If you are struggling with debt of more than £7,000, then an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) might be the best solution.
It is a positive alternative to declaring bankruptcy, and could help you get your finances back on track much quicker.
How does an IVA work?
An IVA acts as a formal agreement between you and those you owe money to, and according to debt management service PayPlan works, “By you agreeing to repay a percentage of your debt, in affordable monthly payments over a given time (typically around five years), and once your final IVA payment is made your creditors agree to write off the rest of your debt.”
The good thing about an IVA is that it can wipe off a certain amount of unsecured debts, which can ease the stress and worry that comes with constant calls and harassment from creditors. It also means that once the IVA is in place creditors can’t add further interest or charges to the outstanding debt, so the number on your agreement is the exact number you’ll pay.
You can feature most debts in an IVA, including credit cards, personal loans, catalogues, store cards, bank and building society overdraft charges and loans and also priority debts such as tax debts, council tax arrears and electricity and gas debts.
Is an IVA recorded?
However, you will be placed on a public register and your credit rating will be affected, but in the grand scheme of things this is a preferable option compared to losing your home or declaring bankruptcy.
An IVA is an affordable way of ensuring you remove debt from your life, it consolidates everything you owe into one monthly repayment charge and enters you into a legally binding agreement. It’s worth bearing in mind though that if you fail to pay back your IVA on time and in full it will default and creditors will be free to pursue you again for what they are owed – plus interest and charges again.
When you set up an IVA bear in mind that you will be required to remortgage your home, this releases equity and assists in raising funds that will then be put towards your debt. However, if you are unable to do this you can simply extend your monthly payments for an extra year.
Check with Citizens Advice
IVAs are not an easy way of getting out of paying debt and should only be considered in the most serious of circumstances. Remember, they are an alternative to bankruptcy and so should be treated seriously. Citizens Advice suggests that an IVA may be best for you if:
- You have at least £100 in disposable income per month
- You don’t want to deal with those you owe money to directly
- You have debts over £10,000
- You have at least two separate debts with different creditors
Think carefully before taking out an IVA. Talk to a financial advisor with experience in the solution and ensure you have your home and assets protected before signing any agreements.