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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. 

Your top 5 DMP questions answered

Here are the answers to the top 5 burning questions we get asked about DMPs.

What are your payment dates?

Our Direct Debit dates we offer are the 1st or the 10th of each month. We also accept alternative methods such as standing order, bank transfer, Transcash and debit card payment. The cut off dates for these methods are later in the month and we’d recommend you call us for more information.

Are the creditors adding interest and/or charges?

No DMP provider can guarantee that a DMP will stop your creditors adding interest and charges to a debt. In most cases, the contract you signed with a creditor allows them to add interest and charges, and they can continue to do this even if you’re making reduced payments through a debt management provider.

In practice, most companies will recognise that when you’re in financial difficulties, adding further interest or charges will only make things worse, so the majority of creditors will consider stopping these. However, some creditors may continue to add interest and charges, and may chase the debt through the normal debt collection process.

What information do I need to complete my review?

Gather up-to-date details about your finances, including your income, outgoings and debts, including any priority arrears balances. Completing this budget form can help you with this. You should also gather details of assets or other commitments you might have such as finance agreements, property value, and outstanding amounts.

My situation hasn’t changed since I last completed a review. Do I still need to complete one?

Yes. As set out in your DMP agreement if you don’t review your plan at least once a year we’ll have no option but to close it. So even if your circumstances haven’t changed, it’s important you review your plan once a year. You can complete your plan review yourself online at a time that suits you. If you haven’t used our online service before don’t worry, you’ll find full instructions on screen.

It’s important that we make sure your plan is still right for you, as we know that people’s circumstances can change. If your situation has improved, we can help you to be free of your debts sooner. Or you may be struggling with your current payments, and we can help with that too. There may even be other debt solutions that are now available and more suitable for you.

Why aren’t your balances up to date?

The balances we hold for you are only estimates, and we rely on you to update your balances at least every 12 months. You can ask you creditors for up-to-date balances or by checking your credit file. You can update your balances online or by calling us.

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

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

OnlineDMP

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

OnlineDMP

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 2017