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Managing a DMP

Debt management plan dos and don’ts

Although they may seem a bit daunting, there are lots of practical things you can do to help make life on a debt management plan (DMP) easier.

There are also potential issues that may arise and make a debt management plan a bit tougher to manage if you're not sure how to deal with them. With careful planning of your budget and other techniques, you should be able to keep your DMP running smoothly.

5 things to do during your DMP

1.Stand your ground with creditors.

While a creditor should start to contact you less once you started your DMP, you may still be contacted from time to time.

Many of the phone calls and letters you’ll receive from creditors are likely to be automated. What's more, things usually settle down once your creditors see that you’re making regular DMP payments. This is because your DMP payment is a reflection of what you can afford to offer. Although it’s still possible for creditors to take further action against you.

2. Stay on the ball.

Some debts are sold on to debt collection companies. This is a normal part of the debt collection process. All you need to do is let the collection company know you’re on a DMP, and then contact your DMP provider so they can update your plan.

3. Include all of your debts.

Make sure all of your debts are included in the DMP, even if you think you can manage that catalogue payment or want to keep your overdraft ‘for emergencies’. Sometimes you might have missed a debt from your plan, so be sure to let your DMP provider know about any changes as soon as possible.

By including all your debts you’ll be treating your creditors fairly so they’re more likely to support your DMP.

4.Accept that it takes time to settle down.

Time and consistency will usually work in your favour. Get used to making payments, commit to the DMP and you’ll find that in most cases contact from your creditors should reduce, as long as you have a realistic budget in place.

5.Keep in mind that things may change.

Your budget should always be realistic, so it’s important that you review it regularly. Unexpected costs do crop up sometimes, so just let your DMP provider know if this happens.

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5 things to avoid on your DMP

1. Don’t panic!

The majority of concerns can be resolved by keeping up to date with changes and by staying in contact with your DMP provider.

2. Don’t make extra payments to your creditors on top of your DMP payment

This could suggest to your creditors that you’ve got extra money to pay towards your debts, or that your budget is inaccurate.

If you can afford to pay extra, let your DMP provider know so they can review  your budget and monthly DMP payment.

3. Please don’t struggle on if you feel things aren’t right.

If you’re struggling or are worried, please contact your provider. It may be that your budget needs reviewing to make things easier to deal with.

4. Resist searching the web for answers to questions.

When you’re already anxious about something, you need tailored advice. Your DMP provider knows your situation and will be able to provide this for you.

5. Don’t prioritise your DMP payment over your important bills.

This might not come naturally, but don’t pay your DMP payment before your household bills and living costs – always pay priority debts first. If your quality of life is suffering or you’re falling behind with bills then your DMP isn’t doing its job properly. Your DMP provider’s priority is to make sure that your DMP is a realistic and beneficial debt solution for you. Staying on top of your household bills is a very important part of this. 

Free DMP advice

If you’re struggling with unsecured debt then please get in touch. Our expert advisors can give you advice on dealing with arrears and getting your payments up to date. You can also use our free online debt advice tool Debt Remedy.

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“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.

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