Debt Consolidation Options Compared
If you live in the UK and you want to consolidate your debt, then you have several options. The best consolidation option for you will depend on your own particular circumstances such as the size of your debt and how many creditors you have.
Individual Voluntary Arrangement
One of the most popular debt consolidation options used in the UK is an Individual Voluntary Arrangement, commonly known as an IVA. With an IVA you can consolidate your debts and clear them in a fixed period of time. Typically you will make consolidated payments for a period of five years after which all remaining debts will be written off leaving you debt-free. The amount you pay each month will depend not only on the size of your debts but also on what you can afford given your current income and essential outgoings. By entering into an IVA it is possible for you to reduce your debts by as much as two thirds. IVAs are an excellent choice for many people with debt problems they aren’t, however, suitable for everyone. Usually, to qualify for an IVA you must have debts in excess of A15000 and be in regular employment. If you do not meet this criterion then you will have to consider other options.
Debt management plans
The most common form of debt consolidation used by people in the UK is debt management plans. A debt management plan is an informal arrangement made between a person and their creditors to reduce the size of their debt repayments. Creditors are usually prepared to agree to such an arrangement if it prevents the debtor from defaulting on the payments altogether. Typically the plan will also mean that any interest being charged to the debt is stopped and so the size of the debt is no longer increasing. Although it is possible to arrange a debt management plan yourself it is more common for the plans to be arranged by a third party such as a specialist debt consolidation company or the citizens’ advice bureau.
Where an IVA or a debt management plan isn’t appropriate a third option is to take out a consolidation loan. The consolidation loan will help you to pay off your debts. You use the loan to pay off your current creditors leaving the repayments on the loan as your only debt. For the consolidation loan to be worthwhile it should be at a lower rate of interest than your current debts and the repayments on it should be less than you are currently paying.
To solve the debt problems
If you are looking to solve your debt problems it is usually beneficial to seek professional advice. There are many independent debt advisors in the UK who will help you to work out what is the right debt consolidation option for you.