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How will a DRO affect me

Debt relief orders. DROs and your credit score

A debt relief order (DRO) is a way to have your debts written off if you have a relatively low level of debt and you have few assets. If you have a debt relief order at the moment, or you’ve had one in the past, you should be aware that it will affect your credit score while it’s in place, and for up to six years after it’s been approved.

What is a debt relief order (DRO)?

A DRO freezes your debt repayments and interest for 12 months. If your financial situation hasn’t changed at the end of this period, then all the debts included will be written off.

Find out if a debt relief order is right for you with our free online debt advice tool.

If you’re thinking about a DRO, it’s important that you’re aware of all of your debts to make sure you’re eligible. If you’re not eligible, we offer many other debt solutions that can help you manage your debts.

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How does a DRO affect my credit score?

A DRO will stay on your credit file for six years from the date it's approved. This may make it more difficult for you to take out credit during this time.

Some new creditors will rate your recent credit history more highly than older events. However, some creditors also have a policy not to lend to anyone who has had a default on their credit report regardless of how long ago it took place

When you’re on a DRO, you’re not allowed to take out credit of more than £500 without telling the lender that you have one. Some lenders may not be willing to lend money to you once they see you have a DRO.

A DRO is also visible on a public Individual Insolvency Register, and you should bear this in mind if you’re thinking of applying for one.

Can I get a DRO removed from my credit file?

It’s not possible to get a DRO removed from your credit file. What you can do is check your credit report to make sure the DRO has been updated as ‘discharged’ after the DRO period, usually 12 months, is complete.

If your credit file hasn’t been updated after your DRO has been discharged, you should let the credit reference agencies know.

You can also check to make sure the accounts included in your DRO are marked as 'satisfied' or 'partially settled'. If they’re not, you should contact your creditors to make sure this is done.

If the reason for you taking out a DRO was something outside of your control, like redundancy or a serious illness, you can apply for a ‘notice of correction’.

This is a short statement of up to 200 words which you can send to the credit reference agencies and ask them to make available to potential creditors. The creditors may take this into account when deciding to lend to you.

How can I improve my credit score after a DRO?

Improving your credit score can take time, but it is possible. You should make sure:

  • You keep up with all agreed payments on your debts, including mobile phone bills and credit cards
  • All the details on your credit score are correct, such as where you live
  • register on the electoral roll where you live if you haven’t done so already

There are some credit cards for people with bad credit scores. Read about what to consider before applying for one.

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Considering a DRO?

We can help with free, impartial debt advice online now.

Get debt help

How else might a debt relief order affect me?

There are a number of ways in which a DRO could affect you.

Bank accounts

You might find it harder to open a new bank account while you’re on a DRO, and for a period after it’s ended. Your bank won’t automatically be told that you have started a DRO, unless they’re listed as one of your creditors.

However, some banks check automatically to see whether their customers have been given a DRO. If you bank does find out, they’ll decide whether to freeze your account or let you open a new one.


If you rent your home, and you look to move, many private landlords and letting agencies will require a credit check when you apply for tenancy.

Because a DRO will show up when they run their check, you may be turned down for the tenancy, or charged higher fees. You may need someone to act as a guarantor for your rent if this is the case.

If you feel that you’ve been treated unfairly by creditors during or after your DRO, we can help you understand your rights.

How do I check my credit score?

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.

Get online advice to find out if it is right for your financial situation. If you're worried about the impact a DRO could have on your credit file, there may be other solutions that would be more suitable for you. To get started, use our online debt advice tool or you can call us.