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Is an IVA Worth It? A Comprehensive Guide to the Pros and Cons

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve deep into the world of IVAs. We will explore what they are, how they work, and most importantly, evaluate is an IVA worth it and is it the right option for your specific financial situation. We will weigh up the pros and cons, consider the potential impact on your credit file, and discuss the role of an insolvency practitioner in the process.

This article aims to provide you with the information and advice you need to make an informed decision about whether an IVA is the best path for your financial future. We will answer the question “Is an IVA worth it?” So, without further ado, let’s dive into the intricate details of an Individual Voluntary Arrangement.

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Understanding an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA)

An Individual Voluntary Arrangement, commonly known as an IVA, is a formal and legally binding agreement between you and your creditors to help you pay back your debts over a set period. IVAs are only available in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. In Scotland, a similar system is known as a Trust Deed.

How an IVA works

An insolvency practitioner (IP), will assess your financial situation, including income, debts, and assets. They will then help you create an IVA proposal to present to your creditors. The proposal typically involves offering to pay back a portion of your debts over a fixed period, usually five to six years, through affordable monthly payments. You can also propose an IVA with just one payment called a lump sum IVA.

The proposal must receive approval from creditors who are owed 75% of your total debt. Once agreed upon, it becomes a binding arrangement for all parties involved, including creditors who may have voted against it. This means that as long as you stick to the terms of the agreement, creditors can’t pursue you for the remaining debt after the IVA period ends.

The Key Parties involved

  1. Debtor: The individual who owes money to creditors.
  2. Creditors: Companies or individuals to whom money is owed. They can vote for or against the proposal.
  3. Insolvency Practitioner (IP): A legally authorised professional who sets up the IVA and manages the process, acting as a mediator between the debtor and creditors. They will also charge a fee for the IVA.

Remember, if you’re considering an IVA, it’s crucial to seek advice from a reputable debt help service or insolvency practitioner, such as us at Become Debt Free. Feel free to ring us on 0800 169 1536 for professional guidance.

Pros of an Individual Voluntary Arrangement

An IVA can be a powerful debt solution to help manage your money troubles, offering a lifeline when debts seem unmanageable. Let’s explore the various benefits associated with an IVA.

Once the IVA is approved and in place, creditors are legally bound not to take any further action to recover their debt. This includes legal proceedings and any contact demanding payment. The peace of mind this provides can be significant, offering you a respite from stress and worry.

One Affordable Monthly Payment

With an IVA, your multiple debt repayments are consolidated into a single monthly payment. This payment is calculated based on your disposable income, ensuring it’s manageable for you. By only having to worry about one payment, you can streamline your finances and budgeting becomes much simpler.

Freezing of Interest and Charges

An additional benefit of an IVA is that all interest and charges on your debt are frozen. This halting of extra costs means that your debt won’t continue to grow, enabling you to start making headway on reducing it.

Partial Write-Off of Unsecured Debt

One of the most attractive aspects of an IVA is the potential for a portion of your debt to be written off. At the end of the IVA term, any remaining unsecured debt included in the agreement is legally written off.

Employment and Professional Implications

Unlike bankruptcy, an IVA is often less likely to affect your job, especially if you work in certain professions such as law, finance, or other roles where financial probity is essential. However, it’s important to check your employment contract or speak to your HR department if you’re unsure about how an IVA may impact your debt obligations and pension in the UK.

For more information and guidance on whether an IVA is the right choice for you, reach out to us at Become Debt Free on 0800 169 1536. Our team of expert insolvency practitioners can help you navigate your debt situation.

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Cons of an Individual Voluntary Arrangement

While an IVA can be a beneficial option for many, it’s crucial to weigh up the potential drawbacks. Here are some of the main downsides to consider.

Long-term Effect on Credit Report and Credit Score

An IVA will remain on your credit report for six years from the date it commences. This will have a significant negative impact on your credit score and could make it harder for you to obtain credit in the future, including mortgages, loans, or even some hire purchase agreements.

Spending and Borrowing Restrictions

When you enter into an IVA, you agree to a certain level of fiscal responsibility. This means there will be strict restrictions on your spending, and borrowing further money is typically not permitted. These restrictions could potentially limit your financial freedom during the term of the IVA.

