Now launched: Indebted Life

IndebtedLifescreenDrawing on original empirical research with borrowers of high-cost short-term credit, Indebted Life is a short educational browser game and app that introduces you to the lives of three characters who are thinking about applying for a loan. It was developed by the research team (Dr James Ash, Dr Rachel Gordon, Prof Ben Anderson, and Prof Paul Langley) with independent studio Nosebleed Interactive.

Indebted lifePlay the game in your web browser (we recommend using Firefox)

Visit the App Store: Indebted Life

Visit Google Play: Indebted Life

Please let us know what you think about Indebted Life by completing our feedback survey.

We have developed a training guide to support schools, charities, and other organisations in using Indebted Life in money and/or debt advice sessions and workshops. If you would like a free copy, then please contact Dr Rachel Gordon.

You can find out more about Indebted Life by visiting its dedicated webpage.


Credit curfew receives media attention

christian-wiediger-606395-unsplash-1Research findings from the Digital Interfaces & Debt project has made national news. Reports have focused on our recommendation for a ‘credit curfew’ – a pause on access to high-cost credit during the hours of 11pm and 7am to help minimise the number of borrowers with unmanageable debts. A lot of borrowing happens at night, with many consumers describing borrowing at this time as impulsive and something that they later regretted.

The Times:

BBC Online

BBC Radio 4 Money Box (Dr Rachel Gordon talks about the research): (listen from 10:20)

BBC Radio Newcastle (Dr James Ash discusses our call for a credit curfew): (listen from 22.22)


End of project workshops: March 2018

Reports narrow 2

We’re coming to the end of the research which means we’re ready to share our findings and recommendations.

As part of this, we held two workshops in March 2018:

  • London, 27th March 2018
  • Newcastle, 28th March 2018.

The workshops were attended by representatives of debt advice organisations and charities, regulatory bodies and consumer advice organisations. Dr James Ash introduced the research, followed by discussion of the findings and recommendations. We also showcased the digital tool that we have developed as part of the research dissemination activities. We would like to thank everyone who attended, especially for your insightful and thoughtful contributions to the discussion.

Copies of the report and briefing notes will be available very soon. Details will be shared on this project website and via Twitter.

We’re speaking at the Improving Financial Health Conference, 30th October 2017

light bulb narrow

The Improving Financial Health Conference has been organised by the Centre for Responsible Credit and  Toynbee Hall’s Financial Health Exchange. We will be delivering a session exploring the Debt & Digital Interfaces research findings. In particular, we will be discussing how digital credit is changing consumers’ borrowing practices and their understandings of indebtedness. We will also be sharing our thoughts on the implications of the research for future developments and interventions in the consumer credit market in an increasingly digital world.

You can find out more about the conference, and book a place, by visiting the Learning & Work Institute.

Participants needed for short-term credit research


Have you borrowed money online?

We are looking to speak to people about their experiences of accessing and using short-term credit products through digital devices like smartphones, laptops, PCs or tablets.

Short-term credit products might include payday loans, instalment loans, guarantor loans or purchases from weekly payment stores that you have accessed online.

Discussions will last between 45 minutes and 1 hour and take place at a time and place convenient to you. Participants will be given a £20 shopping voucher as a thank you for their involvement in the research.

Your experiences are important in helping to produce evidence and recommendations about how digital devices are changing the credit market and impacting people’s everyday lives. All interviews will be confidential and anonymised and participants would be entitled to receive a report outlining the key findings of the research at the end of the project.

If you would like to take part, please contact Rachel Gordon at Newcastle University:

A successful project workshop – credit, debt and digital devices


We had a very productive and enjoyable first project meeting with some of our partners who work across Newcastle helping people with debt and money matters.

Dr James Ash began the workshop by introducing the project and the research objectives. This prompted a discussion between participants about what aspects of the research really interested their organisations and how the research linked to pertinent issues and challenges experienced by their clients. We then heard from each representative about the work they do and who their clients are. This stimulated discussion around people’s everyday practices and experiences of credit, debt and money, with a particular emphasis on the role of digital devices. We heard a lot about people’s skills in ‘juggling money’, managing tight budgets from one week to the next, and the tactics they employ when managing different types of credit. This prompted some talk around the changes to Universal Credit and how this might affect how people manage their money. To round off the event, we reflected on common interests and experiences across the represented organisations and our next steps.

First project workshop


We’re looking forward to a productive first workshop with project partners next week. Our first project workshop will take place on 27th September 2016 at Newcastle University. We’ll be meeting representatives of our partner organisations working in debt support and advice in Newcastle. This will give us an opportunity to talk about to them about what they do day to day, who they support, what issues their clients experience and how the research can help them understand the relationship between digital devices, interface design and practices of accessing credit online.

If you’re interested in the project, please get in touch with us. It would be great to hear from you.