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Debt management plan (DMP)

Manage your debts with our fee-free DMPs. Pay them off at an affordable rate with reduced monthly payments.

Is a DMP right for me?

DMPs are available throughout the UK.


A debt management plan (DMP) helps you to manage your debts and pay them off at a more affordable rate by making reduced monthly payments. DMPs from StepChange Debt Charity are fee-free.

We'll work with you to establish a budget that meets your household's needs. If a DMP's right for you we’ll help you set up and manage it, at no cost to you.

Many debt management companies provide DMPs, but most charge a fee. Our DMPs have no set-up charges or monthly fees.

Benefits of a DMP

  • Our DMPs are fee-free - most companies charge a fee for their DMPs
  • You’ll only pay what you can afford to your creditors after we've put together a monthly household budget
  • If you’ve fallen behind with your household bills you can add the arrears to your DMP to help get your accounts back up to date. You'll still need to make your regular ongoing monthly payments.
  • You'll make one monthly payment to us and we'll manage the payments to your creditors for you
  • We’ll review your DMP regularly to make sure you’re paying what you can afford

Risks of a DMP

  • Some of your creditors may still contact you
  • Most creditors will agree to reduce or stop interest and charges, but they don’t have to
  • If creditors continue adding interest and charges, this could increase the total amount you currently owe
  • Your creditors don’t have to agree to your reduced payments, but we’ll still send your payments anyway
  • Your creditors may still take further court action against you, such as a County Court judgment (CCJ)
  • Reduced payments may lead to a longer arrangement term and could have a negative impact on your credit file
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How we helped Julia

Julia, Devonshire: "I wished I had asked for help before. I got in to so much debt, and was ill with stress. StepChange made me feel so comfortable."

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How to apply for a DMP

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Find out if a DMP is the right debt solution for you. Use our online tool to get debt help or speak to one of our expert advisors.

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If we recommend a DMP 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 DMP.

Video: What is a debt management plan (DMP)?

A debt management plan, or DMP can help you feel more in control of your finances if you’re struggling to repay your debts.

It allows you to make a single monthly payment towards your debts, based on what you can afford, after you’ve covered your essential living costs.

So, let’s take a look at some of the benefits and risks of a DMP.

A DMP can be a more affordable way for you to manage your debts, and at StepChange we don't charge any fees for managing your plan or contacting your creditors.

The whole of your monthly payment goes towards repaying the money you owe, and you’ll be able to track your progress as you move out of debt.

When your DMP is up and running you'll make your payments to us, and we’ll then distribute it among your creditors.

And then each year, you’ll need to review your finances and plan with us. This is important, not only to make sure that a DMP is still suitable for you and your circumstances, but to also prevent your plan from being stopped.

That hopefully sounds good. However there are several risks that you’ll need to consider.

A DMP shows your creditors that you're willing to pay back the money you owe, and in many cases they'll stop adding interest and charges to your debts. But this isn’t a guarantee, and they can still continue to apply interest and charges to your debt, and take further action including taking you to court.

It’s also worth remembering that because you're making lower payments towards your debts your credit file may be affected and it may take longer to pay your debts back.

Finally, it's important to get expert debt advice to make sure it's suitable for you.

We offer free debt advice online or over the phone. We'll help you put together a realistic budget and a recommend the most suitable debt solution for you.

If an DMP is a solution that’s appropriate for your circumstances, we'll help you set it up and be here to support you every step of the way.

Frequently asked DMP questions

You should always get free and impartial advice before going ahead with a debt solution. To find out which option is best for your circumstances, we’ll ask you a series of questions during a debt advice session, including:

  • How much money you owe and who do 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

We wouldn’t recommend a debt management plan to you if you’d struggle to make payments towards your debts, or if you were unable to pay them back within a reasonable amount of time.

Ready to find out if a debt management plan is right for you?

Firstly, have a debt advice session online or over the phone. If we think a debt management plan is suitable for you, we’ll recommend it. at the end of your advice session. You’ll then get a personal action plan with a step-by-step guide to apply for one.

We’ll confirm the information you’ve provided is correct and work out the single monthly payment you’ll make to us to share among your creditors.

To allow us to manage your payments you’ll need to send us a signed agreement and Direct Debit form.

Ready to get started?

A debt management plan will almost always affect your credit file and credit score. This is because you usually pay less than the minimum repayment amount you agreed to when you initially took the debts out.

A DMP isn’t specifically registered on your credit file but the reduced payments could impact on a few different areas of your credit file. Details of court action, defaults or missed payments will be removed six years from the date it happened, even if the debt hasn’t been fully repaid.

Read more about how a DMP affects your credit score here.

If you've fallen behind with your priority household bills (such as your utility bills, rent or mortgage) and built up arrears then we can add these onto your DMP and include them in your monthly DMP payment.

If you add these arrears onto your DMP we'll help you clear them as quickly as possible. Once your arrears start to clear the amount that's being paid towards your unsecured debts will increase.

This makes repaying your arrears easy and stress free as it's all included in the single monthly payment you make to us. All you need to do is make sure you continue to make the normal monthly payment towards your priority household bills. Learn more about how to get a DMP.

Yes, you can. If you already have a DMP some of your monthly payment may be going as fees to your debt management company. Switching to a free StepChange DMP means that all of your monthly payment goes towards repaying your debt – so you could repay them more quickly.

Several debt management firms have closed due to not meeting the required standards set by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). If you’ve been affected by these closures, you can switch as well.

The first step to switching your DMP is for us to learn more about your debts and your household budget so that we can recommend the right debt solution for you.

Debt consolidation involves taking out a loan to repay all unsecured debts you may have. Usually the loan would be paid back over a longer period than the debts it was taken out to repay, therefore lowering the monthly payments. However, interest is usually charged.

A debt management plan doesn't involve taking further credit. Instead, new payment terms are agreed with your creditors, based on what you can afford to pay. Use our free, confidential online debt advice toolto see if a DMP is your best option.

Read our DMP guides

It's important you're fully informed about how debt management plans work and how they can affect you before you go ahead with this solution. Our DMP guide section has practical advice about the whole process: from applying to what happens after your DMP ends.

Debt management plan guides

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