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Your safety
Only take the actions below if it is safe to do so. You are the best judge of whether making any changes might lead to further harm. In an emergency, call 999.

Separating your finances

If you have experienced economic abuse and are leaving the abuser, you will be making some very brave decisions and taking some very important steps to reach safety. There can be a lot to consider as you build a strong economic position for yourself. 

This information is designed to support you to think about the ways in which you are financially linked with the abuser. It provides information on how you can break those links to regain control of your own finances.

De-linking checklist  

You may wish to use this checklist alongside the information on this page to ensure you have considered all the financial links that you may have with the abuser.

View or download the checklist here.

Gathering information 

To fully separate your finances from the abuser, it will be useful to gather as much information as you can about your financial situation. This may not be easy if the abuser withheld this information from you throughout the relationship, or opened accounts or took out credit in your name without your knowledge. 

If you can, try to find out: 

  • Do you have assets, such as a property, car or savings? 
  • Are there debts in your name (or joint names), such as a credit card, mortgage or loan? 
  • If you are renting, is the tenancy agreement in your name? 
  • Are you responsible for the bills? 
  • Do you have a bank account in your name? 

Your bank or building society might be able to help you find out some of this information. Many banks and building societies have signed up to the UK Finance 2021 Financial Abuse Code, which means they have committed to inform people who have experienced domestic abuse, including economic abuse, about assets and liabilities held in their name. Ask your bank if this is a service they can offer you. It helps to speak to someone in the vulnerable customer team. 

If it is safe to do so, take copies of any important documents you can gather. You may need these for things like accessing benefits, opening a bank account or starting a new job. Important documents include: 

  • passport (and your children’s) 
  • driving license 
  • birth certificate (and your children’s) 
  • bank statements 
  • documents related to your home ownership or rental agreement 
  • utility bills in your name, including gas, electricity, water and TV license 
  • details of any credit cards in joint names 
  • pay slips, a P45 or P60 
  • details of any benefits you are receiving 
  • National Insurance number 
  • account details or savings books for your children’s accounts 

If you are unable to take the original documents safely, scanned copies, photos or a screenshot of the documents may also be useful. If you can’t take copies, try to note down or memorise any important information, such as bank account numbers, or your National Insurance number. 

Apps such as Bright Sky let you upload photos in a secure way, without any content being saved on the device you use. 

Banking 

“The abuse started with how we organised our bank accounts when we first lived together. We opened a joint account for household bills but within a year, he had transferred all his own direct debits to the joint account.”

Reporting economic abuse to your bank or building society can be daunting, but this can be an important step to help you reach economic safety. 

There is a lot that the bank can do to support you. They may be able to suggest ways of delinking your finances from those of the abuser, and of ensuring any new banking information is safe and secure to help prevent further abuse. 

You can use our Banking Support Directory to search for your bank or building society. It contains information about the support that many major banks and building societies can offer, and how you can get in touch.

Allied Irish Bank (AIB) – Great Britain

Financial Abuse Code Signatory

Support available for vulnerable customers

  • AIB can support you to remove any third-party access to your account/s.
  • If you are an existing personal customer and have a poor credit score through no fault of your own, AIB may be able to support you to access lending.

Information on economic or financial abuse from this bank

Visit website

How to get in touch

Contact the Additional Support Helpline on 0345 646 0318 (Mon–Fri, 9am–5pm).

Report a problem

Allied Irish Bank (AIB) – Northern Ireland

Financial Abuse Code Signatory

Support available for vulnerable customers

AIB can support you to:

  • remove any third-party access to your account/s
  • open a personal account in your sole name even if you don’t have access to standard forms of identification.

If you are an existing personal customer and have a poor credit score through no fault of your own, AIB may be able to support you to access lending.

Information on economic or financial abuse from this bank

Visit website

How to get in touch

Contact the Additional Support Helpline on 0345 646 0318 (Mon–Fri, 9am–5pm).

Report a problem

Atom Bank

Financial Abuse Code Signatory

Support available for vulnerable customers

Atom Bank has not listed the specific support they can offer to customers who have experienced economic or financial abuse. They have a general support team that may be able to support vulnerable customers with a range of issues.

