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How does a DMP affect me?

How does a DMP affect your credit rating?

Being on a debt management plan (DMP) will almost always affect your credit file and score. This is because you could be paying less than the minimum repayment amount you agreed to when you initially took the debts out.

If you already have a history of missed payments or ‘defaulted accounts’ before getting a DMP your credit file will have been affected already. You have the opportunity to rebuild your credit rating after you’ve completed your debt management plan.

Not sure if a DMP is right for you?

It’s important to get free and impartial advice before going ahead with any debt solution.

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Will a DMP show on my credit file?

  • If you’re still paying the full contractual amounts to your creditors: your DMP will not appear on your credit report
  • If you’re paying less than the minimum payment: ‘partial payments’ will be recorded on your credit file

Some creditors will add DMP or ‘arrangement to pay’ markers for the payments they’re receiving through debt management plans.

Find out more about DMPs and credit files

How long does a DMP stay on a credit file?

Details of court action, defaults, partial payments and missed payments are recorded for six years. They are removed six years from the date it happened, even if the debt hasn’t been fully repaid.

When your DMP ends you can improve your credit score by using credit sensibly.

Does a debt management plan affect your credit rating?

Any time you miss payments or pay less than the agreed minimum payment your credit rating can be affected. Making reduced payments through a debt management plan shows creditors that you’re dealing with your financial difficulties – a longer record of missed payments could have a more serious impact on your credit score.

Some lenders or landlords may ask you to use a guarantor before agreeing to lend to you or allow you to rent one of their properties.

Find out more about guarantors for loans, rent and mortgages.

Can I improve my credit history on a DMP?

Your credit history will start to look a lot better once your DMP has been completed. All negative information such as details of missed payments or court action will be removed after six years, even if the debt’s not fully repaid. Additionally, if an account has defaulted, the debt will be removed entirely from your credit file six years after the default even if it’s not fully repaid.

There are several steps you can take during your DMP and continue once it's complete, to improve your credit score, such as:

  • Regularly check your credit report: By doing this you’re able to correct any misinformation or inaccuracies as soon as they appear
  • Being registered on the electoral roll: This will help future lenders verify your personal information is correct
  • Paying your bills on time: Depending on how you pay for them, bills such as your gas, electric and mobile phone contract will appear on your report

signpost iconFor more information on repairing your credit file including alternatives to taking out new credit, we’ve written an article about how to improve your credit file after a debt solution on our MoneyAware site.

How do I check my credit file?

A number of credit reference agencies offer a free one-month trial where you can access your credit score. Find out about the credit references operating in the UK.

What could be added to my credit file during a DMP?

There are several types of information that a creditor could record on your credit file. Your creditors usually make a note on your credit file every time you miss a payment, take an agreed payment holiday, or pay less than the minimum on a debt.

It’s understandable you might want to avoid this happening, but it’s not as serious as it may seem.

Let’s take a look at what kind of information a creditor may log on your credit file and why.

Payment history

The payments you’ve made to your debts up to this point will have been logged on your credit file. DMP payments can be less than the normal payment on a debt, so your credit history will show that partial payments are being made towards the debt. This will happen even if a creditor is happy to accept your reduced offer of payment.

DMP flag or marker

There isn’t a specific place in your credit report to register that you’re on a DMP. But each account included in your DMP can have a marker added to it that shows repayments are being made through a DMP. A creditor can only add a DMP marker to your debt if they accept your offer of payment.

Defaults

If your creditor defaults your account they’ll add details of the default to your credit history. This will stay on file for six years from the date it was entered. You may not receive a default for every debt on a DMP but it’s very common for accounts to default.

Court judgments and decrees

If you receive a county court judgment or CCJ (England & Wales), a decree (Scotland) or a money judgment (Northern Ireland), details of this will also be added to your credit history for six years

Is a debt management plan right for me?

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DMPs and rental agreements

Current tenancies

If you’re already renting it’s unlikely your current landlord would be told about your debt management plan. Rent is a ‘priority payment’ so you would be advised to pay this in full, outside your DMP, and come to an arrangement to pay any rent arrears you might have at an affordable rate.

