8 questions every DMP client asks

posted by in Living with debt

Questions and answers

What’s your question?

A debt management plan (DMP) is an informal arrangement between you and your creditors. We manage these plans free of charge so that everything you pay into the plan goes towards clearing your debts.

Our debt advisors are always just a phone call away to answer any question, but here are the 8 questions we get asked the most, with answers, to save you a call if possible!

1. Are creditors still adding interest and charges?

The best way to find out if creditors are still adding interest and charges is to check your monthly statements from your creditors.

2. Have creditors accepted my offer?

Creditors will sometimes write to StepChange Debt Charity to say that your offer of payment has been accepted, sometimes they will write directly to you, and sometimes creditors don’t make any contact (it can be confusing!). If interest and charges have been suspended it looks like creditors are happy with the revised amounts being paid.

3. Creditors have rejected my offer; what do I do?

As above, you might get a letter from a creditor saying they have rejected your offer of payment. In reality this makes no difference to your DMP. You continue to pay us and we will distribute the same amount to the creditor whether they reject the arrangement or not.

4. Why am I still being charged interest?

Contractually a creditor can continue to add interest and charges if they wish. Once you break the original terms of your contract creditors can enforce penalties, as detailed within the original terms of the credit agreement you signed or agreed to.

5. Can StepChange Debt Charity stop interest and charges?

Creditors understand that by using StepChange Debt Charity you’re not paying a fee and therefore reducing your debt with them quicker.

StepChange Debt Charity does have a team that works on creditor relationships. We constantly strive to make our service the best for you and your creditors.

However, despite this there is nothing we, another charity or a debt management company can do to guarantee that interest and charges will stop.

6. My payment is going down; will creditors be angry?

If, at your annual review, your payment into the DMP decreases, you might worry that creditors who had previously accepted your DMP may change their minds.

Creditors can change their minds and add interest and charges if they wish but if your budget shows that you’re making your best effort along with evidence supporting the payment reduction they’re unlikely to do so. At the end of the day you can only pay what you can reasonably afford.

7. How have StepChange Debt Charity worked out my monthly income?

We work income out monthly. If you get paid weekly this will be your wage per week x 52 and then divided by 12, to equal your monthly income.

If you get paid 4-weekly you get 13 pay cheques per year, so we work this out as your monthly pay x 13 divided by 12 to equal a monthly income.

If you get paid every 2 weeks we work this out as your fortnightly wage x 26 wages per year, divided by 12 months.

This ensures that your income and expenditure are worked out using the same timescale.

8. Why haven’t StepChange Debt Charity paid my creditors?

You pay us on the 1st or 10th of the month, and we distribute money to all creditors within 5 working days of receiving it. We pay most creditors by electronic transfer so the payment will normally be applied to your account with them the same day.

Some creditors ask us to pay them by cheque, and because they have to processes these manually the payment won’t be applied to your account until a few days after we’ve sent it.

If you’re a StepChange Debt Charity client and have a question for us, contact our Customer Services team.  Log in to your OnlineDMP account for more details.

If you’re a DMP client with another organisation and want to come to StepChange Debt Charity read our article on switching your DMP.

Matthew worked as an IVA drafter prior to working in social media. In a former life he wrote scripts for Eastenders, Emmerdale and Hollyoaks. He has 3 chickens, 2 dogs and a rabbit.

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Tags Living with debt
  • sandra

    when i have sent the papers back when do i pay you the money to you

  • Hi Sandra and thanks for your question.

    We’ll check through everything you’ve sent to make sure there’s nothing missing. Once we’ve done this we’ll contact you with your payment options.

    It’s usually set up for the following month so you’d be making your first payment in June.

    I hope this helps but just give us a call or send us an email with your client reference number if you’re unsure.

  • Chris B

    What happens to the debt we haven’t paid at the end of the DMP period?

  • Rachel

    Ive submitted my paperwork via email for a DMP. Do I now stop my direct debits to my creditors or do I wait to hear from you that they have accepted the offer of payment? They are due paying in 6 days.

    • moneyaware

      Hi Rachel

      your bank should be able to cancel the direct debits for you if you just give them a quick ring or call into your local branch.

      Best regards

      Rachel

  • Katie

    i have sent all my paperwork back on the 8th, iv had no reply from yourselves im just wondering if everything is up and running?

    • moneyaware

      Hi Kate,

      If you give our plan activations team a call on 08442 641 917 (Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm) they’ll be able to check we have everything we need.

      Thanks,
      Jess

  • moneyaware

    Hi there Anon,

    Thanks for your message. If you’ve taken out further credit and you’re struggling to meet the payments, I’d suggest you give us a
    call on the number in your advice pack. An advisor will be able to have a chat with you about your circumstances and talk you through your options. It’s always better to let us know about this sort of thing so we can make sure you’re getting the most appropriate support for your situation.

    I hope this helps.