Information on economic or financial abuse from this bank

Visit website

How to get in touch

  • Contact the main Customer Support Team on 0333 399 0050 (8am–8pm).
  • You can also get in touch via the live chat service on the app.
Report a problem

Bank of Ireland UK

Financial Abuse Code Signatory

Support available for vulnerable customers

Bank of Ireland has a specialist support team that can:

  • support you to separate your accounts
  • freeze joint accounts
  • send you new cards and PINs
  • send correspondence to a safe address
  • change your banking passwords
  • give you information on accounts held with them in you name
  • support you to review your budget and discuss any debts held with them.

Information on economic or financial abuse from this bank

Visit website

How to get in touch

  • Bank of Ireland has an online form you can use to give information about how you would like to be contacted and when it is safe for you to speak. The form allows you to add a safe word which you can use during the call if it is not safe to talk.
  • Customers in Great Britain can Contact the Customer Service Desk on 0345 850 1234.
  • Customers in Northern Ireland can call 0345 6016 157 for general enquiries.
Report a problem

Bank of Scotland

Financial Abuse Code Signatory

Support available for vulnerable customers

Bank of Scotland has a dedicated support team for customers who have experienced financial abuse. They can offer support with:

  • joint accounts
  • opening a new account
  • debts, lending and mortgages
  • important documents you might need.

Information on economic or financial abuse from this bank

Visit website

How to get in touch

  • Contact the dedicated support team for customers who have experienced financial abuse on 0800 1218 278 (Mon–Fri, 8am–6pm).
  • There is an online form you can complete to ask the dedicated support team to contact you at a time that is safe for you to talk.
  • Support is also available via the app. When logged in, select ‘Support’ and then ‘Message us 24/7’. Type ‘financial abuse’ or ‘domestic abuse’ and then select ‘send’ to go through to an agent.
This bank has a specialist domestic and financial abuse team
Report a problem

Barclays

Financial Abuse Code Signatory

Support available for vulnerable customers

Barclays can provide support with issues including:

  • account security
  • opening a new account
  • changing how you receive statements and letters
  • removing the abuser as a named cardholder from your credit cards
  • removing you from any joint accounts or freezing joint accounts.

Information on economic or financial abuse from this bank

Visit website

How to get in touch

  • You can use the online form to specify a time when it’s safe for the bank to contact you. You can choose whether the bank contacts you by phone, email or text message.
  • If you’d prefer not to talk to someone face-to-face or over the phone, you can send a message in the online banking app.
  • You can also contact the customer support team on 0345 600 4545 (Mon–Sun, 8am–9pm).
Report a problem

Citibank

Support available for vulnerable customers

Citibank can offer support including:

  • securing your account and helping you change passwords, login details and PIN information
  • opening a bank account in your name only
  • updating the signing authority for your account
  • providing financial assistance and guidance.

    Information on economic or financial abuse from this bank

    Visit website

    How to get in touch

    This bank has not provided specific contact details for vulnerable customers.

    You can send a secure online message from your online banking profile page.

    Report a problem

    Clydesdale Bank

    Financial Abuse Code Signatory

    Support available for vulnerable customers

    Clydesdale Bank has a Financial Care Team that can help you to improve your financial position and take control of your money.

    Information on economic or financial abuse from this bank

    Visit website

    How to get in touch

    Contact the Financial Care Team on 0800 141 2261 (Mon–Fri, 8am–7pm and Sat, 9am–1pm).

    Report a problem

    Co-operative Bank

    Financial Abuse Code Signatory

    Support available for vulnerable customers

    Co-operative Bank has a dedicated financial support team that can offer support with:

    • understanding payments on your account
    • resetting your login details or changing your card PINs
    • explaining your options if you have a joint account
    • setting up a new account
    • dealing with any debts.

    They offer a ‘Safe Space‘ in branch for people experiencing domestic abuse to make it easier for you to access support.

    Co-operative Bank has a partnership with Citizens Advice offering free financial help.

    If you’re worried someone is watching what you’re doing online, Co-operative Bank has an economic abuse pop-up. It won’t show in your browser history. The link is at the bottom of all of their webpages.

