An IVA may not be suitable in all circumstances.

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What is a Debt Management Plan?

A Debt Management Plan (DMP) can be a great solution to tackling mounting non-priority debts. It allows you to make affordable monthly repayments and still have money left over to pay for all your daily living expenses.

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Although we don't provide this option, we've detailed just about everything you need to know about this solution here.

What do I need to know about a DMP?

  • A Debt Management Plan is an informal arrangement designed to put you back in control of your finances.
  • This can be a free service although some companies do charge for DMPs.
  • Your creditors may freeze interest rates and charges.

Can I get a free Debt Management Plan?

While some companies charge for Debt Management Plans, in theory you can manage one yourself. Furthermore, there are organisations out there which will provide DMPs for free.

How does a Debt Management Plan work?

Debt Management Plans are typically set up by DMP providers. When applying for one of these agreements, the provider will arrange an initial consultation with you to discuss your circumstances.

However, a Debt Management Plan is only an informal agreement and, therefore, is not legally binding. Consequently, the plan can be rejected by your creditors – or yourself – at any time.

How does the Debt Management Plan process work?

The Debt Management Plan process varies from provider to provider but, broadly, it follows these steps:

1. Are you doing this yourself or choosing a provider?

As mentioned, you can create your own Debt Management Plan. However, if choosing this option, you should still seek specialist advice on the best way to run it. If you choose a provider though, a trained professional will represent you. Considering some companies and charities offer a free debt management service, it generally makes sense to remove the extra stress and choose a firm to help you.

2. Identify what you can afford to pay

Next, you’ll analyse your monthly income and outgoings to identify how much you can reasonably afford to pay towards your debts. Although you can come to this figure yourself, a DMP provider will help analyse this information for you.

3. Take the plan to your creditors

The next step can be quite stressful if you’re doing a Debt Management Plan by yourself. The budget – and the proposed Debt Management Plan – must be presented to your creditors. Ultimately, they will decide whether to accept the arrangement.

If so, they might also freeze interest and charges. However, this is not guaranteed. Another reason why you may wish to work with a DMP provider is that they generally have more success convincing creditors to do this.

If your lenders don’t accept the Debt Management Plan then you may wish to pursue another solution to reclaim control of your finances.

4. Make your payments

If your Debt Management Plan is approved, you need to make the agreed payments. If a DMP provider is handling the arrangement, you’ll make your payments to them instead of the creditors.

What debts can I include?

A DMP can only be used for resolving non-priority debts. These are arrears where the consequences of non-repayment are not as severe as other debts. For example, falling behind on your council tax (a priority debt) could potentially lead to prison. Not paying credit cards, on the other hand, may lead to legal action such as bailiff visits.

Debts you can put on a DMP usually include:

What debts can’t be included?

Priority debts can’t be included on a DMP, these generally include:

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Mortgage payments

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Gas or electricity bills

Council tax, income tax, or VAT icon

Council tax, income tax, or VAT

TV license fees icon

TV license fees

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Child support

Do I qualify for a Debt Management Plan?

You will only qualify for a DMP if your debts are classed as non-priority. As well as this, you’ll usually be eligible for a Debt Management Plan if:

  • You currently can’t afford to pay your non-priority debts, but you have enough to make reduced monthly payments.
  • You’ll be able to clear your non-priority debts in a reasonable amount of time.

Generally speaking, there is no required amount of debt needed to qualify for a Debt Management Plan. As long as you’re able to still make some payment towards your creditors while meeting costs for ‘essential’ bills, such as council tax and rent, you could potentially get a DMP.

Debt Management Plan or IVA?

Choosing a debt solution can seem like a daunting prospect due to the choices available. However, one of the most popular options a DMP is compared with is an IVA. Ultimately, both aim to help you get on top of your debts but they go about it in very different ways:

What’s the difference between an IVA and a DMP?

There are multiple differences between an IVA and a DMP. We have covered the main ones below:

  • An IVA is legally binding whereas a Debt Management Plan isn’t;
  • Creditors cannot call you directly through an IVA;
  • Interest and charges are frozen with an IVA;
  • With an IVA, usually some of your debt is written off when the plan is successfully completed. With a DMP, you’re still liable to pay what you owe;
  • An IVA grants legal protection;
  • Although a Debt Management Plan can be free, an IVA carries fees.

