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Individual voluntary arrangement (IVA)

With an IVA from our award-winning team, you make affordable repayments to your debts over a fixed period, with the remaining debt written off at the end.

Is an IVA right for me?

IVAs are available in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

An individual voluntary arrangement (IVA) is a formal agreement allowing you to make affordable payments to your debts, usually over five or six years. At the end of your IVA any unsecured debt left is written off. You can also make a one-off payment known as a lump-sum IVA.

Last year 98% of our IVA proposals were accepted by creditors. Although many companies offer IVAs, ours are more likely to succeed than the industry average.

If your IVA fails, creditors may request the supervisor of your IVA petitions for your bankruptcy.

Benefits of an IVA

  • You make affordable monthly payments, usually over five or six years
  • If you’re a homeowner you’ll usually be able to keep your home, as long as you maintain the mortgage payments and any secured loans on your property
  • There are no set up fees to be paid before your IVA is agreed
  • There are fees once your IVA is in progress, but these will be included in your monthly repayments and are set by your creditors
  • If you have a lump sum to offer, this can be paid as a one-off ‘full and final’ settlement, or a combination of a lump sum payment followed by monthly payments
  • Once you've made your final payment any remaining unsecured debt is written off and your creditors can't pursue you for payments

Risks of an IVA

  • If there’s equity in your home, you’ll need to try to re-mortgage which may result in a higher interest rate
  • If you're unable to re-mortgage you can make a maximum of 12 extra payments or a third party can offer a sum equivalent to the equity
  • If your IVA fails, creditors may request the supervisor of your IVA petitions for your bankruptcy
  • Your credit rating will be negatively affected
  • Your creditors may not agree to your IVA
  • At the end of your IVA, only unsecured debts included in the arrangement will be written off. Any not included will remain outstanding
  • Your IVA will be recorded on a public register
  • Once your IVA is set up your spending will be restricted until the IVA comes to an end


How we helped Kieran

Kieran, Glamorgan: "I buried my head in the sand, became so anxious and hardly survived. I’m at the end of my IVA now...my anxiety's gone down and I feel like myself again."

Get help like Kieran did >
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Individual voluntary arrangements aren't available if you live in Scotland. In Scotland, a protected trust deed is a similar solution, but has different benefits, risks and fees associated with it.

How to apply for an IVA

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The first step is to see whether an IVA is right for you. To do this use our free online advice tool or call us and speak to one of our expert advisors.

one iconIf an IVA is the best solution to your debt problem our specialist company, StepChange Voluntary Arrangements, can help you through the set up process.

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We'll review your finances and put forward the IVA proposal to your creditors. 


98% of proposals put forward by StepChange Voluntary Arrangements are accepted by creditors*

Female IVA advisor on the phone

Why choose us?

  • Award-winning IVA team.
  • 98% of our IVA proposals are accepted by creditors.
  • In 2017 creditors agreed to write off £32m of our clients' debts.

*Source: StepChange VA overall approval stats 2016. In rare circumstances a lender may not approve an agreement.

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Frequently asked IVA questions

An individual voluntary arrangement is a type of insolvency and a legally binding arrangement between you and your creditors. It may be a suitable solution if you can afford to pay something to your debts, but not the full amount your creditors want.

If you have a lump sum to pay towards your debts, you may also qualify for an IVA. The easiest way to find out if an IVA is your best option is to use our free, confidential online debt advice tool.

An IVA should be carefully considered because of the possible consequences for your personal, professional and financial life. span>There are several risks and things you must consider before applying which is why you should get expert debt advice.

Ready to find out if an IVA 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.

If an IVA is right for you, we can help you set up your arrangement through our own IVA company, StepChange Voluntary Arrangements. We won’t charge you for the advice and support we provide before your IVA is set up.

Ready to get started?

IVAs are a type of insolvency and will show on your credit file for six years from the date they begin. During this time you're likely to find it difficult to obtain credit. You must also inform your insolvency practitioner (IP) and get written permission if you want to take out more than £500 worth of credit during your IVA.

Details of individual voluntary arrangements are listed on a public register called the Individual Insolvency Register. Its unlikely that anyone would come across this information, but it's something to be aware of.

No matter who arranges your IVA there are associated costs and fees.  Our IVA costs and fees follow industry standards and, at StepChange Voluntary Arrangements we don't charge a fee for the advice and support we provide before your IVA is set up.

All fees are agreed by you and your creditors before an IVA is approved. If at any time you decide not to go ahead with an IVA with us, there will be no fees to pay.

Other IVA companies may charge different fees. It's important to check and understand them before going ahead.

Some jobs could be affected if you're on an IVA, for example:

  • Company directors
  • Law and property roles
  • Finance and accountancy roles
  • Pub licensees

The best way to find out if an IVA or bankruptcy would impact on your job is to check with your professional membership body or trade union or ask to speak to your HR department confidentially. It’s important to check if your job will be affected, but in our experience most jobs are not.

Over the first 3-6 months of your IVA contact from your creditors should gradually start to reduce and it's usually nothing to worry about. But, while it’s normal to still get letters or emails chasing the money you owe, if you receive any threatening debt enforcement action, such as from bailiffs or about a County Court judgment (CCJ), you should contact us or your IVA supervisor as soon as possible.

Our individual voluntary arrangement (IVA) guides

An individual voluntary arrangement is a legally binding debt solution, and can have serious consequences. It's important that you're fully informed before making a decision. Our individual voluntary arrangement guide section has great advice about the entire process.

Worried about money?

Use our online tool to get free debt advice tailored to your situation.

Get help now >

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.