    Information on economic or financial abuse from this bank

    Visit website

    How to get in touch

    • Contact the dedicated financial support team on 0800 781 1493 (Mon–Fri, 8am–6pm and Sat–Sun, 9am–5pm).
    • The financial abuse web page includes an online form. You can use this form to request contact from the team in a way that is safe for you and at a time that suits you.
    Report a problem

    Dankse Bank

    Support available for vulnerable customers

    Where appropriate, Dankse Bank will tailor solutions to your circumstances and work with you to make your banking safe and secure. They offer general support to customers who may be vulnerable.

    Information on economic or financial abuse from this bank

    Visit website

    How to get in touch

    • If you need additional support, you can contact Dankse Bank on 0345 601 0089 (Mon–Fri, 8am–6pm and Sat 9am-1pm, closed on Sun).
    • You can use the online service to send a secure message through your mobile app (Messages > click the pencil icon) or eBanking (under Contact > New message).
    • If you would prefer to speak to someone face-to-face, you can visit any of the branches.
    Report a problem

    First Direct

    Financial Abuse Code Signatory

    Support available for vulnerable customers

    First Direct can offer support including:

    • arranging a new card and PIN and updating login details
    • changing your contact preferences and sending mail to a different address
    • suspending joint accounts
    • removing a secondary cardholder
    • support if you are in debt
    • support if there has been fraudulent activity on your account.

    Information on economic or financial abuse from this bank

    Visit website

    How to get in touch

    • There is an online form you can use to request a call back at a time when it’s safe for you to talk. The call will come from an unknown number.
    • You can send a message online via the app or via online banking. You can also speak to the general customer support team on 03456 100 100 (lines are open 24/7).
    Report a problem

    Halifax

    Financial Abuse Code Signatory

    Support available for vulnerable customers

    Halifax has a dedicated support team that can support customers who have experienced financial abuse. They can offer support with:

    • joint accounts
    • opening a new account
    • debts, lending and mortgages
    • important documents you might need.

    Information on economic or financial abuse from this bank

    Visit website

    How to get in touch

    • Contact the dedicated support team on 0800 0854 475 (Mon–Fri, 8am–6pm).
    • There is an online form you can complete to ask the dedicated support team to contact you at a time that is safe for you to talk.
    • You can send a message through the mobile banking app if you are not ready to talk.
    This bank has a specialist domestic and financial abuse team
    Report a problem

    HSBC UK

    Financial Abuse Code Signatory

    Support available for vulnerable customers

    HSBC UK can offer support with:

    • receiving a new card
    • changing PINs and passwords
    • changing your correspondence address
    • changing who can access your account
    • managing joint accounts
    • removing secondary cardholders from a credit card
    • managing debt.

    HSBC UK branches offer a ‘Safe Space‘ for people experiencing domestic abuse to make it easier for you to access support.

    Information on economic or financial abuse from this bank

    Visit website

    How to get in touch

    • HSBC UK has an online form you can use to request a callback from the support team at a time when it’s safe for you to talk. The call will come from an unknown number. You will be asked if it’s safe for you to talk, and the call will be ended if you say no.
    • To get in touch directly, call the main Customer Support line on 03457 404 404 (Mon–Sun, 8am–8pm).
    • You can also chat directly through the app, or log in to online banking and look for the chat icon on the right hand side.
    • There is a specialist team you can contact if you are struggling to make debt repayments. Call 0345 850 0622 (Mon–Fri, 8am–6pm and Sat, 8am–4pm).
    Report a problem

    Ikano Bank

    Support available for vulnerable customers

    Ikano Bank will share the information about your circumstances with staff as needed so that you only need to tell your story once.

    Information on economic or financial abuse from this bank

    Visit website

    How to get in touch

    • There is an online form to complete to tell the bank how they can support you and how it is most convenient for them to contact you.
    • There is a specific line to call if you need extra support:
      • IKEA customers: 0371 781 3077 (Mon–Sat, 9am–6pm and Sun, 10am–6pm)
      • All other Ikano Bank credit account holders: 0344 856 5355 (Mon–Fri, 9am–12pm and 1pm–4.30pm)
    Report a problem

    Leeds Building Society

    Support available for vulnerable customers

    Leeds Building Society can offer practical support to help you take back control of your money. This could include:

    • passing your information onto their Specialist Customer Support Team, so they can look at ways to provide additional help if you feel you need it
    • logging what you tell them and any support required so you don’t need to tell them again next time you get in touch
    • helping you understand the payments going in and out of your account
    • providing you with guidance on resetting your login details for your online account
    • letting you know your options if you have a joint account
    • setting up a new savings account including, in some cases, if you don’t have all the usual documents
    • working out a budget.

