Struggling to pay back a loan to a moneylender - MABS Skip to main content

Struggling to pay back a loan to a moneylender

Being in debt to a moneylender can be an overwhelming experience as the interest rates are so high. MABS can help you to see light at the end of the tunnel and make a plan to deal with your debt. 

What rules do moneylenders have to follow

All moneylending agreements with a licenced moneylender are covered by Central Bank rules. A moneylender must follow the rules and their own written procedures for handling arrears 

 Some of the rules are: 

 The moneylender must advise you about MABS after 3 missed payments (with some exceptions).   

  • If the moneylender agrees to a rescheduled repayment with you, it must be recorded.  
  • If a collection agent is used, your rights still stand. 

If you miss payments, the moneylender can’t:

  • Charge you any fee or penalty 
  • Give you another loan to pay off the first one  
  • Offer pre-approved credit facilities without you asking for them 

A moneylender must: 

  • Notify any guarantor in writing if the terms of the loan agreement change 
  • Correct any errors and handle any complaints quickly, efficiently and fairly 
  • Identify customers that are vulnerable and provide reasonable arrangements for the customer if needed

The moneylender cannot make you feel threatened.

It’s an offence for a moneylender to demand payment of a debt in a way designed to alarm, distress or humiliate you. This is set out under the Non-Fatal Offences against the Person Act 1997.

What to do if you have just a moneylending agreement and no other debt  

You could talk to your moneylender and make an arrangement to pay your debt at an amount you can afford. But before you do you should make a money management plan.  

You can use our budget tool, this will help you to see what you can afford to pay after taking care of important costs such as your rent, mortgage, heat, food and electricity. Moneylenders are classed as secondary creditors in the MABS approach to tackling debt. You can read about our tips for contacting creditors.  

What to do if you have several debts

If you have several debts you are trying to deal with, and you feel you can tackle your debt problems yourself, you can read more on tackling debt and managing money. 

If you would like some free advice and support, contact us and we can help get you back on track. All advice is confidential, and nobody will judge your situation. MABS just wants to help find the best solution for you.  

Action the moneylender can take to collect the debt 

 If you can’t agree to a repayment plan and you haven’t paid instalments due under the lending agreement, the moneylender can take legal action to collect a debt.  

The moneylender must: 

  • Tell you in writing they are starting legal proceedings. 
  • Tell you what legal costs you may have to pay. 
  • Give you 21 days’ notice to pay the instalments before legal action can begin. 

If you repeatedly miss repayments during the term of the loan, the moneylender may get permission from the courts to start legal action immediately, without waiting 21 days. 

At this stage, you should get independent advice.  

Call the MABS Helpline on 0818 07 2000 or the Free Legal Advice Centre’s (FLAC) information line at 1890 350 250.   



  • icon of phone ringing
  • Call a Debt Adviser

    Get in touch with our helpline

    Call 0818 07 2000


  • icon of map and pointer
  • Find a MABS office

    We have 60 MABS offices nationwide

    Find an office

  • icon of clipboard
  • My Financial Healthcheck

    Get a snapshot of your financial health

    Review finances