Persistent debt

What is ‘persistent debt’?

This is where you pay more in interest, fees and charges over an 18-month period than you do towards the amount you’ve borrowed on your credit card. 

This can happen if you’ve been making minimum or low monthly payments over a long period of time. This means it will take you longer to repay what you owe and cost you more in interest. This may be referred to as persistent debt or long term credit card debt. There are rules we must follow and guidance we have to give to help credit card customers deal with it.

How will you know if you’re in persistent debt?

If you’re in persistent debt, you’ll receive a letter or email from us, with options on how you can repay your balance. Review the option that relates to you to find out more.

 At 18 months

We’ll review your account and send you a letter or an email to let you know that you are in persistent debt. This will explain the benefits of increasing your payments to reduce the amount of interest you pay. We will also give you options for how you can reduce your balance by increasing your Direct Debit or making additional payments, and where to find help.

At 36 months

We'll write or email to tell you:

  • How much your persistent debt balance is 
  • The date your first persistent debt payment needs to be made. It will be more than your usual minimum payment, so that you can start to reduce your balance
  • Your repayment options, such as setting up or increasing your Direct Debit.

You'll need to ensure the persistent debt balance is paid back within a maximum of 4 years.

We’ll also tell you that you can no longer use your credit card to withdraw cash and that your card will be blocked if you don’t take action by the date we give you.

We'll also provide information about organisations that can help with debt advice and provide information if you can’t afford to increase your payments.

Why is it important you take action?

Being in debt means you can’t enjoy spending money on things without having to worry about your repayments and can lead to stress and can affect your credit file. Repaying your debt is important for you and gives you more freedom to do the things you enjoy. If you'd like further support, please visit our if finances are a struggle page.

What can you do?

Paying more each month will reduce the interest you are charged and cut the time that it takes to pay off your balance.

Here's an example of how an increase in payments reduces the interest and the repayment period on a credit card balance of £2,000 with an APR of 18.9% 

Monthly repayment£50£75£100
Interest payable£1,016.84£548 (interest saved by increasing your monthly payment = £468.48)£380 (interest saved by increasing your monthly payment = £636.68)
Number of monthly payments613424

Remember, the only way to avoid this type of debt is to pay off more than the minimum payment, and ideally, as much as you can each month. This way you’ll save money on interest charges and repay your debt in less time. You can use our credit card repayment calculator to see how increasing your monthly payments will help. However, if you've received a letter or an email from us to tell you you've been in persistent debt for three years, you'll need to take action by the date we've provided.

If you can afford to, one of the ways that might help your account out of persistent debt is to make a one-off additional payment.  You can set up or amend a direct debt to fixed amount. To find out more, see our repayments page.

Option 1
Log on to Online Banking and make a payment from either your Santander current account or from an account with another bank or building society.

Option 2
Set up a new payee from the Santander Mobile Banking app and make a payment. You’ll need the following details:

Sort code: 09-00-99

Account number: 01000007

Reference: your 16 digit Santander credit card number

Option 3
You can set up a bill payment from another UK bank or building society using the details in option 2. You’ll need to contact your bank to do this.

Option 4
You can also make cash and cheque payments over the counter in any of our branches. You’ll need your credit card details to hand. Please allow one working day for cash payments to clear and 7 working days for cheques to clear.

Taking out a loan to pay off your balance. If you can take out a personal loan charging less interest than your card you’ll have one monthly repayment at a fixed rate, and there will be no new interest charges to increase what you owe.

If you've received a letter to say you've been in persistent debt for 36 months and you're considering a loan, please call us on 0330 678 2440. Before applying take a look at the Key Facts Document (782 KB) and Terms and Conditions. (83 KB)

There are a number of organisations that can give you free impartial debt advice. These organisations aren’t linked with Santander and they can help you manage your creditors and debt problems. 

You can find independent help and support here.

Was this helpful?

Ask us a question

We'll help you get the

 answers you need

Do your banking online

Ways for you to manage your

 money without leaving home