    Information on economic or financial abuse from this bank

    Visit website

    How to get in touch

    Contact the Specialist Customer Support Team via the main contact centre on 03450 50 50 75 (Mon–Fri, 8am–6pm and Sat, 9am–5pm).

    Report a problem

    Lloyds Bank

    Financial Abuse Code Signatory

    Support available for vulnerable customers

    Lloyds Bank has a support team that is dedicated solely to providing specialist support to customers who have experienced financial abuse.

    They can offer support with:

    • managing joint accounts
    • opening a new account
    • debt, lending and mortgages
    • important documents you might need.

    Customers can request a non-geographical sort code for bank accounts.

    Information on economic or financial abuse from this bank

    Visit website

    How to get in touch

    • Contact the dedicated support team on 0800 0665 703 (Mon–Fri, 8am–6pm).
    • There is an online form you can complete to ask the dedicated support team to contact you at a time that is safe for you to talk.
    • You can send a message through the mobile banking app if you are not ready to talk.
    This bank has a specialist domestic and financial abuse team
    Report a problem

    M&S Bank

    Financial Abuse Code Signatory

    Support available for vulnerable customers

    M&S Bank can offer support with:

    • receiving a new card and PIN
    • changing passwords
    • changing your correspondence address
    • removing secondary cardholders from a credit card
    • managing debt
    • fraudulent activity on your account.

    Information on economic or financial abuse from this bank

    Visit website

    How to get in touch

    • There is an online form for customers who are experiencing financial or domestic abuse. You can use the form to request a call back from the specialist support team at a time when it’s convenient to talk. The call will come from an unknown number.
    • To get in touch with M&S Bank directly, call 0345 900 0900.
    Report a problem

    MBNA

    Financial Abuse Code Signatory

    Support available for vulnerable customers

    MBNA has a dedicated support team for customers who have experienced financial abuse. They can offer support with:

    • opening a new account
    • lending and mortgages
    • important documents you might need
    • queries related to additional cardholders.

    Information on economic or financial abuse from this bank

    Visit website

    How to get in touch

    • Contact the dedicated support team on 0800 028 0428 (Mon–Fri, 8am–6pm).
    • There is an online form you can complete to ask the dedicated support team to contact you at a time that is safe for you to talk.
    • You can send a message through the mobile banking app if you are not ready to talk.
    This bank has a specialist domestic and financial abuse team
    Report a problem

    Metro Bank

    Financial Abuse Code Signatory

    Support available for vulnerable customers

    Metro Bank has Specialist Support team that can support you to:

    • receive a new debit card/PIN
    • re-set online banking security
    • change your correspondence address
    • set up a new bank account which isn’t connected to any existing joint accounts
    • adding or removing other people from your banking accounts.

    They can make a confidential note of your situation on your file so that you don’t need to repeat your story each time you get in touch. They also offer a ‘Safe Space’ in branch for people experiencing domestic abuse to make it easier for you to access support.

    Information on economic or financial abuse from this bank

    Visit website

    How to get in touch

    Contact the Specialist Support team on 0345 450 3256 (Mon–Fri, 9am–5pm).

    Report a problem

    Monzo

    Support available for vulnerable customers

    Monzo has a specialist support team who are trained to support customers with their account. They can support you to:

    • change your preferences so Monzo gets in touch in a way and at a time that’s safe for you
    • agree a codeword to use to help you feel safe speaking on the phone
    • block payments to and from other Monzo users in the app if you’re getting unwanted payment references
    • help you set customised ATM and card limits
    • stop borrowing (such as going into an overdraft or taking out a loan) on your account
    • regain control of your accounts
    • ensure your device is the only one logged in to your account
    • manage joint accounts.

    Monzo have non-geographical sort codes as standard when you open a new account.

