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National Debtline

Advice you can trust

Ways to clear your debt

Find the best option for you

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​Negotiating with your creditors

How much debt must I owe?

There is no minimum or maximum level of debt.

What type of debt?

Use this option for credit debts only, after you have dealt with priority debts.

How long will it last?

There is no time limit. You may be paying for many years.

Free debt management plan (DMP)

How much debt must I owe?

No minimum or maximum level of debt. You will need to be able to pay at least £5 each month to each debt.

What type of debt?

Use this option for credit debts only.

How long will it last?

You will usually have to be able to repay your debts in less than 10 years.

Individual voluntary arrangement (IVA)

How much debt must I owe?

Because of the costs involved, it is better if you owe over £10,000.

What type of debt?

Most types of debt, but not all.

How long will it last?

There is no time limit, but usually 5 years.

Bankruptcy

How much debt must I owe?

A creditor can bankrupt you if you owe £5,000 or more. You can bankrupt yourself however much you owe.

What type of debt?

Most types of debt, but not all.

How long will it last?

Most people are discharged after 1 year. You may have to make payments for up to 3 years.

​Debt relief order (DRO)

How much debt must I owe?

You must owe £20,000 or less.

What type of debt?

Most types of debts, but not all.

How long will it last?

You will be discharged from most types of debt after 1 year.

Administration order

How much debt must I owe?

There is no minimum or maximum level of debt. More likely to be a suitable option if you have debts that you can’t afford to clear with income.

What type of debt?

Use this option for credit debts and some priority debts.

How long will it last?

If you get a composition order, usually a few years. If you don't, until you pay off the debt.

Consolidation loan

How much debt must I owe?

There is no minimum or maximum level of debt. It will depend upon what the lender is prepared to lend.

What type of debt?

Any debts that your lender allows you to include.

How long will it last?

It will last the length of time it takes you to repay the loan.

​Full and final settlement offer

How much debt must I owe?

There is no minimum or maximum level of debt.

What type of debt?

Use this option for credit debts usually.

How long will it last?

A short time, unless payment is in instalments.

​Write off the debt

How much debt must I owe?

There is no minimum or maximum level of debt.

What type of debt?

You would usually use this option for credit debts.

How long will it last?

Debts would be cleared at the time they are written off.

Equity release

How much debt must I owe?

£5,000 or less.

What type of debt?

Use this option to clear any type of debt.

How long will it last?

There is no time limit. Different schemes can give you money in different ways and at different times. Some may give you a cash lump sum. Others may give you regular payments over time.

Pension release

How much debt must I owe?

There is no minimum or maximum level of debt.

What type of debt?

Use this option to clear any kind of debt.

How long will it last?

This depends on how much money you take from your pension fund and how often you take it.

Selling assets

How much debt must I owe?

There is no minimum or maximum level of debt. More likely to be a suitable option if you have debts that you can’t afford to clear with income.

What type of debt?

You can use this option to clear any type of debt.

How long will it last?

There is no time limit. It may take you longer to sell some assets than others. It depends on the asset and the method you use to sell it.

Charitable payment

How much debt must I owe?

There is no minimum or maximum level of debt.

What type of debt?

It depends on the charity, but usually priority debts.

How long will it last?

Debts would be reduced or cleared by the payment.

Need help with your options?

If you can't find the information you ​need, or you would like to talk through your debt options, you can webchat with one of our specialist advisers.

Our webchat service is available

Monday to Friday 9am to 8pm

Saturday 9:30am to 1pm