If you are having problems with debt or if you are struggling to cover your expenses, you should seek help as soon as possible. NAV can give you advice on your personal finances. The service is free.
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Are you struggling with rent, electricity bills, loans or other expenses? You are not alone. In this video we will share some tips and advice to someone having financial worries.
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Call 55 55 33 39 for financial advice and debt counselling
NAV’s financial advice and debt counselling hotline is a service for people with financial problems. Call us at 55 55 33 39:
- for advice on your financial situation
- to ask questions about debt collection, forced sale of your home, salary garnishing and debt settlement
- to book a meeting with a financial adviser/debt counsellor at your local NAV office
Meeting with an adviser
At your local NAV office, you can get help from a financial adviser and debt counsellor. Read more about what our advisers can help you with and how to prepare for your meeting with NAV.
Call 55 55 33 39 or Contact your NAV office to schedule a meeting.
Among other things, your adviser can help you
- find out how you can reduce your expenses
- make arrangements with your creditors
- find information about your rights and obligations
- contact the Execution and Enforcement Commissioner (Namsmannen)
- apply for debt settlement
Bring documentation of your income, expenses and debt. This will help your adviser get a good overview of your situation, so they can give you better advice. Below are some examples of relevant documents you could bring.
- balance of all bank accounts
- pay slips from the past 3 months
- payments from NAV in the past 3 months
- any money you have in savings, funds or shareholdings
- your tax return for the past three years
- documentation of housing benefits from the Norwegian State Housing Bank (Husbanken) or the municipality
- copy of lease or documentation of housing expenses
- insurance policies
- expenses related to doctor’s appointments, dentist appointments and other medical treatment
- expenses related to kindergarten, SFO or other child care
- child support agreement
- documentation of loans, credit card debt and any unpaid bills
- transcript from the debt register
- transcript from the debt collection register
- other letters and claims concerning debt repayment
If you have gone a long time without paying what you owe, the Execution and Enforcement Commissioner (Namsmannen) may send you a letter stating that they will recover the money. This is called a petition for execution or claim for enforcement of payment. If you have received a letter like this, you should bring it to the meeting. If you have been summoned to a hearing in the conciliation board, bring this letter, too.
Read more about enforcement, execution and the conciliation board at politiet.no (in Norwegian).
If you aren’t able to gather everything before your meeting with NAV, that’s OK.
If you don't have money to pay for necessary expenses for a shorter period, you can apply for financial assistance.
Struggling to pay your bills?Copy linkLink successfully copied
In order to manage your debt, you should start by finding out how much you owe and to whom.
Get an overview of your debt
It can be difficult to get an overview of how much you owe if letters and bills have been piling up. We recommend that you start by opening letters and bills you have received in the mail, via e-mail and in your online bank.
Find out which bills, reminders and collection notices go together, so that you find the most recent one. This will show you what the claim amount is now, with added interest and fees.
Then check to see whether you have paid any of these bills, so that you are only left with bills you have not paid yet.
Do you have consumer debt? There are several websites that can show you how much consumer debt you have.
If you have bills that have gone to debt collection, you can log in to your page at the debt collection agency to get an overview. You can also log in to Inkassoregisteret to get an overview of all of your debt collection claims.
You can also send a request for debt verification via e-mail. Virke.no has instructions for how to send a request for debt verification to debt collection agencies (Norwegian).
Contact the people you owe money
Once you have an overview, you should contact your creditors and banks and explore your options.
If you can see that you will not be able to pay in time, you must contact your creditors. Your creditors are the people you owe money to. Explain to them that you want to pay, but that you are not able to right now. Explain your situation and try to establish an arrangement.
Use your current income and expenses as a starting point for what you will be able to pay right now. You can use the template form for creditor distribution (file download) to suggest a payment plan.
We recommend that you contact your creditor in writing, so that you have an overview of what you have agreed. That is why you should ask for written confirmation of what you agreed, if you call or meet with your creditor.
Negotiate interest and fees by contacting your creditor
In some cases, creditors may reduce interest or the principal claim. If a creditor agrees to reduce or write off debt, it will usually be claims that have gone into debt collection and that have had interest or fees added.
In some circumstances, creditors will accept a lower lump-sum payment, a so-called composition. In practice, this entails you contacting your creditor and offering them a lump-sum payment that is less than what you owe.