    Information on economic or financial abuse from this bank

    Visit website

    How to get in touch

    • You can use the in-app ‘Share with us’ feature to report domestic or financial abuse. Tap the ‘Help’ icon in the Monzo app. Search for ‘Talking to us about domestic and financial abuse’ and tap ‘Tell us more’.
    • You can chat in the app or ask for a call back at a time that’s safe for you (you can request this via the chat function).
    • You can phone the team on 0800 802 1281.
    Report a problem

    Natwest

    Financial Abuse Code Signatory

    Support available for vulnerable customers

    Natwest has a specialist team that can support customers to:

    • manage joint accounts
    • open a new account that is unconnected to any joint accounts
    • ensure letters from the bank are delivered to a secure address
    • control who can access your banking cards, PINs and passwords.

    Information on economic or financial abuse from this bank

    Visit website

    How to get in touch

    • Contact the specialist support team via the main Customer Support Team on 03457 888 444 (Mon–Sun, 8am–8pm).
    • There is also an online form you can complete if you have experienced economic or financial abuse. You can provide details of how the specialist team can safely contact you.
    Report a problem

    Nationwide Building Society

    Financial Abuse Code Signatory

    Support available for vulnerable customers

    Nationwide can provide support by:

    • helping you understand the payments going in and out of your account
    • resetting login details for your internet banking, or changing card PINs
    • explaining your options if you have a joint account
    • setting up a new current account or savings account
    • sending your bank statements to a different address
    • helping you deal with any debts.

    Information on economic or financial abuse from this bank

    Visit website

    How to get in touch

    Contact the Specialist Support Team on 0800 917 23 93 (Mon–Fri, 9am–5pm and Sat, 9am–1pm).

    Report a problem

    Royal Bank of Scotland

    Financial Abuse Code Signatory

    Support available for vulnerable customers

    Royal Bank of Scotland can support you to:

    • manage joint accounts
    • open a new account that is unconnected to any joint accounts
    • ensure letters from the bank are delivered to a secure address
    • control who can access your banking cards, PINs and passwords.

    Information on economic or financial abuse from this bank

    Visit website

    How to get in touch

    • Contact the specialist support team via the main Customer Support Team on 03457 24 24 24 (Mon–Sun, 8am–8pm).
    • There is also an online form you can complete if you have experienced economic or financial abuse. You can provide details of how the specialist team can safely contact you.
    Report a problem

    Santander

    Financial Abuse Code Signatory

    Support available for vulnerable customers

    Santander has a ‘Tell us once’ initiative. This means that details of your story will be kept on your file, with your consent, so you don’t need to repeat it every time you get in touch.

    Branches offer a ‘Safe Space‘ for people experiencing domestic abuse to access support.

    Information on economic or financial abuse from this bank

    Visit website

    How to get in touch

    • Start a chat in mobile or online banking with ‘tell us once’ and the details will be recorded on your file.
    • To speak to someone over the phone, call the main Customer Support team on 0800 313 4321 (Mon–Sun, 8am–6pm).
    Report a problem

    Smile

    Financial Abuse Code Signatory

    Support available for vulnerable customers

    Smile has a dedicated financial support team that can offer support with:

    • understanding payments on your account
    • resetting your login details or changing your card PINs
    • explaining your options if you have a joint account
    • setting up a new account
    • dealing with any debts.

    Smile is part of Co-operative Bank, which has a partnership with Citizens Advice offering free financial help.

    Information on economic or financial abuse from this bank

    Visit website

    How to get in touch

    • Contact the dedicated financial support team on 0800 781 1493 (Mon–Fri, 8am–6pm and Sat, 9am–5pm).
    • There is an online form that you can use to request contact from the team in a way that is safe for you and at a time that suits you.
    Report a problem

    Starling Bank

    Financial Abuse Code Signatory

    Support available for vulnerable customers

    • Starling Bank has a Specialist Support team that can support customers experiencing a variety of issues, including domestic abuse.
    • The app’s ‘hide references’ feature allows you to hide any payment references from the abuser.

    Information on economic or financial abuse from this bank

    Visit website

    How to get in touch

    Contact the Specialist Support team via the main Customer Service team. Available 24/7 through in-app live chat or on 020 7930 4450. Ask to speak to the Specialist Support team.

    Report a problem

    TSB Bank

    Financial Abuse Code Signatory

    Support available for vulnerable customers

    • TSB has an emergency flee fund that can provide money to help you leave an abuser.
    • They can support you to:
      • open an account in your sole name, including with an untraceable sort code
      • change your correspondence address and login information
      • protect or review joint accounts, or accounts with a secondary cardholder.
    • TSB has a pilot scheme to allow domestic abuse victims to safely open and access a bank account without standard documentation.

