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Debt arrangement scheme (DAS)

Repay your debts at an amount that's affordable to you with a debt payment programme.

Is DAS right for me?

Debt payment programmes (DPPs) under the Debt Arrangement Scheme are only available in Scotland.

A debt payment programme (DPP) is part of the Scottish Government’s Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS).

In a DAS, you pay back the money you owe based on what you can afford. The people you owe money to (also known as your creditors) cannot take court action against you.

Debt payments programmes can only be set up by an approved organisation that offers debt help, such as StepChange Debt Charity Scotland.

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How does it work?

We look at your living costs and bills to see what money you have left over for debts. We will check this information with you.

You make regular payments to us, which we then share between the people you owe money to. We recommend a monthly direct debit, however there are other payment options. Please discuss these with us, if a direct debit is not suitable.

In your application, you can choose how much you want to pay toward your debts. However, your creditors will be able to see this and the amount you have left in your budget.

StepChange Debt Charity is an approved money adviser. This means we are authorised to set up DPPs. However, you can choose another money adviser to set up your DPP if you want.

By law, the people you owe money to must stop adding interest and charges when they receive your DPP proposal.

You do not pay any fees. The fees are paid by the people you owe money to. All of your repayment goes towards your debt.

Learn more about DPP fees.

Benefits of a DPP

  • You make a single monthly payment to us and we use this to pay the people you owe money to. There are other payment options if you need them
  • We don't charge any fees. All the money you pay goes to repaying your debts. The DPP fees are paid by the people you owe money to
  • The people you owe money to have to stop adding interest and charges on the debts included in your DPP
  • Payments to your debts will be reduced. This makes it easier to cover your essential living costs
  • The people you owe money to cannot take further action against you to recover the debt. This includes taking you to court. They cannot ask you to pay more
  • You will keep your assets, these include your valuable items such as savings, vehicles and your property

Risks of a DPP

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DPPs are only available if you live in Scotland. A debt management plan (DMP) is a similar solution available throughout the UK but has different benefits and risks associated with it.

How to apply for a DPP under the debt arrangement scheme

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Find out whether a DPP is the right debt solution for you. Use our online debt advice tool or speak to one of our advisors

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If a DPP is right for you we will explain how to set it up and support you during this process

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When we have everything we need, we will get in touch with your creditors. You then start making payments to them through your DPP

You should always get free and impartial advice before going ahead with any debt solution. To find out more about you, when we advise you we ask questions like:

  • How much money you owe and who you owe money to
  • What types of debts you have
  • How much you can pay towards your debts
  • Whether your circumstances could improve in the future

A DPP would not be right for you if you no have money to pay into it.

We also check if you are able to pay back what you owe in a reasonable amount of time.

The easiest way to find out if a DPP is your best option is to use our free online debt advice tool.

You can only apply for a DPP if you live in Scotland.

This depends on how much you owe and how much money you have left over each month to pay towards the debt. We work out what money you have left over to repay your debts after covering your living costs, such as your food, housing and energy bills.

You will only be able to set up a DPP if you can repay what you owe in a reasonable amount of time. This may be up to 20 years, although it is rare for DPPs to last this long.

Your DPP ends when you have made all the payments you agreed to make and the debts have been cleared, or if you clear the debts with a lump sum payment.

If you cannot repay your debt in a reasonable amount of time you may be more suited to a form of insolvency like sequestration.

The payments you make through a DPP are smaller than the amounts you first agreed with your creditors (your contractual payments). This means DPP payments will be recorded as ‘partial payments’ on your credit file.

You can rebuild your credit file later when you have your money situation under control. It is better to focus on handling your debts first.

Your single monthly payment to us helps repay your less important, or non-priority debts.

The following debts cannot be included:

  • Secured debts, such as mortgages, secured loans and hire purchase on vehicles
  •  Council tax, rent and rates, and utility bills

If you have fallen behind on these, you can include the arrears (overdue payments) in your DPP.

You should continue to make your usual payments for these priorities directly. Learn more about priority payments.

If you cannot afford to make your usual payments for your priority debts, you should contact us as soon as possible. There is a risk of your DPP being stopped.

Small changes to your payment might not cause any problems, but if the amount you can afford to pay reduces you need to let us know so we can talk through your options. Your DPP could be amended, or you may be able to get a payment holiday.

You should also get in touch with the people who you owe money to. You will need to ask them to agree to you making smaller payments in the short term. 

We’ll set up your DPP completely free of charge. Some commercial debt management companies charge for this.

You do not pay any fees, as these are paid by the people you owe money to. All of your repayment goes towards your debt.

The fees paid are 20% of your monthly payment to us and 2% to the Accountant in Bankruptcy. These fees cover the running costs of the DPP.

About StepChange Debt Charity Scotland

We help hundreds of thousands of people each year across the UK.

In our Glasgow head office we have expert teams of advisors who specialise in giving free debt advice to people living in Scotland.

We are an approved organisation for providing advice and managing Scottish debt solutions.

We also campaign on your behalf to make changes to law and policies. We use the real experience of our clients to drive home the need for change. Read our 'Scotland in the Red' report .

More Scottish debt solutions

There are a variety of debt solutions available in Scotland to help deal with your debts. You can find out more about the solutions below or you can visit our visit our debt advice in Scotland page.

Worried about debt?

Use our free online debt advice tool to get tailored advice and debt solutions.

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We have helped millions of people since 1993.

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While we hold your money, it’s covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, which can pay compensation if we’re unable to meet our financial obligations. You can find out more on the FSCS website, www.fscs.org.uk.