If the creditor accepts your offer, the rest of your debt will be written off once you pay the lump sum. Think of it as haggling about the price, in exchange for paying immediately.
Disputing the creditor’s claim?
If you dispute the claim, either all or some of it, you should notify your creditor.
Remember that if you have children under the age of 18, they are considered minors and cannot order goods without your signature on the order. Neither the company nor the debt collection agency has the right to demand that you pay these claims.
Contact your creditor and return the goods. If you are wondering whether the collection agency is following the rules, you can contact the Norwegian Financial Services Complaints Board (Finansklagenemnda) for advice and guidance.
If you are having financial problems and you have a loan or a mortgage, you can ask your bank for help. Read more about potential solutions banks can offer at Finance Norway (Norwegian).
You can ask your bank for:
- an interest-only period
- a temporary deferment of payment
- a payment plan or a longer repayment period
- the option to refinance
Refinancing can be a good option if you have several smaller loans. Ask about refinancing with your home as security, if possible. This would incorporate your smaller loans into your mortgage.
If you have bills that have gone to debt collection, you can contact the debt collection agency to hear more about your options.
You can ask for a payment plan or a grace period. In some cases, the debt collection agency may reduce interest or the principal claim.
Tax Assistance is a service provided by the Tax Administration. They can offer guidance if you are unable to pay what you owe to the Tax Administration. Tax Assistance can also help you adjust your tax withholding if your income has been reduced.
Read more about Tax Assistance at skatteetaten.no.
What happens if I don’t pay my bills?Copy linkLink successfully copied
Read more about what happens if you do not pay your bills when they are due, and what you should do.
If you have borrowed money or purchased goods or a service, you will get a regular invoice. If you do not pay this by the date it is due, you will be sent a reminder about the outstanding payment or a notice of debt collection.
If you dispute the invoice, you should contact your creditor as soon as possible. The creditor is the one you owe money to. Explain why you are disputing the invoice.
Read more about your rights at the Norwegian Consumer Council (Forbrukerrådet).
If you do not pay the original invoice when it is due, the creditor can send you a new invoice, which is called a reminder. This often means you have to pay interest and a reminder fee.
If you do not pay the full amount of the original invoice or the reminder when it is due, your creditor can issue a notice of debt collection. If you pay some of the outstanding amount on time, the remaining amount will go to debt collection.
A notice of debt collection must be made in writing and must allow at least 14 days for payment. The notice of debt collection may include a fee and interest. If you do not pay within the new date, the claim will be sent to debt collection and you will normally have to pay an additional fee (collection fee).
If you dispute the collection claim, you must file a complaint with the person/company that sent you the debt collection notice before the due date.
Read more about debt collection and payment remarks (Forbrukerrådet - Norwegian Consumer Council).
If a claim is sent to debt collection, you will receive a letter requesting payment. This is called a demand for payment. A demand for payment is confirmation that your case has been sent to debt collection. The demand for payment cannot be sent until at least 14 days after you received the notice of debt collection.
You are given at least 14 days to pay or dispute the claim. The demand for payment may include an additional fee from the collection agency and interest (collection fee and interest on overdue payments).
Read more about your rights at the Norwegian Consumer Council (Forbrukerrådet).
If you did not pay when you received the demand for payment, the debt collection agency can initiate legal recovery. This means your case will be presented to the Execution and Enforcement Commissioner (Namsmannen). The Execution and Enforcement Commissioner can garnish your salary or take possession of your assets. This is called legal recovery.
If you dispute the claim, you can send a written notice to the debt collection agency that you want your case to be heard by the conciliation board (politiet.no) (in Norwegian). If you receive a summons from the conciliation board, you must attend the hearing and explain why you are disputing the claim. If you do not attend, the debt collection agency can continue the legal recovery process.
If your collection case has gone to legal recovery, or if you fail to pay the instalments in the payment plan you have negotiated with someone, such as a collection agency, you risk getting a payment remark. A payment remark is a notice that you have not paid an invoice that was due, despite your creditor attempting to collect payment.
The payment remark will be registered by credit rating agencies once it has been registered by a collection agency, the Execution and Enforcement Commissioner, the conciliation board, the Norwegian Mapping Authority, the Register of Mortgaged Movable Property or the Norwegian National Collection Agency.
