement to pay all or part of your debts to your creditors by making regular payments to an insolvency practitioner. They divide the payments out to your creditors.

Bankruptcy – a way to deal with debts you cannot pay. While bankrupt your assets could be used to pay off your debts. After a period (usually one year) most of the outstanding debt is written off.

Other Debt Collectors 

You should check for more outstanding debts that you may have with other companies or debt collectors. Here are four steps you could take: 

  1. Check your credit report for other defaults 
  2. Check your email and post for reminders or overdue notices
  3. Check the court records for CCJs against you
  4. Check your bank statements for the names of other debt collectors 

There are hundreds of debt collectors in the UK and each works with different companies to collect debts.

For example, Cabot Financial have been known to collect for the DVLA while Lowell Financial and PRA Group buy debts from various credit card companies like Barclaycard.

If you see a name on your bank statement that you don’t recognise then you can search MoneyNerd to see if they’re a debt collector. 

Could you legally write off some debt?

Answer below to get started.

How much debt do you have?

This isn’t a full fact find, MoneyNerd doesn’t give advice. We work with The Debt Advice Service who provide information about your options.

References

  1. Indebted Debt Collection Survey
The authors
Scott Nelson Profile Picture
Author
MoneyNerd’s founder, Scott Nelson, has a decade of financial industry experience, including 6 years in FCA regulated loan and credit card companies. Troubled by a lack of conscience in the industry, he founded MoneyNerd to give genuine advice to those in debt and struggling financially.
Janine Marsh Profile Picture
Debt Expert
Janine Marsh is an award-winning presenter and a valuable member of the MoneyNerd team. With a wealth of experience as a financial expert, she's been featured on BBC Radio 4, BBC Local Radio, and BBC Five Live, and is a regular on Co-op Radio.
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