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i The advice on this page applies to residents of Scotland only.

Living on a DPP? Here’s your guide.

We know that life on a debt payment programme isn’t always easy. But we’ll help you every step of the way.

Living on a DPP


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


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


DASH portal: track your application status easily and review your Debt Payment Programme, once approved.

Setting up your DPP

You’ve contacted us about your situation, we've worked out your budget and advised you that the best way to get back on track is with a debt payment programme (DPP).

But we did go through a lot of information. So here’s a step-by-step guide on what you need to do to get your DPP 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 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 couple of days).

The day after your debt advice session

To set up your DPP we need the following forms, and to ensure your DPP 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. If you're receiving benefits we'll also need proof of these (apart from child benefit). This proof can be your most recent award letter.
  2. A recent statement or letter from each of your creditors showing your account details, balance and their address. If possible this should be dated within the last month. 
  3.  Your signed DPP Declaration and DPP Mandate. Without this we can’t contact your creditors.
  4. The completed Direct Debit mandate.

You can post it to:

Plan Activations, StepChange Debt Charity, 33 Bothwell Street, Glasgow, G2 6NL. 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 DAS@stepchange.org. If you do this don't forget to include your name and client reference number in the email the scans are attached to.

The week after your debt advice session

Once we've processed your information we'll contact you to arrange a checkpoint call to make sure you’ve read and understand the conditions of the DPP and that you’re still happy to go ahead with it.

Once we’ve spoken to you we’ll submit your application onto the DASH Portal. This is a system that the Accountant in Bankruptcy (AiB) uses to process and monitor DPPs.

We’ll then contact all your creditors and ask for confirmation of the total amount you owe them and let them know you’re applying for a DPP.

Once we’ve got this information for all your debts, we’ll issue DPP proposals to each of your creditors. They then have three weeks to agree to the proposal.

  • If all the creditors agree your application will be accepted and we'll write to you to confirm this
  • If any of the creditors object to your application then it’ll be submitted to the DAS Administrator (this is the AiB) for a 'fair and reasonable' test. They’ll have the final decision on whether or not to approve your DPP. If your application isn’t approved we’ll contact you and discuss other solutions to help you.

If your application is been approved your payment distributor will also contact you and you’ll have 42 days to make your first payment.

If any of your creditors contact you before your DPP is approved just let them know your plan is being set up and we’ll get in contact with them.

Here's what to expect in the first 12 months

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Day 1 - Your plan is active

We’ve sent all of your creditors a letter telling them how much they’ll get paid. They’ll probably 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 your payments distributor but you're still getting letters and phone calls from your creditors. Bear with it, it will get easier.

Month 3 - Peace and quiet

Now you've been paying for a couple of months the phone calls are starting to die as your creditors have received a few payments.

Month 4 - Interest and charges

Some creditors may add interest and charges to your debts. Don't worry as long as you complete your DPP these will be written off once your final payment is made.

Month 5 - Default notices

If you receive any default notices after your DPP is approved you need to let us know so we can contact your creditor and remind them about your DPP.

Month 8 - Debt swapping

If any of your debts are passed to a debt collection agency you need to send us the letter and notice of assignment (this is the formal notice that the debt's been transferred)

Months 10 and 11 - your budget

Now things have 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 DPP. Congratulations! We’ll need to review your DPP at least once a year. We’ll contact you to arrange this


Your annual DPP review

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

We'll then do this review once a year to make sure everything is still OK.

After your 1st year

You're now a DPP veteran and 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 debt blog. It's packed with money-saving hints and tips

Questions we get asked by our DPP clients

There are some common questions that most clients will ask us when they're on a DPP. If you're wondering how we work out what to pay your creditors, when the payments date are and a few other insider secrets.

How do you work out what to pay my creditors?

This is the role of the Payments Distributor. It’s their job to divide your payment between your creditors on a fair share basis.

When do I make my first payment?

This must be made within 42 days of your application being approved. Your Payments Distributor will contact you to arrange this.

What if any of the information I've given you changes?

You need to contact us immediately and let us know what the changes are.

What happens at the end of my DPP?

If you are coming to the end of your debt payment programme read our guide to completing your DPP.


Need a helping hand?

0800 652 7491 Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm*


What is the DASH portal?

After you set up your DPP with us, we'll enter your details onto a system called the DASH portal. This is the system that the Accountant in Bankruptcy (AiB) uses to to process and monitor DPPs.

You'll receive a secure username and password, and be able to login and see how your DPP is progressing once it's set up.

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