When you apply for loans, credit cards, insurance or subscriptions, a credit rating of you will normally be performed. If you have a payment remark, it could lead to your application being denied.
You will receive a notice from the credit rating agency before they register a payment remark about you. To avoid the payment remark, you must pay the full claim amount within 30 days.
A payment remark will be deleted when the claim has been paid in full, including all additional costs, such as interest and fees, or after 4 years.
Read more about debt collection and payment remarks (finansportalen.no) (in Norwegian).
You can also watch this video about what can happen if you don't pay your bills on time and what you should do.
How to improve your financial situationCopy linkLink successfully copied
A budget can help you keep better track of your finances, as well as help you see which expenses you can cut. Prioritize things that are necessary.
A budget is a summary of your income and expenses. When you are making a budget, it is important that you are as realistic as possible. Find invoices, receipts and bank statements to see where you actually spend your money.
Download a simple budget template (Excel)
It can be difficult to know how much to set aside for your various expenses. SIFO’s reference budget gives an indication of consumer expenditures for different kinds of households.
Budget apps for smartphones
There are smartphone apps that help you make a budget and monitor it. These apps help you plan your expenses and repay debt, with the goal of alleviating your financial concerns. The apps sometimes let you set spending limits, so that the app notifies you if you go over your budget.
Is there more you can do to get your financial situation under control?
- Check your tax withholding, it may be too high.
- Avoid using credit cards.
- Avoid taking out consumer loans.
- Do you have things you don’t need, and that you can sell?
- Can you rent out part of your home?
- Can you take on extra work?
- Do you qualify for a housing allowance form the Norwegian State Housing Bank (Husbanken)? If you have low income and high housing expenses, you may qualify for housing allowance. At husbanken.no/english, you can check to see if you qualify for a housing allowance and calculate how much you can receive. Students who have been denied financial support from the Norwegian State Educational Loan Fund (Lånekassen) can apply for a housing allowance. Read more about housing allowance for students at husbanken.no (in Norwegian).
You can also watch a video about what a budget is and how you can use it.
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Normally, you have to pay back what you owe. However, in some situations, it will be possible to reduce your debt or have it cancelled. Cancellation of debt is also called write-off.
If you are more than 50 percent disabled and you have a low income, you can have all or part of your student debt cancelled. Read morea bout debt and repayment in case of disability at lanekassen.no.
If you are in a situation where your income is low, you can apply to the Educational Loan Fund for cancellation of interest for a period dating back up to 3 years. This includes situations where you are sick or unemployed, for example. Read more about cancellation of interest on student debt at lanekassen.no.
If you owe back taxes that you have been unable to pay for several years, you can apply to have all or part of your back taxes cancelled. This is called tax remission. Read more about tax remission at skatteetaten.no. Tax Assistance at the Tax Administration can provide guidance if you are struggling.
The Norwegian National Collection Agency collects unpaid debt on behalf of a creditor you owe money to. If you are permanently unable to pay debt to the Norwegian National Collection Agency, you can apply for debt remission.
You can submit an application for debt remission to the Norwegian National Collection Agency. They will forward the matter to the appropriate creditor if they are not authorized to process it. Read more about debt remission at the Norwegian National Collection Agency.
NAV can issue a reimbursement decision against you. This could happen when you have received an amount higher than what you were entitled to. If you disagree with the decision, you must appeal it within the term of appeal specified in the decision.
You can apply to NAV for debt reduction or remission. There is no formal application form. Write your application yourself and submit it to NAV. In your application, you must explain why you believe your debt should be reduced or written off. You should also include relevant documentation to support your argument, if you have it. Submit your application via mail, along with a cover page.
If you believe your child support payments are too high, you can apply for an adjustment of the child support payment or negotiate a private agreement with the custodial parent. As a parent, you have a duty to provide for your children. This means that a reduction or remission of child support debt will only be granted in special circumstances.
Read more about repayment and remission of child support debt (in Norwegian).
If you are at risk of being unable to manage your debt, banks have an obligation to advice against getting more loans. This applies to all types of loans provided by the bank. If your bank has not done this, you can contact your bank and request that your loan be reduced or written off.
At the same time, request information on their assessment of your financial situation when the loan was granted. If the bank does not agree with you, you can fila a complaint to the Norwegian Financial Services Complaints Board (Finansklagenemnda). They can take a second look at your case and decide if you qualify for debt reduction or write-off.
