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How it works…here’s an example!

See how an IVA could help you with this simple example. An IVA could help you to consolidate all of your unsecured debts into one smaller monthly payment.

We can help you manage your debts with some of the biggest creditors in the UK

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a debt management plan?

A DMP is an informal agreement between you and your creditors for paying back your non-priority debts. Non-priority debts are things like credit cards, loans, and store cards.

You pay back the debt by one set monthly payment, which is divided between your creditors.

Most DMPs are managed by a DMP provider who deals with your creditors for you. This means you don’t need to deal with your creditors yourself.

A DMP is not legally binding, meaning you’re not tied in for a minimum period and can cancel it at any time.

DMP’s are only available in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

Is a debt management plan right for me?

A DMP may be a good option if the following apply to you:

  • You can afford the monthly repayments on your priority debts (such as mortgage, rent and council tax) and your living costs, but are struggling to keep up with your credit cards and loans
  • You’d like someone to deal with your creditors for you
  • Making one set monthly payment will help you to budget.

If you would like to know more about the implications of a DMP, then the best solution would be for you to get in contact with our trained money advisors. You can call our debt advice helpline to receive free and confidential debt advice.

What is an IVA?

An IVA (Individual Voluntary Arrangement) is a formal agreement made between the person in debt and their creditors. Once you enter into an IVA your creditors can no longer take further action against you to recover any outstanding debts. All interest and charges associated with your debts are frozen. An IVA allows you to make affordable payments to your debts, usually over five or six years. At the end of your IVA, any unsecured debt left is managed accordingly.

*IVA’s are only available in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

How much does an IVA cost?

An IVA (individual voluntary arrangement) is not free and legally you cannot set up your own IVA. The insolvency practitioner who will set up your IVA will charge a fee.

This fee is normally taken as regular installments from the payments you make towards your IVA. This fee covers the cost of the advice offered by the insolvency practitioner and the time spent putting together the legal aspects of an IVA. Your insolvency practitioner will also have had to spend time negotiating with your creditors so that you can set up an IVA.

Will an IVA affect my credit score?

Once you enter an IVA, it will be recorded down on your credit report. Thus, your credit score will be negatively impacted by your IVA and you may find it difficult to get credit for a while.

If you own your own business you may be able to get credit for business goods and services, however, you may be charged higher interest rates.

If you want to get more than £500 of credit you will need written permission from your insolvency practitioner, unless the credit is for public utilities such as water, gas, or electricity.

What are the advantages of an IVA?

▪️ You make affordable monthly payments, usually over five or six years

▪️ If you’re a homeowner then you’ll usually be able to keep your home, as long as you maintain the mortgage payments and any secured loans on your property

▪️ There are no set up fees to be paid for an IVA

▪️ There are fees once your IVA is in progress, but these will be included in your monthly repayments and are set by your creditors

▪️ If you have a lump sum to offer, this can be paid as a one-off ‘full and final’ settlement, or a combination of a lump sum payment followed by monthly payments

▪️Once you’ve made your final payment, any remaining unsecured debt is written off and your creditors can’t harass you for payments

What are the risks of an IVA?

▪️ If there’s equity in your home, you’ll need to try to re-mortgage which may result in a higher interest rate

▪️ If you’re unable to re-mortgage, you can make a maximum of 12 extra payments or a third party can offer a sum equivalent to the equity

▪️ If your IVA fails, your creditors may request that the supervisor of your IVA petitions for your bankruptcy

▪️ Your credit rating will be negatively affected

▪️ Your creditors can choose not to approve your IVA

▪️ At the end of your IVA, only unsecured debts included will be written off, any not included will remain outstanding

▪️ Your IVA will be recorded on a public register

▪️ Once your IVA is set up you may be on a tight budget until your IVA comes to an end

What debt solutions are available?

There are many debt solution options available. There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ when it comes to debt solutions, so it would be beneficial for you to get in contact with our trained money advisors who can talk you through which solutions you qualify for and which one would be best for your personal financial situation.

Do you need to pay for a debt management plan?

Many debt management plan (DMP) providers charge a fee for their services but some don’t. It’s important to remember that if you don’t want to pay a fee, you don’t have to. You just need to choose a free provider.

A DMP provider works on your behalf to work out what you can afford to pay, negotiate payments with creditors, and distribute the payments to your creditors each month. Clearly, any organization or company providing a professional service like this will have costs it needs to cover.

Commercial DMP providers cover these costs by charging fees to their customers. Meanwhile, the free providers, who are normally charities, are paid directly by the banks and credit card companies themselves, meaning they don’t need to pass fees on to their customers.

What is a debt relief order?

A DRO is a formal insolvency procedure administered by an Official Receiver for low income, low asset, low debt level situations. A DRO means that you don’t have to pay certain kinds of debt for a specified period (usually 12 months).

At the end of the DRO period, the debts included in it will be written off (or discharged) and you won’t have to pay them.

If you obtained any of your debts through fraud, you will have to restart paying them when the DRO has ended. If your circumstances change so that you are able to pay some or all of your debts, your DRO may be revoked so that you can arrange to pay your creditors.

DRO’s are only available in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

How can I apply for a debt relief order?

You cannot apply for a debt relief order (DRO) application on your own. Your application must go through an intermediary approved by the insolvency service.

You can apply through an official receiver, an officer of the bankruptcy court, but you must apply through an authorized debt adviser. They’ll help you fill in the paperwork.

You can chat with our money advice experts here.

What's the cost of a debt relief order?

The official receiver’s fee is £90. This must be paid at the time of the application and won’t be refunded once a decision has been made, even if you aren’t granted a DRO. You need to pay the fee in full before your application will be looked at.

The fee must be paid in cash. Some people are able to get a charity to pay their fee – your debt adviser can tell you more about this.

What are the benefits and risks of a debt relief order?

Advantages of an IVA:

  • A debt relief order can be a cheaper alternative to bankruptcy
  • You don’t need to pay anything towards your debts for 12 months. After the 12 months, they’ll be written off
  • Your creditors can’t harass you for your debts during the 12 month period
  • Although a DRO is a formal debt solution, you don’t need to appear in court

Disadvantages of a DRO:

  •  You’ll need to pay the Insolvency Service a one-off, non-refundable fee of £90. If you qualify, our specialist team can help you apply
  •  You won’t be eligible if you’re a homeowner
  •  A DRO will appear on a public register and will affect your credit report negatively

Can a DRO stop bailiffs?

One of the biggest advantages of a debt relief order is that it is a formal solution which means it prevents your creditors from taking any further legal or enforcement action against you.

Bailiffs will not be able to attend your property, harass, call or collect for a debt which has been included in your approved debt relief order.

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