Guidelines for using the letter templates

This advice applies to Scotland. See advice for See advice for England, See advice for Northern Ireland, See advice for Wales

To sort out your debt problems you'll usually need to contact your creditors to tell them about your situation and to ask them to accept your repayment plan.

To help you with this, we've created a set of letter templates which you can use to write to your non-priority creditors. Debts owed to non-priority creditors are things like credit card debts, overdrafts and other unsecured loans.

The letter templates help you to write to creditors in different situations. You can't change the main text of the letters but you can add your own details like your name, address and the reasons why you can't pay the money.

For more information about which debts are non-priority debts and contacting creditors, see help with debt.

When to use the letters

If you have priority debts, you'll also need to talk to your priority creditors and make arrangements to pay any arrears, before you sort out your non-priority debts. Priority debts are things such as rent, mortgage, council tax, fuel bills or fines.

For more information about priority debts, see Dealing with urgent debts.

Check if your creditor can still take action against you

Your creditors have a limited time to take you to court to repay a debt. For most debts, the time limit is 5 years. The time limit might restart if you write to your creditor or make a payment. If it’s a joint debt, this includes if the other person makes a payment. 

If you haven’t got court papers after 5 years, your debt becomes ‘extinguished’. This means your creditor can’t usually take court action to get their money back - but some creditors might try to argue against this.  

Don’t use a template letter if:

  • it’s been over 5 years, because your creditor might not be able to force you to pay

  • it will soon be 5 years, because contacting your creditor might restart the time limit.

Check if the time limit has passed or will pass soon. If you’re not sure, talk to an adviser.

Which letter to use

You'll need a different letter depending on what you want to ask your creditors for. Here's a list of the letters and when to use them:

Holding letter

You can use this letter to ask your creditors to hold off for a short period while you work out your budget or get advice. It’s a good idea to send this letter as soon as possible, to give you time to work out your budget or get advice.

Offer to non-priority creditors letter

You can use this letter when you have some money available to offer your non-priority creditors. You can use a Budgeting tool to work out your budget and fair offers to each of your non-priority creditors.

No money to offer creditors letter

You can use this letter when you have no money available to offer to your non-priority creditors. You can use a Budgeting tool to work out your budget and to see whether you have money available to pay your non-priority creditors.

Request to write off the debt letter

You can use this letter when you can't make an offer of repayment and your circumstances aren't going to improve.

Ending a hire purchase or conditional sale agreement letter

You can use this letter to end a hire purchase or conditional sale agreement. You might need to do this if you can't afford the payments any more. Before using this letter, it might help to read our information about hire purchase and conditional sale agreements.

How the template letters work

First, you can see a sample of the letter to get an idea of what you are writing. This is a finished letter, with example details in it. Choose Write letter to start writing your own version of the letter.


Each form has a number of boxes for you to fill in with your information. For example, you will need to fill in your name and address, details of the creditor you are writing to and the reasons why you are having difficulty paying what you owe.

Each letter form is different depending on the letter you are writing.

Tips for filling in the letter forms

Here's some tips for filling in the forms:

  • before you fill in the forms, make sure you have the details of the creditors you are writing to. You will need their name and address

  • some questions have extra information to help you fill the form in correctly

  • all questions are compulsory unless they're marked as optional. This means you must write something in the box. If you miss out compulsory information an error message will appear at the top of the form and you will not be able to continue until you put in all the compulsory information

  • practice filling in the form and creating a letter before doing a final version. This will help you get used to where the information goes and what it looks like when you create a letter

  • in some of the letters you can put in information about yourself and your situation to explain why you are in debt. Think about what you want to say and write your reasons clearly in the box provided. Whatever you put will be inserted into the letter exactly as you write it

  • check the letter carefully before you print it off. You can go back to the form and change what you've written.


To see your letter, choose Preview letter at the bottom of the form. You will see a copy of your letter and can see if there is anything that you need to change. To go back to the form to make changes, choose Edit letter.


You can download your letter in an easy to use format. If you have access to a computer, this might be easier to use instead of a mobile phone or tablet.

You can also copy it to your clipboard for use in another application - for example, to send in an email.

Page last reviewed on 24 March 2021