Children under age 18 cannot take out loans or order goods or services without the signature of a parent or guardian. The creditor cannot demand payment for such claims from the child.
Contact the creditor and return the goods. If you are wondering whether the collection agency is following the rules, you can contact the Norwegian Financial Services Complaints Board(Finansklagenemnda) for advice and guidance.
Identity theft is a situation where someone has used your identity to purchase goods, open a bank account, take out a subscription or apply for loans or credit cards. You should contact your bank or creditor immediately to dispute the claim. Read more about identity theft and what to do on the websites of the police and the Data Protection Authority (in Norwegian).
What is debt settlement?Copy linkLink successfully copied
If you are struggling to manage your debt, a debt settlement arrangement can help you regain control over your finances. You can apply to the Execution and Enforcement Commissioner, i.e. the police chief or district court judge, for a debt settlement.
With a debt settlement arrangement, you pay as much as possible of what you owe to creditors over a limited period. Normally, a debt settlement arrangement has a duration of 5 years.
Once the debt settlement period is over, you will normally be debt free, with the exception of any debt secured by a mortgage on your home.
Before you apply for debt settlement, you must attempt to negotiate a payment plan with your creditors on your own. Your creditors are the people you owe money to.
If you cannot negotiate an arrangement with your creditors, you can apply for debt settlement.
Apply to the Execution and Enforcement Commissioner for debt settlement
Debt settlement can be an option regardless of what the cause of your debt problems are. There are no requirements related to debt amount or income.
Normally, it will not be possible to get debt settlement more than once.
Follow the budget set by the Execution and Enforcement Commissioner
The Execution and Enforcement Commissioner will make a budget for you to follow during your debt settlement period. This budget is based in information you provided about your financial situation and includes reasonable cost-of-living expenditures for yourself and your household. If your income is higher than the expenses in this budget, any excess shall go to your creditors.
During the debt settlement period, you will also automatically have a payment remark against you: This means any applications for a mortgage, credit, insurance policies or subscriptions may be denied.
Read more about debt settlement on the website of the Norwegian police.
In this video you can find information on what debt settlement is, what the requirements are, and how you can apply.
Others who may be able to help
About the Execution and Enforcement Commissioner, enforcement of claims and the role of the conciliation board
INFORMATION FROM POLITIET.NO (in Norwegian)
Do you have a game or gambling problem?Copy linkLink successfully copied
Gambling addition can lead to financial problems for you and your family. It is possible to stop gambling and regain control of your financial situation.
Try to get an overview of your debt and contact your creditors.
If you are at risk of being unable to manage your debt, banks have an obligation to advice against getting more loans. If your bank has not done this, you can request that your loan be reduced or written off.
Contact your bank and request information on their assessment of your financial situation when the loan was granted. If the bank does not agree with you, you can fila a complaint to the Norwegian Financial Services Complaints Board (Finansklagenemnda). They can take a second look at your case and decide if you qualify for debt reduction or write-off.
If you are not sure if you will be able to stay away from gambling, you can create a voluntary credit block.
A credit block means that it will not be possible to do a credit rating on you. This may, in turn, mean that you will be unable to take out new loans or subscriptions. Go to Finance Norway to read more about voluntary credit blocks and how to proceed (in Norwegian).
If you have been using credit cards to pay gambling companies, you can look into whether you are obligated to repay all of your debt. If the person who granted you credit was aware that you were using credit cards to take out loans and using the money to gamble, you are not obligated to repay the debt.
Most credit cards have a block preventing them from being used to pay gambling companies. That is why some gambling companies use third-party payment and e-wallets, which makes it difficult for the bank to stop the payment. Even if the payments went through a third party, you may not be obligated to repay the debt.
Write to the bank that granted you the loan. Request information on their assessment of your financial situation when the loan was granted. At the same time, include a statement explaining why you believe the bank should have been aware that the money was being used for gambling and request that the loan be written off.
If the bank denies your request, you can file a complaint with the Norwegian Financial Services Complaints Board. Include the written dialogue you have had with the bank when you contact the Complaints Board and request a new assessment of your case. Filing a complaint with the Complaints Board is free, and you do not need a lawyer. Read more about the processing of complaints at finansklagenemnda.no.
Organizations that can help with gambling problems
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