    Branches offer a ‘Safe Space‘ for people experiencing domestic abuse to access support.

    Information on economic or financial abuse from this bank

    Visit website

    How to get in touch

    • TSB has not provided specific contact details for vulnerable customers. You can contact the general customer support team on 03459 758 758 (Mon–Sun, 8am–8pm).
    • If you prefer not to speak over the phone, you can speak to a member of the team via the app’s online chat (Mon–Fri, 8am–5.3opm).
    Report a problem

    Ulster Bank

    Financial Abuse Code Signatory

    Support available for vulnerable customers

    Ulster Bank can support you to:

    • manage joint accounts
    • open a new account that is unconnected to any joint accounts
    • ensure letters from the bank are delivered to a secure address
    • control who can access your banking cards, PINs and passwords.

    Information on economic or financial abuse from this bank

    Visit website

    How to get in touch

    • Contact the specialist support team via the main Customer Support Team on 0345 948 2222 (Mon–Sun, 8am–8pm).
    • There is also an online form you can complete if you have experienced economic or financial abuse. You can provide details of how the specialist team can safely contact you.
    Report a problem

    West Bromwich Building Society

    Financial Abuse Code Signatory

    Support available for vulnerable customers

    The support that West Bromwich Building Society can offer will depend on your personal situation. They do not give details of specific support offered to vulnerable customers. An online case study mentions implementing protocols to help protect the customer from further abuse.

    Information on economic or financial abuse from this bank

    Visit website

    How to get in touch

    An online form is available to complete to provide details of your personal circumstances. The forms asks for information on how your circumstances may affect you managing your money, and for you to say how you would prefer to be contacted.

    Report a problem

    Yorkshire Building Society

    Financial Abuse Code Signatory

    Support available for vulnerable customers

    Yorkshire Building Society can support you to regain financial control, including providing support to:

    • open an account that’s in your name only
    • update your contact information
    • add extra passwords or limits to your account/s
    • help you choose a different way to manage your account/s
    • help prevent further debt being built up in your name.

    They can also provide longer appointments in branch in a private room.

    Information on economic or financial abuse from this bank

    Visit website

    How to get in touch

    • There is an online form to complete if you need extra support. The form gives space for you to provide information about your situation.
    • You can also call the general customer support team on 0345 1200 100 (Mon–Fri, 9am–1pm and Sat, 9am–1pm).
    Report a problem

    The bank has a duty to support you, and you won’t be penalised or blacklisted for reporting abuse and seeking their support. 

    Opening a new bank account
    Click to show

    If you do not already have a bank account in your own name, this will help you delink from the abuser as it will allow you to receive benefits or wages and to pay bills independently.

    If you previously had a joint account with the abuser and/or know where they bank, open an account with a different bank. This will avoid the risk of the abuser getting access to your new address through accounts being linked.

    See our resource on opening a bank account for more information on doing this safely.

    Closing a joint bank account
    Click to show

    Normally, both parties have to agree for a joint bank account to be closed. However, banks and building societies that have committed to the UK Finance 2021 Financial Abuse Code may not insist on this.

    You should be able to close a joint account without the consent of the abuser as long as the balance is zero. It won’t be possible to close a joint bank account if you are in your overdraft, unless you are in a position to pay it off.

    If it isn’t possible to close the account, you may be able to freeze the account instead.

    Freezing a joint bank account
    Click to show

    If you are unable to close a joint account, you can ask the bank to freeze the account instead. This will prevent the abuser from withdrawing all the money from the account or from incurring an overdraft, which you would be jointly liable for. You may want to withdraw money before freezing the account, as you will not be able to do so when it is frozen.

    Unfreezing the account will usually require the consent of all named account holders. Remember that freezing the account will mean that any standing orders and direct debits will not be paid.

    Remember that using a joint account after you have left could give the abuser access to your location (eg through cash machine locations or on bank statements).

    Separating credit card access
    Click to show

    A credit card is never jointly held with someone – it is always in one person’s name. The abuser may have told you that your credit card is in joint names, but this is not possible in the UK. However, there can be a secondary cardholder who is permitted to use the cardholder’s account. If the abuser is named as a secondary cardholder on your account, you can call the card issuer and ask for them to be removed. Similarly, you can remove yourself as a secondary cardholder if you have access to a credit card in your partner’s name and wish to de-link.

