There is help and advice available.

If you find yourself in financial difficulties or you have already fallen into debt to an illegal money lender, there is help out there...

An incident / crime is considered to be an emergency if the incident is in progress and there is, or is likely to be:

  • a risk to life;
  • use, or immediate threat of use, of violence;
  • serious injury caused to a person;
  • serious damage caused to a property; or
  • an offender disturbed, or detained, at the scene who poses, or is likely to pose, a risk to other people.

In such circumstances, you should call the Police Service of Northern Ireland emergency line on 999.

If there is no immediate threat but you wish to report a crime or concerns about illegal money lending or problems relating to illegal money lending, then please call the Police Service of Northern Ireland non-emergency line on 101.

If you wish to report a crime anonymously, you may also contact the independent charity, Crimestoppers, on 0800 555 111.

If you are having problems with:

  • household budgeting
  • financial difficulties
  • debts that you are struggling to manage

we have compiled a list of organisations below who may be able to help with budgeting, debt management, and identifying alternative ethical lenders.


Advice NI is a membership organisation for the independent advice network in Northern Ireland. Their members offer free, independent, high quality advice on issues such as benefits, debt, housing, employment, tax and consumer rights. Advice NI also provides a range of advice services, which you can access through a dedicated Freephone or email.



Phone   028 9064 5919 (General advice) or 0800 028 1881 (Debt advice)


Christians Against Poverty can help if you are feeling the weight of debt, struggling to find work or just need a bit of help budgeting. They provide free Debt Help, Job Clubs, Life Skills groups and CAP Money courses. CAP can provide a home visit, work out a realistic budget that prioritises your essential bills and can negotiate affordable payments with each creditor. CAP can help you to set up a debt management plan, walk you through insolvency options and clients are supported by CAP until they are debt-free. All CAP's services are given freely for everyone regardless of age, gender, faith or background. CAP works across Northern Ireland and all support is given locally with the support of a dedicated Head Office team.



Phone   0800 328 0006


Consumerline provides free, independent support and advice for all consumers and businesses in Northern Ireland on behalf of the Trading Standards Service. Consumerline helps you avoid scams, dodgy deals, make a complaint and stay informed with consumer law. One of the areas Trading Standards deals with is the regulation of consumer credit.


Phone   0300 123 6262 (Mon - Thu: 9am to 5pm, Fri: 9am to 4pm)


The Money Advice Service is an independent service, set up by government to help people make the most of their money. They give free, unbiased money advice to everyone across the UK – online, over the phone or via webchat.


Phone   0800 138 7777 (Freephone) or 0115 9659570


Each year in Northern Ireland, the Society spends almost £3m on those in need and most vulnerable in our communities. As well as expending this in direct financial assistance, other essential items such as food, fuel and household items are also given in support. They offer a confidential, person-centred, non-judgemental service to individuals and families, whoever or wherever they are. Home visitation is the cornerstone of their work. SVP is a member-led organisation and their pool of almost 1,800 volunteers work tirelessly to meet the needs of those seeking help and support. SVP also has 180 local Conferences across the Region.


Phone   028 9035 1561


For 25 years, StepChange Debt Charity has been helping people resolve problems, repay debts and rebuild lives. They are the UK’s largest provider of genuinely free independent debt advice and managed solutions, helping 620,000 people a year deal with problem debt. They provide expert tailored advice via a freephone helpline 0800 138 1111 (Mon – Fri: 8am-8pm, Sat: 8am-4pm), or online at any time via our debt advice tool.


Phone   0800 138 1111 (Freephone)


The Trussell Trust supports communities and churches to open food banks across the UK. Food banks provide a minimum of three day's emergency food and support to people in crisis. The food banks work with frontline professionals to identify people in need and issue them with a food bank voucher. These include local agencies such as children's centres, housing associations, advice charities and mental health teams, who are best placed to assess need.


If you feel you have no alternative but to borrow money, you may wish to contact your local credit union to see if they may be able to help. You can find the details of your local credit union by contacting one of the credit union organisations below.

Alternatively, there are other ethical lenders available. Details of some of these are also listed below.


The Irish League of Credit Unions is a trade and representative body for 92 credit unions in Northern Ireland. Credit unions provide a range of savings and loan services. To find out more, including contact details of your local credit union, please visit our website.



The Ulster Federation of Credit Unions is a trade body overseeing the 39 affiliated credit unions in Northern Ireland. Their purpose is to advise and inform affiliated credit unions in Northern Ireland with the aim of improving overall governance, introducing the concept of responsible lending, and helping affiliated credit unions understand their anti-money laundering responsibilities. Credit unions provide affordable credit for all their members in Northern Ireland.

Phone   028 9030 1204


Fair For You is a not-for-profit community interest company established to provide an alternative to high-cost “rent-to-own” services. FairForYou allows customers to buy essential items for their home, with flexible credit and repayments tailored to their income.



Scotcash is a not-for-profit social enterprise offering loans as an alternative to home credit, payday lenders and rent-to-own retailers. They provide financial products and services to those who have difficulty accessing mainstream sources, such as banks and building societies. Although they are based in Glasgow, their services are open to anyone living in the United Kingdom.



Phone   0141 276 0525 or 0131 553 7951