Help if I can't pay

Our advice

  • If you’re having trouble meeting any repayments or paying your bills, you should do everything you can to prevent your car, home or household goods from being repossessed.
  • The National Credit Code allows you to get help if you’re unable to make repayments due to temporary hardship like illness or unemployment.
  • Contact your credit provider immediately if you think you may have a problem. You can apply to have your payments suspended or varied due to personal hardship. You should never ignore the problem.
  • If you’re unable to reach an agreement, you can contact your credit provider's external dispute resolution scheme, a financial counsellor, or get legal advice about how to apply to the court to have your contract changed.

Where to go for help

We provide advice on your consumer rights. We don’t offer financial advice but there are people who can. Here are some organisations who can help you.


Centrelink provides financial support on top of regular entitlements. You may be eligible for:

  • a crisis payment for people experiencing severe financial hardship
  • a pharmaceutical allowance to cover the cost of prescription medicines
  • rent assistance
  • telephone allowance.

Centrelink also has tools and resources to help you manage your money. Go to the Centrelink website or call 13 10 21 for more information.

Financial counsellors

Community financial counselling services can help if you’re experiencing problems with debt. They operate throughout NSW and provide free, confidential advice on financial matters.

After assessing your financial situation, trained counsellors will:

  • prepare a full financial assessment and provide options for change and improvement
  • detail the availability of any government assistance
  • negotiate, advocate and mediate with credit providers and government agencies
  • assist with information on debt recovery, bankruptcy and other paralegal matters
  • refer you to other sources of assistance, for example Legal Aid, personal counselling and government services.

Visit the Financial Counsellors' Association website for more information or call 1300 914 408.

Other helpful resources

  • Financial Counsellor's Association of NSW can help you find your nearest independent financial counsellor who can provide free, confidential advice on financial matters. Call 1300 914 408.
  • Legal Aid can help with your credit/debt problems and determine if you qualify for further assistance. Also has information on mortgage stress. Phone 1300 888 529.
  • Credit and Debt Hotline provides free financial counselling, information, advice and referrals. Call 1800 007 007.
  • Australian Financial Security Authority (AFSA) provides information on bankruptcy and its alternatives. Call 1300 364 785.
  • MoneySmart is an ASIC website with lots of free, unbiased information and tools to help you with your finances.
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