Implications for Homeowners

If you’re a homeowner, the value of your property will be considered in your IVA proposal. In some cases, you may be required to release equity from your home to pay towards your debts. If this isn’t possible, your IVA may be extended for an additional 12 months.

Potential Costs if the IVA Fails

If you can’t manage the agreed-upon monthly repayments, your IVA could fail, potentially resulting in financial consequences such as backdated interest on your debts or bankruptcy. Furthermore, any fees paid to the insolvency practitioner would not typically be refunded, further impacting your money situation.

Before making a decision, it’s important to seek professional advice. At Become Debt Free, our team can provide you with free debt advice and help you weigh the pros and cons to decide if an IVA is the right solution for you. Call us today on 0800 169 1536.

Is an IVA the Right Solution for You?

Determining whether an IVA is the right solution for your situation involves considering various factors.

Debt Level

Generally, an IVA is considered suitable for individuals who have high levels of unsecured debt (usually over £15,000) that they cannot feasibly repay in full. It’s also important to have multiple creditors as an IVA requires approval from creditors representing at least 75% of your debt value.

Income and Living Expenses

An IVA demands a commitment to regular monthly repayments over an extended period. You should have a stable income that can comfortably meet these payments after covering essential living expenses. A careful assessment of your income, debts, and disposable income is a crucial part of this process.

Comparison with Other Debt Solutions

An IVA is just one of many debt solutions available, and it’s important to consider it in comparison with others such as bankruptcy or a debt management plan. Each has its own pros and cons, and the right choice depends on your specific circumstances, including your debt level, income, and long-term financial goals.

Importance of Seeking Free Debt Advice

Dealing with debt can be overwhelming, and making the right decision requires understanding all your options. Seeking free debt advice from insolvency practitioners can help guide your decision-making process. They can provide you with comprehensive information about the different debt solutions available and help you evaluate whether an IVA is worth it for your specific situation.

At Become Debt Free, we offer a nationwide service and specialise in providing free guidance to help you understand your options and make informed decisions. Contact us today on 0800 169 1536 for a free, no-obligation consultation. Our insolvency practitioner can provide personalised advice based on your circumstances to help you become debt free.

The Path Forward with an IVA

If you’ve decided that an IVA might be the right path for you, here’s what you can expect from the process.

The Role of the Insolvency Practitioner

Once you’ve decided on an IVA as your preferred debt solution, an insolvency practitioner (IP) will play a crucial role in helping you through the process. They’ll assess your situation, income, expenses, and debt obligations to ensure an IVA is feasible and beneficial for you. The IP acts as the mediator between you and your creditors, proposing the IVA terms and overseeing its administration throughout its term.

The IVA Proposal and Application Process

The IP will create an proposal detailing your financial circumstances and the proposed repayments. This proposal will be presented to your creditors for approval. Remember, at least 75% of your creditors (by debt value) need to approve the IVA for it to go ahead. The application process is formal and follows the guidelines set out in the R3 Statements of Insolvency Practice.

What to Expect During the IVA Term

If your proposal is approved, you’ll start making monthly payments towards your debts as per the agreed terms. Regular reviews will be undertaken by your IP to ensure the arrangement is still suitable and to make any necessary adjustments (such as an increase (if necessary)). You’ll also need to follow the spending restrictions in place for the duration of the IVA.

Life After an IVA

An IVA typically lasts for five to six years, after which any remaining unsecured debts included in the IVA will be written off, allowing you to start afresh. However, the IVA will remain on your credit report for a further year, potentially affecting your score and your ability to get credit during this time.

Embarking on an IVA is a significant decision that requires commitment and discipline. However, with the right guidance and support, it can be a powerful tool to help manage and clear your debts.

As a leading provider of insolvency services based in Leeds, Become Debt Free is committed to helping individuals across the UK find the right solutions to their debt problems. If you’re considering an IVA, contact us at 0800 169 1536 for free, expert guidance tailored to your situation. We’re here to help you navigate your way to becoming debt free.

