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Tackling your debts

How does Minimal Asset Process (MAP) work?

Posted 14 June 2016

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Minimal Asset Process (MAP) is one way of dealing with unmanageable debts in Scotland. Read on to learn more.

Today we’re going to be looking at the Minimal Assets Process also known as MAP. We’ll explore how it works as a solution to problem debts for people in Scotland, and also have a look at the qualifying criteria for this solution. 

MAP is only available to Scottish residents. If you live in the rest of the UK, a Debt Relief Order (DRO) is a similar solution that might work for you. 

How does Minimal Asset Process (MAP) work as a debt solution?

First thing’s first – let’s look at how Minimal Asset Process works as a debt solution. MAP is designed to help people who cannot afford to put anything towards their unsecured debts each month and who also don’t have many possessions (assets). So it’s really only meant for those that are struggling the most to pay their debts. 

Minimal Asset Process stops your payments on your unsecured debts for six months so you don’t have to pay anything towards them during that time. After the six months is over, if you’ve kept to the terms of MAP and your situation has not improved, your debts included on the plan will be wiped off altogether.

Do you qualify? 

You can’t have possessions worth more than £2,000 in total, and no single asset that you own can be worth more than £1,000. Cars are looked at separately and you can have a car worth up to £3,000, but only if it is used for essential purposes. 

In order to qualify you must have debts of more than £1,500, but not more than £17,000. 

You can’t be a homeowner and start Minimal Asset Process because a house is a significant asset. It’s also very important that you don’t have any spare cash to put towards your debts each month in order to qualify for Minimal Asset Process (MAP). This means after your essential outgoings, like your rent/mortgage, utility bills and food have been accounted for, you don’t have anything left over for your debts. The one exception to this is if your income is made up solely of benefits. In this case, you could have some spare money to put towards your debts but you still would not be expected to put anything towards your debts each month. 

You also can’t have been through sequestration or have been awarded Minimal Asset Process during the last five years.

It’s cheaper than sequestration

There is a cost to Minimal Asset Process but at £90, it’s significantly cheaper than the £200 it costs to go through sequestration.

The downsides of MAP

Like any debt solution, MAP has downsides you need to be aware of before you go ahead with anything. 

Any debt solution will show on your credit history for six years from the date that you start the solution. This means that if you try and borrow money within those six years, any potential lenders will be able to see that you did not stick to your contractual agreements. So, it’s possible that MAP will make it harder or more expensive for you to borrow in the future. 

It’s possible that if your circumstances improve you won’t be able to continue with MAP and you’ll need to go through sequestration instead. If this happens, you may need to pay something towards your debts each month for up to four years. 

Insolvency means that you’re not able to repay your debts and MAP is a formal way to deal with this situation. Every time someone starts a formal plan like this, it’s recorded on the Insolvency Register which is publicly accessible. 

You’re only allowed to include your unsecured debts in MAP, so it would not suspend your payments on any secured debts. Having said that, you wouldn’t be expected to pay anything towards your unsecured debts whilst MAP is ongoing – this could mean you may find it easier to afford your other secured payments. 

How do I apply for Minimal Asset Process?

You can only apply for Minimal Asset Process through an approved Money Advisor. These are debts advisors with a special qualification that means they’re allowed to advise people about this solution. 

We have advisors here at Debt Advisory Centre with this qualification, so if you’re wondering whether MAP is right for you, don’t hesitate to get in contact. Our advisors can tell you which solution is best suited for your needs and how you should move forward. 

You can also get lots of free and impartial money help from the Money Advice Service.

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.