    Consider carefully whether closing or freezing your account or separating your credit card access could lead to further harm from the abuser. 

    Our information on how banks can help has more information that can support you. 

    “He started using the joint account for cash withdrawals when it was supposed to be for bills. He then accused me of overspending.” 

    Housing 

    Rental contract
    Click to show

    If you rent your home with the abuser and have left your property or are planning to leave, let your landlord know. It may be possible to discuss your situation with them and explain the abuse that you have experienced.

    If your rental contract means you are jointly liable for the payment of the rent with the abuser, ask your landlord if they are able to offer any flexibility. It may help to ask a domestic abuse worker to support you to speak to the landlord and explain your situation. You can find your local domestic abuse service by searching on the Women’s Aid website.

    Check if there is a break clause in the tenancy agreement that could bring the contract to an end at an earlier date. This could minimise the length of time for which you need to continue paying rent.

    Joint mortgage
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    If you are a homeowner, it is important to let your mortgage provider know that you are experiencing economic abuse. Many mortgage providers have signed up to the UK Finance 2021 Financial Abuse Code, which outlines the ways in which they have committed to supporting vulnerable customers, including customers experiencing economic abuse. Ask your mortgage provider if they have signed up to the Code and ask to speak to someone in the vulnerable customer team, if they have one, about how they can support you.

    “He was a named person on two of my credit cards as he insisted he didn’t want one himself. They were meant to be for holidays and emergencies only. At one stage there were large payments on these cards where he had used his additional card.”

    Bills 

    It is important to let those you pay bills to know of a change in your situation so that they can adapt your account and the amount you pay accordingly. 

    Contact utility providers
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    If you are leaving your home, notify utility companies, such as water, gas, electricity, internet and TV Licensing. Be sure to tell them the date that you left. This will mean you can challenge charges for any future use by the abuser and that you are not legally liable for the payment of the debt if the abuser’s use puts the account into arrears. If it is the abuser who leaves the home and the bills were in joint names, it is also important to notify utility companies of this so that your accounts can be de-linked.

    Contact the local council
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    If the local council knows the date you left the property, they can ensure that you are no longer charged for council tax and are not charged for council tax arrears incurred by the abuser. If you will be living alone after separating from the abuser, you may be able to apply for a discount on your council tax. A single person supplement is available if you are the only person aged over 18 in your home.

    Other bills
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    You may also have other bills and need to notify the provider that you are no longer at the property or that the abuser has left. This may include insurance companies, subscription services (eg TV package), and phone companies. Be as thorough as possible when thinking of all the accounts that you may have together.

    Joint benefit claims 

    If you are receiving benefits jointly with the abuser, you will need to report a change in your circumstances to begin receiving the benefits you are entitled to independently. If you claim Universal Credit, this may be the only benefit that you receive, unless you have children (see below). If you are receiving benefits under the legacy system, you may still be receiving benefits separately and need to contact more than one organisation. 

    Reporting a change in circumstances can in some cases affect the benefits that the abuser receives. If you are concerned that reporting a change in circumstance to benefit agencies could lead to further harm from the abuser, seek support from your local domestic abuse service to do this. 

    Universal Credit
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    Report changes using your Universal Credit online account if you have one or contact the Universal Credit helpline on 0800 328 5644 (Mon–Fri, 8am–6pm). Your Universal Credit online account may have a journal facility. It can be useful to use this to note the fact that you have experienced economic abuse and are separated, so this can be taken into account when future decisions are made about your situation.

    Pension Credit
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    Call the Pension Service helpline on 0800 731 0469 (Mon–Fri, 8am–6pm).

    Disability benefits
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    Call the Disability Service Centre on 0800 121 4433 (Mon–Fri, 9am–5pm) to report changes if you get Disability Living Allowance (DLA), Attendance Allowance or Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

    Housing Benefit
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    Tell your local council about changes if you get Housing Benefit.

    Child Benefit
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    You can report changes using the Child Benefit online service or call 0300 200 3100 (Mon–Fri, 8am–6pm). Note that child benefit is not part of Universal Credit, so changes will need to be reported separately even if you are claiming Universal Credit.

