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How to get a debt management plan

This advice applies to Scotland

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

Step one: sort out your priority debts

A DMP will only cover your non-priority debts, such as credit cards, store cards and loans. Before you decide to get a DMP, you should make sure you can afford to pay your priority debts, which include things like your mortgage, rent and council tax. If you're struggling to afford your priority debts, you may need to think about choosing another debt solution that's more appropriate for your situation.

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.

Debt Arrangement Scheme in Scotland

A Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS) has been set up by the Scottish Government to help people manage their debts by paying into a debt payment programme (DPP). You can’t apply directly for a DPP. An approved money adviser must make the application on your behalf. You can find more about DPPs and how to find an approved money adviser on the website at www.dasscotland.gov.uk.

Next steps

More information

National Debtline
Tricorn House
51-53 Hagley Road
Edgbaston
Birmingham
B16 8TP
Tel: 0808 808 4000 (Mon-Fri 9am-9pm; Sat 9.30am-1pm; 24-hour voicemail to request an information pack)
Fax: 0121 410 6230
Website: www.nationaldebtline.co.uk

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