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Tackling your debts

Debt help in Scotland: Debt Arrangement Schemes

Posted 09 December 2016

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Here’s how a Debt Arrangement Scheme can help you if you’re struggling with your debt repayments.

Are you looking for a way to deal with your unsecured debts? Is your main residence in Scotland? If you answered yes to both these questions, then a Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS) may be the right solution for you.

In this blog, we’ll explain how they work, what it will mean for you if you start one, and how to find out if DAS is right for you.

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How can DAS help me with debt?

Debt Arrangement Schemes are run by the Scottish Government and provide a plan to help those who can’t keep up with their unsecured debt repayments.

With DAS, you stop making individual payments to each of your lenders and you start a Debt Payment Programme (DPP) instead. This allows you to pay one amount each month that goes towards all your unsecured debts. This amount will always be affordable for you, and is worked out so you can afford all the other essential costs in your life, like food, rent and bills.

There’s no fixed timescale for a DAS – it will simply last for however long it takes you to repay all your debts on the plan. Because you pay back everything you owe with DAS, this means that you’ll be paying your debts back over a longer period of time, because the repayment is less. However the lower, affordable payments should mean a huge weight is lifted off your mind, as you know you won’t be missing payments and risking your lenders taking further action.

Once your DPP is agreed, it is legally binding for you and your creditors. This means that – as long as you keep up with the payments – you are protected from any further legal action.

If you qualify for DAS, your creditors are also obliged to freeze the interest and charges on your debts, which means they won’t continue to grow as you’re paying them off.

Do I qualify for DAS?

To qualify for DAS, you have to have your main residence in Scotland. If you’re looking for help with debt but you live in another part of the country, a Debt Management Plan (DMP) is an alternative solution available in the rest of the UK that provides similar benefits.

There’s no fixed amount of debt you have to have in order to qualify for DAS. But you do need to be able to repay your debts in a reasonable timeframe and be able to put something towards your debts each month.

If you can’t afford to put anything towards your debts at all, another debt solution may be more suitable for you.

Are there any downsides to DAS?

There are pros and cons to every debt solution and DAS is no different. One of the downsides you need to be aware of is the damage to your credit history. The fact that you’ve been on a debt solution will show up on your credit history for a minimum of six years, and for however long your debt solution happens to last. Lenders and service providers may choose to reject you based on this, or it could mean that you have to borrow at a more expensive rate of interest if you are approved for borrowing.

There is also a DAS register that keeps a record of people who are applying for DAS, or already have started DAS. This is a public register, which means that anyone can choose to search it. Having said that, someone would need a reason to go searching for you on this register and it’s mainly used by people you owe money to and those involved in the running of your solution.

As we said before, you need to remember that you will end up paying your debts back over a longer period of time overall.

How do I find out more?

You can’t apply for DAS by yourself, you have to use an approved Money Advisor, like the ones here at Debt Advisory Centre. They can tell you if DAS is right for you, put together a proposal and deal with your creditors during the life of your DAS. It’s very important that you seek expert advice if you’re in problem debt – this way you’ll know for sure which solution is best for you.

You can use the options at the bottom of the page to contact one of our advisors today, free of charge. There are charges associated with some solutions once they’re up and running, but these charges come out of your monthly, affordable payment – they aren’t be added on top of it. The initial advice and recommendation we give is always free of charge.

You can also learn more about how the solution works, by visiting our dedicated page on DAS.

 

by Christine Walsh

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