Since their introduction in the 1980s, IVAs have become a popular solution for those struggling with debt in the UK – but as with any debt solution, it’s crucial to have a well-rounded understanding of what’s being offered to you.

Making the right decision is key

When considering an IVA, it’s crucial to consider both sides before committing and think exactly how this solution may or may not impact you. For example, an IVA may affect your credit rating for the duration of the solution; however, you are granted more legal protection with an IVA than with some other types of solutions.

It’s important to put yourself first in any decision-making and remember that what works for others may not necessarily mean the same for you. e.g. dealing with debt in one monthly payment is an appealing prospect, while others prefer dealing with their creditors directly.

To help you, we’ve put together some of the main points (IVA pros and cons) people mention in their decision process when looking into Individual Voluntary Arrangements…

A Brief Overview of IVAs

IVA Pros (Advantages)

  • Affordable monthly payments
  • Your creditors will write off a portion of your debt
  • No more threatening phone calls from creditors and bailiffs
  • Creditors must stop contacting you directly
  • Interest and charges are frozen
  • Clear date for when you will become debt-free
  • Your monthly payment covers any fees
  • Drops off your credit file upon completion
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A Brief Overview of IVAs

IVA Cons (Disadvantages)

  • An IVA will be recorded on your credit report for six years
  • Only unsecured debts can be included in the agreement
  • Your IVA will be visible on the Insolvency Register
  • You may have to pay windfalls into the IVA
  • It will be difficult to obtain further credit whilst on an IVA
  • You may not qualify if you work in certain sectors
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A closer look into IVA pros…

Affordable Payments

A monthly payment will be calculated based on what you can realistically afford, not what you owe. We will work out your disposable income using what’s left after all your day-to-day spending has been considered.

Debt Write Off

This is one of the most appealing benefits of an IVA – as long as you keep up your monthly repayments, your creditors agree to write off the rest of your debt after five years; possibly six years if you are a home owner.

Stops Phone Calls

If you’re on an IVA, your creditors are no longer allowed to contact you directly to chase your debts – instead, your Insolvency Practitioner will communicate with them on your behalf.

Legal Protection

An IVA is a legally recognised solution, meaning you are fully protected if your creditors breach any terms.

No Interest or Charges

Unlike other plans, an IVA is guaranteed to freeze your interest and charges so your debt will no longer continue to increase whilst you make repayments.

Clear End Date

An IVA typically lasts 5 / 6 years from the date it begins, during which time you know exactly what you will pay back and how much you can expect to be written off.

No Hidden Fees

Any fees associated with IVAs are included in the one monthly payment, so you don’t have any extra costs to worry about. You’ll know exactly what you’re paying towards before signing any agreement.

Drops off Credit File

The IVA will appear on your credit report for the duration of the agreement, but once you’ve made your final payment, this will drop off and any remaining debt written off too.

A closer look into IVA cons…

Credit File

If you’re on an IVA, it will be noted on your credit report for the plan’s duration, so potential lenders will be able to see this if they carry out a credit check.

No Secured Debts

Any secured debts such as court fines, student loans, mortgage arrears or child maintenance would have to be dealt with separately from the IVA.

Insolvency Register

Your IVA will be visible on the Insolvency Register – a publicly available database – for the duration of your plan.

Lump Sums

If you come into a large sum of money whilst on an IVA – such as a bonus or inheritance – you may be asked to contribute this towards your IVA.

Obtaining Credit

For the duration of an IVA, you will be unable to apply for credit above £500 without consulting your Insolvency Practitioner first.

Your Job

There are certain sectors where being on an IVA may affect your job, including law and financial services. Not all employers will look unfavourably upon an IVA, so it’s always worth checking whether you’d be affected.

Money Advice - leading IVA specialists Don't just take our word for it

Start by finding out if you qualify by answering the below questions

Still want to know more about an IVA?

If you still want to learn more, you can read all about an IVA, where we go into even more detail about this particular debt solution.

Alternatively, why not speak directly with one of our friendly assessors so we can answer any further questions you may have.

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*To find out more about managing your money and getting free advice, visit Money Helper, an independent service set up to help people manage their money.