Financial counselling

Help with your finances

Financial counselling is a free service offered by community organisations, community legal centres and some government agencies. Financial counsellors can help you solve your money problems.

How to find a financial counsellor

If you're struggling with debt, seek help straight away. There are far more options if you get advice early.

National Debt Helpline  1800 007 007 

The free hotline is open from 9:30am to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday. When you call this number you will be automatically transferred to the phone service in your state (opening hours can differ in different states). Calls from mobile phones may incur a fee from the mobile phone carrier. 

You can also visit the National Debt Helpline website for information and resources that can help if you're struggling with debt.

Find your nearest financial counsellor

Use our map to search for a financial counsellor. 

Financial counsellor map thumbnail

If you are struggling with your debts

Search for a financial counsellor now

Free legal advice

Other organisations can also provide legal services to help you. Visit National Legal Aid for more information or see free legal advice.

Crisis support

Call Lifeline's 24-hour crisis support service on 13 11 14 or try their crisis support chat service if you need emotional support.

What financial counsellors do

Financial counsellors provide a free, confidential and independent service.

Financial counsellors can: 

  • Suggest ways to improve your financial situation 
  • See if you are eligible for government assistance 
  • Negotiate repayment arrangements with your creditors 
  • Explain your options and their consequences, including debt recovery procedures, bankruptcy and other alternatives 
  • Help you apply for a hardship variation
  • Help you organise your finances and do a budget
  • Refer you to other services, for example, a gambling helpline, family support, personal counselling or community legal aid

Financial counsellors can also help with the following problems: 

  • Debts that you are struggling to pay 
  • Threatening letters or harassment by debt collectors
  • Debt recovery through the courts 
  • House eviction, disconnection of gas, electricity, phone etc 
  • Uninsured car accidents, taxation debts and unpaid fines

See our video about Tran who sees a financial counsellor when he struggles to pay his mortgage.

Video: Financial counsellors and how they can help

What is Financial Counselling?

This video explains the role of financial counsellors and how they can help you sort out your money problems.

Transcript: Financial counsellors and how they can help

Financial counselling for rural businesses

The Department of Agriculture runs a Rural Financial Counselling Service to support primary producers, fishermen and small rural businesses that are suffering financial hardship. Call 1800 686 175 for details.

Debt consolidation vs Financial counselling

Other businesses provide services to help people struggling with debt but they charge fees and are really debt consolidation companies. They charge their fees either up front or as a commission on the new loan.

Be cautious and find out what services you are getting from these businesses and how much it will cost you. You may be able to get the same services from a financial counsellor for free.

Debt consolidation companies must be licensed by ASIC. Search ASIC Connect's Professional Registers to check your credit provider has been licensed or you can phone ASIC's Infoline on 1300 300 630.

For more information on debt consolidation see consolidating and refinancing debts.

If you are having financial difficulties, contact a financial counsellor as soon as possible. They can help you come up with a plan to sort out your money problems.

Related links

Last updated: 29 Sep 2017