Debt Solutions at a Glance

Debt SolutionDescriptionProsCons
Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA)A formal agreement where you make a single, affordable monthly payment to your debts for a set period (typically 5 years).Legal protection from creditors, affordable monthly payment, interest and charges frozen, potential for debt write-off.Impact on credit score and report, spending restrictions, implications for homeowners, risk of failure.
Debt Management Plan (DMP)An informal agreement with creditors to repay your debts over a longer period of time.Flexible, can be adjusted to fit your circumstances, may negotiate lower payments.Creditors don’t have to agree, interest and charges may continue, can take longer to pay off debts.
BankruptcyA legal status where you’re declared unable to pay your debts.Can write off all unaffordable debts, creditors cannot take further action.Severe impact on credit rating, loss of assets, restrictions on employment.
Debt Relief Order (DRO)A way to have your debts written off if they’re £30,000 or less and you have a low income with no assets.Debts written off after 12 months, affordable, creditors can’t take action.Restrictions on borrowing, impact on credit rating, only suitable for smaller debts.


Dealing with debt can be overwhelming, but remember, you’re not alone, and there are ways to navigate through it. An Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) is one option that can offer a structured path out of debt, with its own unique set of pros and cons.

In this article, we’ve explored the benefits of an IVA agreement, including legal protection and manageable monthly payments. With an IVA, interest is frozen and there is a potential write-off of unsecured debt. However, it’s important to note that IVA pros come with potential drawbacks such as an impact on your credit score, spending restrictions, and implications for homeowners. Check out our IVA FAQs for more information.

Is an IVA worth it? That depends on your individual financial circumstances, the amount and type of debt you have, and your ability to meet the required repayments. It’s crucial to consider all the available options and make an informed decision that’s right for you.

Remember, the journey to becoming debt-free is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s essential to get expert guidance to understand your options fully.

Our team at Become Debt Free is here to help. As experienced insolvency practitioners, we specialise in IVAs and provide nationwide debt advice. Contact us today at 0800 169 1536 for personalised, expert guidance to help you navigate your debt situation. Your path to becoming debt-free starts here.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What debts can an IVA cover?

An IVA can cover most types of unsecured debts, including credit cards, personal loans, and arrears of certain household bills. However, it’s important to note that some debts like student loans and child support arrears cannot be included in an IVA.

How long does an IVA last?

An IVA typically lasts for five years, although it can be extended if you are unable to make all of your required payments within this period.

Will an IVA affect my credit score?

Yes, an IVA will have a negative impact on your credit score for six years from the date the arrangement begins. It will appear on your credit report, making it more difficult to obtain credit during this period.

What happens if I can’t make my IVA payments?

If you can’t make your IVA payments, it’s crucial to speak to your insolvency practitioner as soon as possible. Depending on your circumstances, they may be able to arrange a temporary payment break or adjust your payments.

Can I keep my home and car?

In most cases, yes. However, if you have equity in your home, you may be asked to release some of this to pay your creditors. Similarly, if you own a high-value car, you may be asked to sell it and buy a cheaper one.

Do I have to deal with my creditors?

No, one of the key benefits of an IVA is that your insolvency practitioner will deal with your creditors on your behalf.

Can anyone find out I’m in an IVA?

IVAs are recorded on the Individual Insolvency Register, which is a public record. However, someone would have to actively search this register to find out about your IVA.

Remember, for any specific questions about your situation or to explore if an IVA is the right solution for you, don’t hesitate to contact us at Become Debt Free on 0800 169 1536. Our team is ready to help with personalised guidance for a debt fix.


The primary sources for this article are listed below.

Find an insolvency practitioner – GOV.UK (

Details of our standards for producing accurate, unbiased content can be found in our editorial policy here.

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Become Debt Free specialise in providing and administering Individual Voluntary Arrangement (“IVA”) solutions to individuals based in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.  We do not administer Debt Management Plans, Debt Relief Orders, or any other debt solutions.  We only provide advice after completing or receiving an initial fact find where the individual(s) concerned meets the criteria for an IVA, therefore, all advice is given in reasonable contemplation of an insolvency appointment.

* To qualify for debt write off in an IVA with us, you must have a minimum of £7,000 of qualifying unsecured debt owed to two or more creditors.  The amount of debt write off is based on your own personal circumstances – typically this could be up to 85% of what you owe; and this has been achieved by over 10% of our customers who have successfully completed their IVA’s in the last 12 months.  The amount of debt write off differs for each customer and is dependent upon their individual financial circumstances and subject to the approval of their creditors.

Andrew Bowers is authorised in the UK to act as Insolvency Practitioner by the Insolvency Practitioners Association.


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