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

Your token payment plan

We’re here to support you while you get your financial situation back on track.

Token payment plan

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

This page: packed with the answers to the questions we get asked most often and regularly updated with the information you need to know.

Our budget improvement checker: if you want to see if your situation has improved enough to go on a more long-term debt solution use our free online budget improvement checker.

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 token payment plan (TPP)

You’ve contacted us for advice and as an existing client we've advised you that the best way to get your situation back on track is with a token payment plan (TPP). Even though a TPP won't help you repay your debts it'll give you some much-needed breathing space while you concentrate on getting things back on track.

We recommended a TPP because something in your situation is going to improve within the next 12 months. Perhaps it's that you're currently paying off arrears, or returning to work soon. And when this happens we'll be able to look at a long term debt solution to help you become debt free.

A TPP isn’t a long-term debt solution, and won't help you repay your debts. But it could give you the breathing space you need until your situation improves. We’ll then help you find a more permanent solution to repay your debts.

We probably went through a lot of information, so here’s a step-by-step guide on what you need to do to get your TPP 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. You don't have enough spare money to make a big payment to your creditors but we'll help you pay £1 a month to each of them.

Before you start getting all your information together take 15 minutes to relax and feel happy with the fact that you've done something positive to help your situation.

If we’ve emailed you your personal action plan it’ll be waiting for you in your inbox by the time you've 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

Right, time to get things moving.

To set up your TPP we only need 4 things from you. So we can get you up and running as quickly as possible (the faster we set it up the quicker we can contact your creditors) please send all of this information to us in one go.

1. Please send us proof of your highest income. This should 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. It also needs to include your name and can be one of the following:

  • Your most recent payslip (dated within the last 3 months)
  • A recent bank statement that shows your income received (dated within the last 3 months, and you can also highlight your income figures if you feel this would help us identify it quicker)
  • Your most recent benefits award letter (all pages and this should include the amount of benefits that you are currently receiving)

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. You could even take photos of your recent statements and email these into us.

3. Your signed TPP 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



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 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 TPP.

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

  • Tell them you’re setting up a TPP with us
  • Give them a copy of your budget so they know why we've set up your TPP and that 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.

Here's what to expect during your TPP

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Day 1 - Your plan is active

We've sent each of the creditors a proposal. This tells them you'll be paying £1 a month until things improve. They'll probably still contact you as it can take them a while to process this information.

Month 1 - Your first payment

We'll take your payment by Direct Debit straight from your account. It'll be £1 for each of the debts you have. So if you have 6 debts we'll collect £6 from your account.

Month 3 - Peace and quiet

The phone calls from your creditors should be starting to die down now they've received a few payments. If you're still getting phone calls have a look at what you can do if your creditors keep calling you.

Month 4 - Interest and charges

Most of your creditors will see that you're trying to improve your situation and will have stopped interest and charges. If some creditors are still adding interest and charges find out what you can do.

Month 5 - Default notices

You might have received 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 - Debt swapping

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

Towards the end of your TPP

Hopefully your situation should have changed (or be about to change). We'll contact you before this happens and ask you to call us with your updated budget figures.

The end of your TPP

Now your situation has improved we'll look at a permanent debt solution for you. One of our advisors will explain the debt solution that's best for you and the next steps you need to take.

Your TPP review

We'll review your token payment plan (TPP) at the time when you expect your situation to improve. This means if you thought you'd be back in work in 8 months' time, we'll set your review for 8 months after your TPP is set up. 

We'll contact you a month before your review is due asking you to contact us.

When you call us we'll go through your budget and see what's changed. We'll also find a permanent debt solution to help you become debt free.

Has your situation improved?

If we previously told you that you had no money to repay your debts but your situation has improved since then, this could change the advice we originally gave you. Examples of things that can change include a reduction in your spending or an increase in the amount you're earning.

Use our budget improvement checker to see where you stand now that your finances have improved.

What should I do if...

My debt has been transferred to a  debt collection agency

This will probably happen to each of the debts on your TPP. Find out what to do when your debts are transferred to a collection agency.

My creditor is asking for more than £1

Some creditors might say you need to pay more than £1 a month. You don't. Stick to the £1 and don't pay them anything extra outside of what you pay us. 

I've recieved a court form

As scary as it might seem this is a standard part of the debt collection process. If you've recieved a court form follow our step by step guide on how to fill in a county court judgment.

Questions we get asked by our TPP clients

There are some common questions that most clients will ask us when they're on a TPP. If you're wondering whether your creditors will be happy with £1 a month, what happens when your situation changes and a few other insider secrets.

How and when do I make my monthly payment?

You need to make your payment by Direct Debit. This is quick and easy and we'll take the payment from your account on the 1st or the 10th of each month.

Why are my creditors still sending statements to me? 

Even though you're making a payment to your creditors through us, they'll still contact you. They need to keep you up to date with what's happening to your account. Most of the letters you'll be sent are standard letters that you don't need to do anything with. Our handy table below gives you a quick run-down of the letters you're most likely to receive and what you need to do with them.

Type of letter What you need to do
Statement - this will usually have a breakdown of the payments you've made along with any interest or charges that have been added You can keep the statement for your records but you don't need to reply to it. Depending on the creditor you might get one a month or one a year
Arrears letter - this will tell you how far behind you are with your payments. The letter will always ask you to pay off your arrears. You don't need to do anything. Just carry on paying the amount you can afford through your TPP.
Default notice - this will ask you to get your account up to date within 14 days or the agreement with your creditor will end. As you can't afford to pay the amount they're asking for it will impact your credit file. These are a normal part of the collection process.
A letter from a different company - sometimes a creditor will pass or sell your debt to a debt collection agency. You need to call us and let us know as we'll start dealing with this company instead
County court judgment - this is a legal letter sent by a creditor. The claim pack will have an N1 on it. This letter is important and you need to reply to it. Have a look at our CCJ information to find out what you need to do.
What happens if my situation doesn't improve?

With the best will in world, sometimes the change you were hoping for just doesn't happen. If this is the case we'll still review your budget and look at the best way to deal with your debts. 

What happens if something changes before my review?

You can contact us anytime your situation changes and we'll review your budget. This could mean that we can set up a permanent solution to help you become debt free sooner. 

Will my priority arrears be paid through my TPP?

We may have included arrears to rent or mortgage, council tax, utility bills, TV licence or other household costs in your TPP. If we’ve included these arrears, they’ll be paid from the money you pay into your TPP. 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 TPP at £10 a month. We’d contact your landlord and offer them a share of your £10 TPP payment towards the arrears. But you must keep paying the £500 monthly rent yourself to stop any further arrears building up.

Why have I been sent a different TPP agreement?

We’ve recently improved the TPP 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 TPP agreement

Need to get in touch with us?

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

Quick ways to boost your budget

Claim extra benefits - every year people in the UK miss out on £10 billion. Make sure you're getting everything you're entitled to. 

Reduce your fuel bills - with energy prices on the increase check you're getting the best deal on your gas and electricity.

Have you heard about MoneyAware?

Our MoneyAware team work tirelessly to provide you with the best in money saving tips and news that affects you and your finances  

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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