    Unfortunately, perpetrators of economic abuse often use tactics in relation to children as part of the way they control their victim. One way of doing this is by claiming that children are living with them after separation so that they can claim child benefit. If this is a concern for you, you may wish to seek the support of your local domestic abuse service to report any changes in relation to child benefit.

    All other benefits
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    Call Jobcentre Plus to report changes. You need to have your National Insurance number when you call.

    Joint debts 

    If you have joint debts with the abuser, such as a loan, mortgage or an overdraft on a joint bank account, these debts will keep you financially linked to the abuser until they are cleared. 

    Before taking any action to tackle your debts, it is important to speak to a qualified debt adviser. Try to find an adviser who is a member of the Institute of Money Advisers. If you are confident to do so, it will help if you explain that you are a victim of domestic abuse. This will help them take your safety into account when advising you on the best way to deal with your debts. 

    A qualified debt adviser can outline the options you may have for dealing with your debts and help you to make any important financial decisions. They may also be able to support you to contact creditors and negotiate with them on your behalf. 

    The Financial Support Line, run by Money Advice Plus with support from SEA, offers specialist money advice to people who have experienced domestic abuse. Organisations including StepChange and National Debtline also have qualified advisers trained to offer specialist debt advice. There is a list of other organisations that you may find useful on our website. 

    “I was always the one that said we could not afford it but if he wanted it, he got it. I remember him getting a car loan that I knew that we would struggle to repay, and he just went and got it.”

    Many perpetrators of economic abuse force their partner to make transactions that lead them into debt, or build up debts fraudulently in their name. This is known as coerced debt, and includes situations where you may have had no choice but to take on debt if the abuser did not allow you access to an income. If you are in debt as a result of the abuser’s behaviour, you are not alone and there are organisations that can support you. Our information on coerced debt has more information that you might find useful to help you consider your options. 

    It is important not to take action to tackle debts until you speak to a qualified debt adviser, as some debt solutions can have serious long-term consequences. 

    Your credit report 

    If you have taken out credit jointly with the abuser (for example a mortgage, a loan or a bank account with an overdraft), you will be financially linked with the abuser on your credit report. This means that lenders may look at the abuser’s credit history when they are considering decisions about any future applications for credit that you may make. 

    Your credit report gives an overview of credit that has been taken out in your name and can also help identify anything unusual, such as lender searches and credit applications that you did not request. There are three main credit reference agencies in the UK – ExperianEquifax and TransUnion. They may each hold different information, as different credit providers will report information about their lending to different agencies. It is a good idea to get a copy of your credit report from all three agencies. 

    You can financially disassociate from the abuser when you have no outstanding active credit agreements together, eg bank accounts, loans or credit cards. You can do this by contacting the credit reference agencies and asking them to put a ‘notice of disassociation’ on your file to indicate that you are no longer financially linked. It is not possible to disassociate if you still have outstanding credit agreements together, unless: 

    • the only joint credit agreement you still have is a mortgage and you have been living apart for six months 
    • your joint credit agreements are defaulted. 

    There is more information on economic abuse, your credit report and staying safe in our information on this topic

    Insurance 

    If you have a joint insurance product with the abuser, it may be possible to separate this. However, it may depend on the type of insurance, the insurer and the type of cover you have. 

    It is often straightforward for an insurer to split a joint health or life insurance product, for example, while it can be more difficult if you have joint motor insurance or travel insurance, because of the way that this type of cover is usually set up. 

    Ask to speak to someone in the insurer’s customer vulnerability team, if they have one, to explain your situation and ask what measures they have in place to support customers experiencing economic abuse. 

    “When I left the relationship I realised he had taken out loans and credit cards in joint names I knew nothing about.” 

    Keeping your new details secure 

    If you update your address details with any organisations you need to contact to de-link from the abuser, you may wish to let them know that you have experienced economic abuse. Tell them that it is important that your new address is not disclosed to the abuser through accounts being linked. Organisations may be able to include a flag on your account that indicates that extra care is needed in keeping your details confidential. 

    Last updated November 2023

    Further support 

    If you are experiencing economic abuse, you are not alone. We have more information that can support you to take steps towards safety and begin to regain control of your finances.

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