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

The Debt Arrangement Scheme is a debt management tool only available in Scotland. It lets you apply for a debt payment programme (DPP) which helps you repay your debts by making affordable monthly payments.

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

Benefits of a DPP

  • A DPP is a legally binding arrangement that lets you repay your debts at an affordable rate, while still leaving you enough money for household bills and living costs
  • All interest or charges that are being applied to your debts will be frozen at the point when you apply for your DPP
  • Your creditors can’t contact you or take any further legal action against you
  • If your situation changes you can apply to vary your payment or apply for a payment break, although the term of the break will be added to the DPP
  • Once your DPP is complete, your debts will be paid in full

We’ll set up your DPP completely free of charge. Some commercial debt management companies charge for this. Once your DPP is approved, 22% of your payment is taken as fees to cover the running costs, so you won't repay more than you owe. The percentage is set in law, and there are no other hidden charges.

Risks of a DPP

  • Once you’re on a DPP your details will be put onto the DAS register. This is an online register that anyone can access
  • A DPP will appear on your credit file for six years
  • If you don't keep up your payments the DPP could fail, and creditors can add interest charges, or take further action against you
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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 expert advisors.

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If we recommend a DPP we’ll give you a 'personal action plan' with information about getting it set up and support you during this process.

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Once we have the all information we need, we'll contact your creditors and you start making payments to them through your DPP.

A DPP will normally be suitable for you if you have money left over at the end of each month (after you’ve paid your household costs, like food shopping, accommodation and utility bills) and you can clear your debts in a reasonable amount of time.

The easiest way to find out whether a DPP is your best option is to use our free, confidential online debt advice. Other solutions may be available to you, such as debt management plans (DMPs). Find out about the differences between DPPs through DAS and DMPs.

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

When your application has been successful, you make affordable payments into your DPP. These payments are then shared out on a fair basis between the different creditors that you owe money to.

Your DPP is set up and managed by an accredited ‘continuing money advisor’, and your payments are taken and passed onto your creditors by a ‘payments distributor’.

StepChange Debt Charity Scotland is a continuing money advisor and a payments distributor. This means if you set up your DPP with us, we’ll do all of this for you.

Read our guide to find out more about DPPs and the Debt Arrangement Scheme.

This will depend on how much debt you owe and how much money you have left over (surplus) each month to pay the debt. You’ll 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’s rare for DPPs to last this long.

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

Your DPP ends when you’ve 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. Read our guide to completing your DPP to find out what to do next.

Your DPP payments are recorded on your credit file and remain for six years. Find out more about how your credit history is used to calculate your credit score.

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

Once your DPP is approved, 22% of your payment is taken as fees to cover the running costs. The percentage is set in law, and there are no other hidden charges.

So if you're paying a creditor £100 your debt will be reduced by £100, however the creditor will actually receive £78 and the other £22 will cover the fees. 2% is paid to the Accountant in Bankruptcy (AiB) and 20% is kept by your payments distributor.

If you set up your DPP with us and we enter your details on the system the AiB uses to process and monitor DPPs we’ll be your payments distributor, so we’ll keep the 20%.

About StepChange Debt Charity Scotland

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 campaign on our clients’ behalf for a society free from problem debt, producing annual reports based on the real experience of our clients across each Scottish constituency.

Read about our 'Scotland in the Red' report on our Medium blog

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.

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