    Kind regards,
    Laura

  • Anon

    I’m on a Dmp but will have to reduce my work hours due to child care. This takes away my surplus. What happens next as ill have nothing to repay the creditors.

    • moneyaware

      Hi,

      The best thing for you to do is to speak to whoever is dealing with your DMP. They’ll be able to take a look at your budget and give you advice on what you need to do next.

      It could even mean that a DMP might not be the best way to deal with your debts once your situation changes, but it’s best to speak about it first so you’re clear on what the best course of action is for you.

      I hope this helps,

      Rory

  • Annon

    I have a DMP, however with the interest charges over 12 months what I have paid in had hardly touched the original debt, do you have a team I can speak with who maybe able to help?

    • moneyaware

      Hi there, thanks for getting in touch.

      Being on a DMP is not a guarantee that your creditors will
      freeze the interest and charges on your debts (although some do out of good will). If you feel that the added interest and charges are causing you financial difficulty, it may be worth speaking to your DMP provider to see if they can speak to the creditors and try to encourage them to consider freezing the interest.

      It wasn’t clear from your comment if you’re on a DMP with us or with another provider. If you’re with another company and they charge a fee, it may be worth getting in touch with us, as our DMPs don’t have fees. Please visit our contact us page for more information: http://www.stepchange.org/Contactus.aspx

      Kind regards

      Rachel

  • londoner

    I’m currently in a DMP with StepChange and I’d like to add my comments here, mainly to enlighten people who may be considering going into the DMP.

    First of all, I need to warn you that StepChange are not on your side. They have to stay neutral (that was a big shock to me).

    They seem to favour DMPs as opposed to IVAs, not sure why (because both completely ruin your financial history/credit profile for many many years).

    They take ages to proceed from the budget stage to the actual DMP implementation. In the meantime, you start getting default notices (and by then, it’s too late to change your mind).

    Apart from the original setup with the creditors they will not do anything else to help you in any meaningful way. They have no “ins” with the banks so as to get you better deals (i.e.: with regards to freezing interest, etc).

    When you do receive correspondence from the debtors, StepChange don’t really want to hear about it. They respond to everything with either a: “you can call them directly” or b: “we’ll resend them the proposal”.

    They don’t even keep score of the debt total and they take at least 4-5 working days to respond to emails.

    I also found it bizarre that although the DMP is not a contractual agreement between any of the parties, StepChange ask that you sign an agreement with them.

    The only good thing about the DMP experience is that banks know who they are and that they don’t charge you fees.

    I would not suggest a DMP to anyone unless your debt is small and you earn a good salary.

    • moneyaware

      Hi there,

      Thanks for posting your feedback on our service.

      If you’re unhappy with the service you’ve received from us, have any questions or if you’d like to have a chat with us about some of the points you’ve mentioned, please email our team: moneyaware@stepchange.org

      We’ll be happy to look into this further for you.

      Kind regards,

      Jen

    • eg1991

      Hi, this is one opinion. However, I believe what Stepchange are offering is invaluable. Stepchange do not charge you for their services and speaking from my personal experience, they have helped me out in ways that I feel I will never be able to repay. I was completely snowed under with debt and my head was well and truly buried in the sand. Thanks to Stepchange, this time next year I will be debt free and my life will be getting back on track. I have no doubt in my mind that without them, I would be bankrupt or I would have had bailiffs knocking on my door. On the months that I was struggling, Stepchange lent a sympathetic ear and made me feel like i wasn’t a bad person. They worked with me to come to a solution. On the odd occasion I received a letter from a creditor, I would call Stepchange and they would advise me to ignore it, or simply say that all correspondence was to go through them. Stepchange have made some very dark days a lot brighter and I would have no hesitation in recommending them to everybody who needs them.

  • Rich E

    hi Londoner. I notice you wrote that the dmp is better than iva or bankruptcy but if you have defaults on your credit file anyway, what is the difference ? I assume they will be on your credit file anyway for 5 years? so what is the difference really between an iva or dmp they both screw your credit. can someone elaborate

    • moneyaware

      Hi Rich,

      DMPs and IVAs each have their own benefits and risks, and will both affect your credit file. However whether each of these debt solutions is a suitable option for someone depends on a variety of factors.

      There’s more information about all of the different debt solutions available on our website at https://www.stepchange.org/debt-info/debt-solutions.aspx if you’re looking to find out more about how each can affect someone.

      I hope this helps,

      Rory

  • Anon

    I have a dmp with payplan however got divorced was struggling and got stuff from catalogues. Can I change my dmp to unwith new debts added. I’m very frightened I’ve done something wrong. I can definitely pay a dmp

    • moneyaware

      Hi there,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      I’m sorry to hear you’ve found things difficult recently.

      Without knowing more about your agreement with Payplan it’d be difficult to know whether you can add a debt to your DMP.
      It’d be worthwhile checking your agreement with them, or giving them a call so you can talk with one of their advisors. They should be able to give your advice about your options.

      I hope this helps,

      Jen