The Money Guidance Pathfinder will be run by the FSA and funded jointly by Government and the regulator.
The two-year project will be used to establish how a national money guidance service could be delivered.
Treasury chief secretary Yvette Cooper says up to three quarters of a million people will get free money guidance on matters like managing debt, planning for retirement or saving for a mortgage deposit.
She says: “It could be working out credit card repayments, budgeting for a new baby, or planning for retirement. People have to make serious financial decisions at every stage of their lives.
“Getting some free, independent and trusted guidance can make all the difference and can help families manage their budget and get a better return on their savings. It could also help prevent people getting ripped off by loan sharks or caught out by the small print on a dodgy financial deal.”