Anyone can fall into financial hardship. Things like redundancy, illness, bereavement and relationship breakdown can be unexpected and, as well as having an enormous emotional impact, can also negatively affect people’s finances.
This is why it’s so important that Zopa’s Collections team is trained to notice when borrowers are struggling, to empathise with their situations and, when appropriate and with their agreement, to refer them or transfer them through to debt charities, like StepChange, for free advice.
The busiest day of the year for StepChange
Today StepChange expects over 20,000 people to contact them about over £50 million of debt. It will be their busiest day of the year and for those 20,000 people it will hopefully be a first step to a securer, happier debt-free future.
Through face-to-face or phone appointments with their highly trained advisers, StepChange helps people create a Debt Management Plan to get on top of their finances. As it’s a charity, the service is completely free so the people who come to them can put every penny towards getting debt-free.
Working with people in arrears
Pointing people towards StepChange is one of the things we do to help borrowers who are struggling with debt. You can read in detail about our arrears process, but at its core is treating all of our customers fairly and with respect. We always look to come to an arrangement that gives customers time to get back on their feet and, unlike many companies, we don’t charge our customers late payment fees while they are in arrears. Of course, if necessary, we will take further action to recover our lenders’ funds, but not until all other avenues are exhausted.
Our customers are at the heart of Zopa’s business, which is why we support the work of StepChange and other charities in raising awareness of financial hardship and helping people move through it. As part of their January campaign, StepChange will be tweeting about their busiest day of the year on the hashtag #DebtDay. Click the link to follow the conversation.
Like on any other day, we’ll be referring people in financial hardship to StepChange, but you don’t need to wait for a referral to get their help and advice; you can always go them direct, either via their website or by calling 0800 138 111, which is free including for mobiles.