Although there are several pros and cons to an IVA, the solutions are very different and which one is best will depend upon your circumstances.

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Why people choose us

Get your life back.
  • 15+ years’ experience across our companies in dealing with debt.
  • Helped 20,601* people start their journey towards financial freedom.
  • On average, we help to write off £10,600** per client.
  • 100 staff members are here and ready to support you.
  • Rated 4.9 out of 5*** on Feefo.

* As of 10/02/22 20,601 of our customers were in an active IVA. ** Average unsecured debt anticipated to be written off for IVAs approved between 1 January 2021 and 31 December 2021 for FSS customers is £10,645.20, based upon successful completion. *** Based on independent verified reviews from Feefo.

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Is an IVA better than a Debt Management Plan?

Whether an IVA is better than a Debt Management Plan is largely subjective. However, this option might be the best choice for you if:

  • You cannot realistically see a way to repay what you owe;
  • You want to write off some of your debt;
  • You owe at least £6,000 worth of debt to multiple creditors;
  • You don’t want creditors chasing you for payment.

Need advice on your debts?

If you have the funds available to make regular payments each month towards your non-priority debts, then get in touch with one of our friendly advisors. We'll help determine how best to assist you.

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Debt Management Plan FAQs

There is no specified length for a Debt Management Plan but – generally – these agreements tend to last between five and ten years.

The length of a DMP will depend upon several factors. For example:

  • How much debt you owe;
  • How much money you are paying towards your creditors each month;
  • If your creditors decided to freeze interest and charge.

Someone with a relatively small amount of debt making large payments each month will repay what’s owed faster than an individual in the opposite situation. You can estimate how long your Debt Management Plan would last by:

  • 1. Taking your total unsecured debts.
  • 2. Identifying how much you are able to pay each month.
  • 3. Multiplying this figure by 12 and then multiplying that number for each year.

For example, if you were making payments of £70 per month to resolve a debt of around £6,000, you could expect the Debt Management Plan to last approximately seven years.

There are several advantages and disadvantages to a Debt Management Plan. We have detailed these below:

What are the benefits of a Debt Management Plan?
Similar to other financial solutions, a DMP carries a variety of pros and cons. However, there are several benefits which make Debt Management Plans the preferred choice of many:

  • A Debt Management Plan can be a free service;
  • Putting all debts into one affordable payment makes finances much easier to manage;
  • As a DMP provider usually deals with creditors, this grants you peace of mind;
  • As the plan is reviewed on a regular basis, this ensures the DMP remains affordable.

What are the Disadvantages of a DMP?
A Debt Management Plan does carry several disadvantages compared to ether solutions. For example:

  • Creditors aren’t required to freeze interest rates and charges. This is entirely at their discretion;
  • Debt Management Plans can last for much longer than other solutions;
  • The DMP does not protect you from legal action;
  • The plan will adversely affect your credit score;
  • You may still be contacted by creditors while the plan is active.

Details of the Debt Management Plan should be included on your credit report, especially if you’ve struggled to make agreed repayments. Although the DMP does suggest you’re taking action to rectify the situation, lenders may be wary to provide additional credit.

A DMP will likely have a negative impact on your credit rating and, for a while, you may find it difficult to access other financial solutions.

In time though, especially after your debts have been resolved, your score should improve.

Although a Debt Management Plan isn’t specifically registered on your credit report, missed payments or legal action related to your debts will be removed six years after those incidents took place.

Although creditors can refuse a Debt Management Plan, it’s worth bearing in mind this is relatively unlikely to happen. After all, assuming the proposal is reasonable and shows clear benefit to them, most creditors will accept a DMP.

Yet, if this occurs, it’s essential to coordinate with your DMP provider. He or she will be able to examine the situation and determine the best way to proceed.

Debt Management Plans are informal agreements which means they are not legally binding. Although this means you can cancel the arrangement at any time, your creditors can as well.

As a Debt Management Plan is not legally binding, it may not stop bailiffs. However, the answer to this question depends upon your circumstances. If bailiffs are still threatening to visit, you may wish to seek debt advice from your DMP provider.

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