New tenancies

Starting a new tenancy while you’re on a DMP may be more difficult because some landlords will want to check your credit file.

They may be less willing to accept you as a tenant if you have negative information such as missed payments or defaults on your credit file.

Landlords can only access your credit file with your permission, and you’ll be asked to sign a form giving your consent first.

Not all landlords perform credit checks. Social landlords, such as local authorities and housing associations, are less likely to look at your credit history.

Smaller private landlords and letting agents won’t always use information from credit reference agencies. Some will only check public records. They don’t need your permission to do this, but the information they can find will only tell them if you have a recent history of court action or insolvency. It won’t tell them about defaults or missed payments.

Some private landlords or letting agents may still be willing to accept you as a tenant even if you have a poor credit history. However, they may ask you to provide a guarantor with a good credit rating, or a pay a larger deposit or rent in advance.

DMPs and mortgages

Taking out a new mortgage

If you don’t currently own a property it will be more difficult to get a new mortgage while on a DMP. The outstanding debts you have will be considered as a negative factor in a mortgage application and information registered on your credit file about your debts could count against you.

Another significant barrier will be not having a lump sum of money available to put down as a deposit.

Remortgaging

It may be harder to remortgage when on a DMP, but there may be some options available, depending on how long you’ve been on the plan for. If your mortgage deal expires then your current mortgage lender will usually offer their ’standard variable rate‘. This isn’t likely to be the best deal on the market, but it’ll mean your mortgage can continue with your current provider.

Whether you’ll be able to obtain a new mortgage deal will depend on a variety of factors:

  1. The amount of negative information recorded on your credit file
  2. How much equity you have in your property, and
  3. Your current income

We strongly recommend getting qualified mortgage advice if you need help remortgaging while you’re on a DMP. It’s also worth finding out how a DMP may affect your mortgage, rent or tenancy, even if you’re up to date with the payments.

Car insurance and DMPs

Paying for car insurance by monthly instalments may involve a credit check because you’ll be signing a new credit agreement. Because car insurance can be cancelled if you don’t keep up with the payments, lenders offering these credit agreements are less likely to refuse you than other types of debt

While it’s not guaranteed you’ll pass a credit check while you’re on a DMP, very few of our clients have problems getting car insurance. However, you may be charged a higher rate of interest because of your credit history, so your monthly payments could be higher.

Find out more about interest and charges.

Mobile phone contracts

If you’re on a DMP it’s a good idea to keep your mobile phone costs as low as possible. New mobile phone contracts will usually involve a credit check and there’s a chance you’ll be rejected if you’re applying for a contract that includes an expensive phone and high monthly cost. If you’re looking at cheaper handsets with lower costs you may have a better chance of being approved.

Not sure if you can afford your current mobile phone contract?

Utility bills

Some utility companies may run a credit check. For example, this might happen if you apply to change from a pre-payment (‘pay as you go’) meter to a credit meter where you can pay monthly or quarterly.

Find out how to get help with and save money on utility bills.

 

Can I get credit while I’m on a debt management plan?

You shouldn’t take out any further credit while you’re trying to repay your existing debts through a DMP. Doing so could be a breach of your plan agreement, as you’re not in a position to make the minimum payments on the debts you already have.

Your budget should account for all the regular costs that are likely to crop up while on a DMP, so hopefully there’ll be no need to borrow money to cover these.

If you have an unexpected high expense, you may feel you need to borrow money. We recommend you speak to your DMP provider before taking on any more debt, so they can check if there are any realistic alternatives, for example reducing your plan payments or applying for a grant to help you.

If you do need to take out a new credit agreement the lender will run a credit check. And because making reduced payments impacts your credit file, you may be charged a higher interest rate or refused credit altogether.

Don't consider a debt consolidation loan to try to pay your debts off earlier if you're on a debt management plan.

Can my DMP affect the people that I live with?

Your DMP will only affect people who you have joint financial products or joint debts with. This would be something like a loan, bank account or household bills that are in joint names.

In this case there’ll be a ’financial association' linking your credit files. This means your record of making reduced payments may affect the other person’s credit file and their ability to get credit.

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If you’re struggling to repay your debts use our online debt advice tool or call us (free from all landlines and mobiles). 

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