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i The advice on this page applies to anyone with personal debts taken out in the UK.

Living on a DMP? Here’s your guide.

We know that being on a DMP isn’t always a walk in the park. But we’re here to help you every step of the way.

Living on a DMP

Your survival guide. Here's how we help you.


This page: packed with the answers to the questions our existing clients ask us most often and is regularly updated with the information you need to know.


OnlineDMP: update your creditor details, review your DMP quickly and easily, view your six most recent statements.


Our expert advisors: only ever a phone call away. If you can't find the information you need here then call us.


The MoneyAware team: support while you’re sticking to a budget, with top tips and tools to become a money-savvy expert. 

Setting up your DMP

You’ve spoken to one of our debt advisors, they've worked out your budget and advised you that the best way to get your situation back on track is with a debt management plan (DMP).

But they did go through a lot of information. So here’s a step-by-step guide on what you need to do to get your DMP up and running as soon as possible.

One hour after your debt advice session

Sit down, put the kettle on and have a cup of tea.

The hard bit is out of the way. We’ve gone through your budget and helped you work out how much you can afford to pay your debts each month.

Before you start getting all your information together take 15 minutes to relax and feel happy with the fact that things should only get better from here on in.

If we’ve emailed you your personal action plan it’ll be waiting for you in your inbox by the time you have finished your cuppa (if we've posted it to you it'll be there in the next few days).

The day after your debt advice session

Right, time to get things moving.

To set up your DMP we only need 4 things. To make sure your DMP is set up as quickly as possible please send all of this information to us in one go.

  1. Proof of your income. This can be a wage slip or a bank statement and it needs to match the amount you gave us during your debt advice session. If it doesn’t make sure you include a note to tell us why
  2. A list of your debts. Don’t worry about sending us a statement from each of your debts. We just need the name of the company and your account number with them
  3. Your signed DMP agreement. Without this we can’t contact your creditors
  4. The completed Direct Debit mandate

You can post it to:

Plan Activations, StepChange Debt Charity, Wade House, Merrion Centre, Leeds, LS2 8NG. If you post your information to us, make sure you take your envelope to the post office and pay the correct postage.

Or, if you can scan all of the information you can email it to us at activate@stepchange.org. If you don’t have a scanner you can take a picture of the documents on your smartphone and send this to us – but make sure they’re good quality, clear photos. If you do this don't forget to include your name and client reference number in the email.

The week after your debt advice session

As long as you sent us all the information we need we'll be busy setting up your DMP.

Once we've processed your information we'll contact each of your creditors and:

  • Tell them you’re coming onto a DMP with us
  • Give them a copy of your budget so they know you’re paying as much as you can afford
  • Let them know when they’ll get the first payment from us

If any of your creditors contact you, just let them know your plan has been set up, we’ve sent them their proposal and they’ll get their first payment soon.

We'll also send you a DMP welcome pack. It's full of useful information about:

  • How your DMP will work
  • What to expect from your creditors
  • What you need to do to make sure your DMP runs smoothly

Questions our DMP clients ask

We answer many questions about DMPs every day. If you're wondering how we work out what to pay creditors, when your payment dates are, or how a DMP affects a credit file, read Your questions answered.

Now your DMP is up and running

Meet the MoneyAware Team.

They're here to give you a helping hand throughout your DMP, sending you a monthly email packed with information on how to survive the trickiest times on your DMP. 

                                             Photo of the MoneyAware team

They'll also point you to the tools you need to make sure that when you've repaid all of the debts on your DMP that you continue to have a debt free future. They aren't in it for the short term, they want to transform your future! 

Look out for your first email once your DMP is set up. 

Here's what to expect in the first 12 months

left right
Day 1 - Your plan is active

We’ve sent all of the creditors in your plan a proposal telling them how much they’ll get paid and giving them a copy of your budget. They’ll may still contact you as it can take them a while to process this information.

Month 1 - Your first payment

You’ve made a payment to us but you're still getting letters and phone calls. It may take a couple of months of regular monthly payments from us before things settle down. Bear with it, it will get easier.

Month 2 - Hello from us

Check your inbox because the MoneyAware team will send you your first MoneyAware email. You'll get a new one every month and it'll be packed with money savings tips and the latest debt news. 

Month 3 - Peace and quiet

The phone calls are probably starting to die down now your creditors have received a few payments. If you’ve got a letter from them recently why not login to OnlineDMP and update your balances.

Month 4 - Interest and charges

Some creditors may still be adding interest and charges to your debts. We know it's disheartening, but keep at it. Your debts will get sold to a collection agency and they will normally stop these.

Month 5 - Default notices

You might have got default notices from your creditors. These will stay on your credit file for six years but are a normal part of the collections process. Just carry on making your monthly payment.

Month 6 - Creditor updates

Some creditors may contact you to see if anything's changed. If nothing has, drop us an email through OnlineDMP and we'll send them a copy of your budget to let them know.

