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Managing an IVA

Managing an individual voluntary arrangement (IVA)

Should you enter into an IVA, it’s important to make sure you make the payments agreed and let the insolvency practitioner (IP) dealing with your IVA know about any changes to your circumstances.

An IVA is a form of insolvency. It’s a legally-binding agreement made between you and your creditors that allows you to pay off a percentage of your debt within a fixed timeframe.

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.

After you’ve made all the payments, which include the fees agreed by you and your creditors, any remaining debt is written off. However it’s important to make sure that you stick to the terms of your IVA, otherwise it could fail.

IVAs are arranged by StepChange Voluntary Arrangements, part of StepChange Debt Charity. In Scotland, a protected trust deed is a similar solution. This has different benefits, risks and fees.

Managing your IVA

In this section you'll find answers to frequently asked questions to help you manage your IVA.

What happens if my circumstances change during an IVA?

It’s important to let your IVA supervisor know if you experience a change of circumstances during your IVA.

What happens if I miss an IVA payment?

Missing an IVA payment could mean you’re breaking the terms of your agreement. If you can’t make a payment to your IVA it’s important to let the company dealing with your IVA know.

Can I claim PPI on an IVA?

If you’ve been mis-sold PPI you may be thinking about making a claim. Find out if claiming for PPI could impact your IVA.

Can my IVA fail? Find out how your IVA can fail and the steps you can take to prevent it from happening.

What happens when my IVA ends? Find out what to expect once you’ve made your final payment to 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.


Budgeting effectively while you’re on an IVA

You’ve taken the first step in taking control of your finances with the approval of your IVA. The next step is living to your budget, which you must do if your IVA is to successful.

Putting your budget down on paper is the easy bit. However, sticking to it can be a challenge.

Budgeting allows you to cover all of your essential costs without overspending meaning your individual voluntary arrangement is more likely to be a success.  

Keep a keen eye on your finances

In addition to managing your monthly household expenses, it’s important to budget for one-off annual expenses, such as road tax or insurance.

Your budget allows for you to put money for one-off annual expenses aside during your IVA. One way to do this is to organise each item of your expenditure into one of three simple categories:

  • Regular payments (mortgage/rent, council tax, gas, electric, your IVA payment)
  • Everyday expenses (food, toiletries, petrol)
  • Expected one off costs/emergencies (repairs, clothes, MOT etc)

Open a separate basic bank account for your one-off annual expenses and set up a regular transfer to it. Or if you prefer, you can put the money aside in a jar for easy access once payment is due.

Keep on top of regular payments with Direct Debits

It’s useful to set up Direct Debits for your priority bills, to come out the same day you get paid. This will help you avoid spending this money.

It’s worth reviewing these regular payments to see if you can make savings by switching energy suppliers. Comparison sites that offer an OFGEM approved switching service can help you find out if you’d be better off switching to another provider.

You can also review your TV, internet and phone packages to see if you’re paying for services you don’t use.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that things like food shopping, sports, hobbies, petrol can vary a lot. Make sure you stick to the amount in your budget by working out how much you have to spend each week.

Keeping a spending diary to track how much you’ve spent every day or week can also help. It’s harder to track everyday spending when using your debit card so try and use cash for these 

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