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Managing an IVA

Individual voluntary arrangements and your creditors

Creditors chasing or contacting you should reduce significantly while you’re on your IVA, but it won’t stop completely and this isn’t anything to worry about.

Being contacted by your creditors while you’re paying them back through an IVA can be worrying and frustrating, but it’s normal during the first few months. This is because it can take some time for creditors to update their records after your IVA is approved. However, over the first 3-6 months of your IVA contact from your creditors should gradually start to reduce.

But, while it’s normal to still get letters or emails chasing the money you owe, if you receive any threatening debt enforcement action, such as from bailiffs or about a County Court judgment (CCJ), you should contact us or your IVA supervisor as soon as possible.

IVAs are arranged by StepChange Voluntary Arrangements, part of StepChange Debt Charity.

IVAs aren't available if you live in Scotland. In Scotland, a protected trust deed is a similar solution, but has different benefits, risks and fees associated with it.

Creditor contact after an IVA is approved

Once your IVA is approved by your creditors, interest and charges will be frozen and no further action can be taken by the creditors in relation to your debt. You might still get some creditor contact during the first few months. This could include calls from a creditor’s collection department chasing the debt.

This is because it takes time for your creditors to update their records after IVA is approved. All you need to do is tell them your IVA was approved and direct the creditor to us, or your IVA provider. You don’t need to discuss anything else with them.

In time this contact should stop. We usually recommend allowing your creditors a period of up to three months to update their records regarding your IVA.

Clare Lindley and James O'Carroll of StepChange Voluntary Arrangements are licensed to act as insolvency practitioners in the UK by the Insolvency Practitioners Association.

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What do I do about letters from creditors?

Again, in the early days after your IVA is approved, creditors may still not have updated their systems and letters may still pop through your letterbox. Often these letters are automatically generated and until the systems are updated.

You can keep them for your records or dispose of them accordingly. There’s no need to call a creditor about these letters and they will usually stop within three months.

You’ll probably still receive annual statements as they’re obliged to send you statements at least once a year, and these aren’t demands for payment. This is perfectly normal and nothing to be worried about.

What do I do about creditors taking further action against me?

If you’re concerned about the creditor defaulting your account or threatening legal action, such as from bailiffs or about a County Court judgment (CCJ), you should contact your IVA supervisor.

What's a 'Notice of Assignment'?

A ‘Notice of Assignment’ is a letter about a debt that has been sold on to a third party, such as a debt collection agency

Creditors are still entitled to buy and sell any debts listed in your IVA, but the creditor who buys the debt will still be bound by the terms of your IVA. They can’t take any action to recover the debt.

The ‘Notice of Assignment’ letters aren’t demands for payment, they are sent to you for information only. If you receive any, please send them to us so we can update our records and ensure any correspondence is sent to the right creditor.

What if I forgot about one of my debts

If you’ve forgot to include one of your debts in your IVA proposal or it was something you were previously unaware of until they contacted you, it’s important you notify your IVA supervisor immediately. An IVA is binding on all the creditors but your IVA supervisor can advise you on how this debt can be addressed and the next steps.

Applying for an IVA?

StepChange is an approved organisation to manage IVAs.

  1. The first step is to see whether an IVA is right for you. To do this use our free online advice tool or call us and speak to one of our expert advisors.
  2. If an IVA is the best solution to your debt problem our specialist company, StepChange Voluntary Arrangements, can help you through the set up process.
  3. We'll review your finances and put forward the IVA proposal to your creditors. 

There are no up-front fees, and we won’t charge you for debt advice. Fees are detailed in your IVA proposal, which an IP will assist in drafting. Any fees have to be approved by creditors. Your IP will explain what fees you need to pay for your IVA.

StepChange Voluntary Arrangements is a registered trading name of Consumer Credit Counselling Service Voluntary Arrangements Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of StepChange Debt Charity.