Getting free financial help and information

There are many ways to get free financial help and information. But it also pays to know when you might need the type of advice free services can’t provide.

Sources of free financial help

You can get free financial help and information from:

  • Charities
  • Government-led or government-backed services – including the Money Advice Service
  • Commercial organisations like comparison websites or magazines

While these services may offer reliable sources of help and guidance and give you information about different options, they don’t offer what is known as ‘regulated’ financial advice. This means that if you buy a financial product based only on the information you receive from them, you alone are responsible for the decisions you make. You will also have fewer rights if the product turns out to be unsuitable. See more about regulated advice in When to pay for financial advice below.

The following organisations offer help and information on a range of money issues including tax, benefits, appeals, credit and debt, housing and buying financial products.

Most are free, although for organisations such as Which? you may have to pay a subscription for some of the services. We’ve grouped them into broad categories to help you pick out the most relevant for your needs.

Sources of general money advice

Here at the Money Advice Service, we provide free and unbiased help and guidance on all money matters. Our service is available online, over the telephone and face to face and is backed by government. Below is a list of other useful sources:

  • Which?campaigns for consumer rights and provides general money advice through its website, magazine, money helpline and legal service. It is a subscription-based service, so you have to pay to be a member to access the money helpline, legal service and magazines. However, much of the money information on its website is free.
  • Citizens Advice Bureau provides free online help on many issues, including debt, benefits, money, employment and consumer rights. For face-to-face advice search for a Citizens Advice Bureau near you.
  • Citizens Advice Scotland offers advice on benefits, debt and money – find your nearest branch to make an appointment
  • Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulates the financial services industry in the UK. If you use a financial adviser you can check the FCA register to make sure the firm you’re dealing with is regulated. There’s also information about financial products, possible scams and how you can protect your money on their website and through their consumer helpline. Call 0800 111 6768 (freephone) or 0300 500 8082 from 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday (except public holidays) and 9am to 1pm, Saturday.
  • MoneySavingExpert.comis a useful source, especially for offering tips on saving money. It is free to use although the site may receive payment if you click through to some of the links offered.
  • Media such as newspapers, magazines and the BBC (and their related websites).
  • The Pensions Advisory Service provides free guidance on all pension matters. It also helps with problems, complaints or disputes you might have with your workplace or private pension arrangement. Its telephone helpline 0845 601 2923 is staffed by pension specialists.

Other sources

Advice services aimed at over 50s

  • AgeUK provides money advice aimed at the over-50s.
  • TaxHelp for Older People is an independent and free tax advice service for older people on low incomes who can’t afford professional advice.

Free debt advice

The following organisations offer free, impartial support and advice to anyone in debt, worried about debt or facing bankruptcy.

Find out more in our guide Where to go to get free debt advice

Free tax advice

  • Low Incomes Tax Reform Group provides tax help for people on low incomes including students, pensioners and the disabled. They can’t help people directly but can direct you to further help from their website.
  • TaxHelp for Older People is an independent and free tax advice service for older people on low incomes who can’t afford professional advice.
  • Taxaid is a charity which helps people on low income with their tax affairs.

Bankruptcy and redundancy pay problems

For information about bankruptcy or how to get redundancy if your employer can’t or won’t pay, contact the Insolvency Service.

  • The Insolvency Service deals with the affairs of bankrupts, individuals subject to debt relief orders and companies and partnerships wound up by the court. It also acts as trustee/liquidator where no private insolvency practitioner is appointed.

When to pay for financial advice

Financial advisers are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and therefore provide regulated financial advice. Regulated advisers can only recommend and sell you products that are suitable for you. If they sell you an inappropriate product or give you inappropriate advice, you can make a complaint and if necessary take your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Deciding whether to use a regulated financial adviser depends on how complicated your finances are and what type of product or service you want. If you’re looking for a basic savings product or straightforward car or house insurance, you may not need regulated financial advice. However, if it’s something more complicated like a pension, investment or mortgage, don’t risk going it alone unless you are very sure you know what you’re doing. If you’re not, then get advice from a regulated professional – not doing so could cost you far more than you will pay in fees.