How to get a debt management plan

This advice applies to England. See advice for See advice for Northern Ireland, See advice for Scotland, See advice for Wales

This page explains the steps you should follow to get a debt management plan (DMP).

Step one: check which debts the DMP will cover

Your DMP will usually only cover your non-priority debts - this includes things like:

  • credit cards

  • store cards

  • loans

You usually can't put priority debts in a DMP - check with the DMP provider. Priority debts include things like your:

  • mortgage

  • rent

  • council tax

You'll need to choose another debt solution for your priority debts if you can't put them in a DMP.

Step two: decide whether a DMP is right for you

Before you decide to get a DMP, think about what you want - to pay off all your debt quickly or is it more important to you to have a manageable monthly payment and have someone else to deal with your creditors for you? If it's the first, you might want to think about choosing a different debt solution.

Step three: work out your budget

A DMP provider will normally help you work out your budget, but it's a good idea to do this yourself first. This will mean you've got a good idea of how much money you’d have left over each month to pay into the DMP.

Step four: think about whether to pay for your DMP

Many DMP providers will charge fees, but there are some providers who will help you set up a DMP for free. It’s important to remember that you don’t need to pay for your DMP.

If you do choose to use a provider who charges a fee, make sure you find out how it will affect the length of your DMP, the amount of money that will go to your creditors and the amount that will go to the DMP provider.

Step five: choose a DMP provider

There are various ways to find a DMP provider, including:

  • from your local Citizens Advice Bureau

  • asking National Debtline for a referral

  • doing an internet search for debt management companies or debt management plans

  • in the Yellow Pages under debt adjustment and management

  • if you're already having debt advice or counselling, asking for a recommendation from your adviser

  • if you have friends or family with a DMP, asking them for a recommendation.

Remember that just because a DMP provider has a flashy website or a big advertisement, this doesn't necessarily mean they will offer the best service for you. Make sure you do your research into the company before you choose.

Next steps

More information

National Debtline

Tricorn House

51-53 Hagley Road



B16 8TP

Freephone: 0808 808 4000 (Mon-Fri 9.00am-9.00pm; Sat 9.30am-1.00pm; 24-hour voicemail to request an information pack)

Fax: 0121 410 6230


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Page last reviewed on 16 December 2020