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i This solution is available throughout the UK.

Managing a DMP

How could my DMP fail?

Even though a debt management plan (DMP) is a flexible debt solution, there are still some ways it could fail. Often, a DMP failure can be prevented if you let us know about the problems you’re dealing with.

If you're worried that your DMP could fail, please get in touch with us, or your DMP provider, as soon as possible. We'll support you however we can.

Let's take a look at what the common causes of a DMP failure are.

What counts as a failing DMP?

Your DMP was set up to help you make realistic payments towards your unsecured debts after your living expenses and priority debts were paid.

The three main 'symptoms' of a failing DMP are:

  • Struggling to make your DMP payment each month
  • Going into arrears on your priority debts
  • Doing without essentials such as food and toiletries so you can make your DMP payment

If you’re struggling to meet the payments on your DMP, please don’t panic. It might be that you and your DMP provider need to take another look at your situation.

If your DMP is with us, please call us as soon as you can so we can review your DMP together.

How do DMPs usually fail?

There are many reasons why a person may struggle to keep their DMP going, such as:

Incorrect budget: If your expenses have changed since you first put together your budget, or something’s missing from your budget, then your DMP payment will need to be reviewed.

The price of food, household bills, travel and other daily costs can increase over time. Without adding these increases to your budget, your DMP payment may become difficult to manage when your outgoings have increased and you’re finding yourself having to cut back on essentials. This can cause your plan to fail.

For this reason, it's important you perform a review at least annually with your DMP provider so they can make sure your budget is sustainable.



A budget that's difficult to stick to: In order for your budget to work, you need to make sure you're happy with the budget your DMP provider helped create for you so you can stick to it as best as you can. You do this by only spending within the amounts outlined in your budget.

If you’re not working to your budget when you shop, or if you’re overspending, this’ll make your DMP payment a struggle to pay.


Not enough in your budget for essentials: When you first put your budget together, you may have thought you needed less money to cover essentials such as food, clothing, toiletries and travel.

You’re by no means alone. Many clients are willing to make sacrifices to pay more towards their DMP. However, we recommend reducing your spending where possible while still being realistic about your essentials.

Your creditors wouldn’t expect you to do without the things you need. If you need more money to cover your essentials each month, we can review your budget.



Leaving a debt out of your budget: You must include all of your unsecured debts in your budget. If you leave any out, the creditors you haven’t included in the plan are likely to continue expecting the minimum payment on your debt. What’s more, you may struggle to pay this separate debt because it hasn’t been included in the budget you put together.

If you include all of your debts, you’re creditors will have a better understanding of your situation and are more likely to support your DMP. Also, including every debt means you only have to make one payment a month, instead of several payments.

It’s easy to forget a debt, especially if you’ve lost the paperwork or haven’t heard from the creditor in a while. One way to find information on all your debts is to access your credit file. You can do this online, for free through the one of the three credit reference agencies in the UK.

If you’ve forgotten to add a debt to your DMP you'll need to let your DMP provider know as soon as possible.

If it’s been longer than six years since you made a payment to this debt, it could be classed as ‘statute barred’.



Missing several DMP payments: If you find yourself dealing with an unexpected expense, such as a broken boiler or car repairs, you may be unable to make your monthly DMP payment.

Although we wouldn’t usually cancel your plan for one missed payment, especially if it’s due to circumstances outside of your control, other providers may. However, if you regularly miss your DMP payments, we may have no choice but to cancel your DMP.



Failing to review your budget on time: Without reviewing your DMP regularly, there's no way of knowing it’s still the best solution for you.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) states that we must review your DMP together at least once a year. If you’re not sure when your next review is due, don’t worry. We’ll send you a letter, email or SMS advising you when it’s due. If, however, we don’t hear from you, our last resort may be to close your DMP.


Taking out credit during your DMP: Using credit during your DMP is against the terms of our plan, and may result in it being closed.



If a creditor rejects my DMP, does that mean it's failing?

For the most part, creditors tend to accept the amount you’re able to pay them through a DMP, as it’s an accurate reflection of what you can afford at the moment.

If for some reason a creditor doesn’t accept your DMP payment, this doesn’t mean that your plan’s failing. It just means that they don’t feel that your current payment offer will be suitable in the long-term.



Having a creditor disagree with what you’re offering them can be discouraging, but it’s important that you continue making the payments. They should still accept their share of your DMP payment regardless of whether they agree with it or not. If they don’t, please get in touch with your DMP provider.

If the creditor passes the debt to a collection agency, you should receive a letter notifying you of the change in hands shortly after. You'll need to let your DMP provider know so they can update their records and make sure your payment goes to the right company.


I want to make sure my DMP succeeds. What should I do?

Your DMP has a great change at succeeding, as long as you:

  • Regularly review your budget
  • Stick to your budget
  • Look for ways to reduce your spending and save money on bills
  • Have enough money each month to cover yours and your family's essentials
  • Tell us about every debt you owe

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.

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*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 2018