What is a Debt Management Plan (DMP)?
A debt management plan or DMP is simply; a plan or program meant to help you repay your debts comfortably. DMPs are recommendable for people with non- priority debts such as store card debt, credit card debt, overdrafts or personal loans. Debt management plans are usually prepared by debt management companies. Your DMP provider will work with you and your creditors to come up with the most affordable debt repayment schedule for you that is agreeable to your creditors. A typical DMP will involve a borrower making one payment monthly to their DMP provider who in turn, pays creditors as per the agreed plan. Typical DMPs run for 3 to 5 years. They are part of debt consolidation plans designed to help individuals in debt regain control of their debt/finances while decreasing unsecured debt.
Types of debt that can be paid off using a debt management plan
Debt management plans are ideal for non-priority debt which includes; personal loans, overdrafts, building society loans, bank loans, money borrowed from family/friends, payday loans, credit card loans, store card debt, home credit, and catalogue or in-store credit debt.
Examples of debt that CAN’T be repaid of using a DMP include; council tax, court fines, utility bills (electricity and gas bills), child support, TV license, high purchase agreements, National insurance, income tax, VAT, rent, mortgage and any other loans secured using your home. Basically, all kinds of priority debt can’t be settled with a DMP.
Getting a debt management plan
Getting a DMP is easy. Many debt advice organisations in the UK offering free advice can help you get a debt management plan. Free debt advisers offer expert debt advice to many people in the UK every year. They are among the best-suited organisations to go to for advice when you find yourself in financial problems.
Before you choose a specific debt management provider in the UK, it is worth noting that all reputable providers have FCA authorisation. You can check for authorisation on the official FCA Financial services register.  This is particularly important when dealing with fee-paying providers.
Once you have identified a suitable provider, the next step is agreeing on a suitable monthly budget. This step is important for determining the amount of money you can afford repaying comfortably. After setting a budget, your provider will go ahead and negotiate with your creditors on new repayment terms. A good provider will be able to secure a good DMP that is agreeable to all parties. Most creditors don’t have a problem with people who owe them money as long as you show gestures of goodwill.
A debt management plan will help you take charge of your finances again. However, it doesn’t guarantee you “peace of mind”. Some creditors may still contact you. Also, as mentioned above, DMPs are available for non-priority debt only. It’s also worth noting that DMPs may affect your credit history.
What’s more; creditors are not obligated to accept DMPs. Creditors may also continue adding charges and interest which can increase the total debt repayment amount. A good provider should be able to negotiate great terms that offer safeguards against such practices. Lastly, it’s good to recognise the fact that DMPs may extend the amount of time it takes to repay your debts. Debt repayment methods such as contractual payments are faster.
Main advantages of DMPs
Although DMPs attract some cons, they have notable advantages. One, you get debt consolidation without taking on additional loans. A DMP will also make you more organised with your finances. You could also improve your credit score and credit report over time. Last but not least, you stand to enjoy some reprieve from creditors or debt collectors because they have an incentive to stop pursuing you.
Why do you need a DMP?
You can choose to repay your debt on your own; however, this isn’t a good idea if you are in debt in the first place. Instead, you should focus on finding professional help externally. People who let debt overwhelm them before they can seek help face serious financial problems. For instance, no one may be willing to lend you by the time you decide to seek help. Your finances may also spiral out of control. Furthermore, taking long to seek help extends the amount of time you need to become debt-free. You can also get free debt advice in the UK!