Month 8 - Debt swapping

If you get letters from debt collection agencies saying they have taken over a debt, all you need to do is log on to OnlineDMP and give us their details. We'll contact them and start sending them payments.

Months 10 and 11 - your budget

Now things have hopefully settled down, start to track your spending. This will help you when your review is due as you'll have a better idea of what areas of your budget you might need to tweak.

1 year in - Your annual review

You’ve reached your first full year on your DMP. Congratulations! We’ll need to review your DMP at least once a year. Just log in to OnlineDMP to get your review started.

Your annual DMP review

We'll do a review of your DMP every year to make sure your monthly payments are affordable and your budget is realistic. Your first review will usually be 12 months after the start of your DMP.

To make sure you're ready for this read our MoneyAware article on how to prepare for your review.

We'll then do this review once a year to make sure everything is still ok. You can do your review online at any point through OnlineDMP.

After your 1st year

You're now a DMP veteran and, if we're honest, you'll have experienced most of what your creditors can throw at you. It's now just about making your monthly payment and seeing those debt balances come down.

There are still a couple of ways you could get those balances down quicker though:

  • You could save a bit of extra money by changing your gas and electricity supplier
  • Keep checking the MoneyAware blog. It's packed with money saving hints and tips

And why not keep yourself busy and get involved with us:

What should I do if...

My debt's been transferred

This will probably happen to each of the debts on your DMP. Find out what you need to do when your debt is transferred

My situation changes

We know that at some point during your DMP your situation is likely to change. Here's what you need to do and how we'll help you if your situation changes

I've received a court form

Don't panic. This isn't as bad as it seems. And as long as you deal with the forms straight away it's a really straightforward process. The first thing you need to do is read our guide on how to fill in your County Court judgment (CCJ) forms

Your questions answered

Here are the answers to some of the burning questions you might want to ask about your DMP.

How do you work out what to pay my creditors?

We always make sure that we're paying each of your creditors a fair amount of the payment you make to us. Find out exactly how we do this

How do you work out my contractual payments?

Your contractual payments were worked out during your first session with us. Here's a breakdown of how we work your contractual payments out

How and when should I pay?

The easiest way to make your DMP payment is by Direct Debit. Find out more about the different payment methods we accept and when your payment needs to get to us

Will my credit file be affected if I'm on a DMP?

Yes it will. And there's no way to avoid this happening. If you're on a DMP you'll probably receive a default notice from each of your creditors because you're making a reduced payment. This will register on your credit file for six years. You may also get a county court judgment which would register on your credit file. 

This will make it much harder for you to take out any further credit. Our MoneyAware Team have some top tips on how to get your credit file back on track once you've finished your DMP.

Find out more about how a DMP affects your credit file.

Will my priority arrears be paid through my DMP?

We may have included priority arrears to rent or mortgage, council tax, utility bills, TV licence or other household costs in your DMP. If we’ve included these arrears, they’ll be paid from the money you pay into your DMP. But you must keep making the normal weekly or monthly payments direct to the priority creditor yourself.

For example, your rent of £500 a month is in arrears and you’re starting a DMP at £200 a month. We’d contact your landlord and offer them a share of your £200 DMP payment to clear the arrears. But you must keep paying the £500 monthly rent yourself to stop any further arrears building up.

How can I prevent my DMP from failing?

Your DMP is meant to be a debt solution that’s flexible and realistic. That’s why we need to know if any issues arise that could make your DMP difficult to manage.

How do I keep my DMP running smoothly?

From standing your ground with creditors to staying in touch with us, there are lots of things you can do keep your DMP on track.

Why have I been sent a different DMP agreement?

We’ve done this to give you more information about your responsibilities and what we do to keep your plan running smoothly and fairly. Find out more about the changes to your DMP agreement


Manage your DMP online. Update creditor details or complete your annual review at a time and place to suit you, day or night.


Need to get in touch with us?

If you're on a DMP with us and would like to talk to an advisor you can find our contact numbers here.

What's in your DMP email

Our DMP emails are packed with brilliant articles like these:

Don't receive the email? Then what are you waiting for! Call us with your email address and we'll sign you up for our monthly run down of all the latest debt news and loads of money saving ideas. 

Helping you become debt free...

“I wish to thank your staff for all the great help they gave me when I was in so much debt.
They were a pillar of support to me.” (Leslie, Essex)

Foundation for Credit Counselling Wade House, Merrion Centre, Leeds, LS2 8NG trading as StepChange Debt Charity and StepChange Debt Charity Scotland. A registered charity no.1016630 and SC046263. It is a limited company registered in England and Wales (company no:2757055). Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

*This is the average rating of our service based on the StepChange reviews on Feefo by DMP and DRO clients three months into their solution.

© StepChange Debt Charity 2016