our article image on IVA pros and cons

IVA Pros and Cons – A Comprehensive Guide for Individuals

An Individual Voluntary Arrangement, commonly known as an IVA, is a formal and legally binding agreement between you and your creditors to help manage your debt. It provides a structured solution, enabling you to make manageable payments over a fixed period. Under the professional guidance of a licensed insolvency practitioner, you and your creditors agree on a payment plan based on your income, essential outgoings and any available equity. it’s crucial to weigh the IVA pros and cons. This will help you decide if it’s the right debt solution for your specific circumstances. At Become Debt Free, we are committed to providing the right advice and support to help you make this critical decision. With our comprehensive understanding of the IVA process and a firm commitment to your wellbeing, we are here to guide you every step of the way.

Quick Links

What is an IVA?

An Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) is a formal and legally binding debt solution introduced as part of the Insolvency Act of 1986 in England and Wales. It’s a structured method that allows you to consolidate your debts into a single manageable monthly payment. This payment is then distributed amongst your creditors over a fixed period, typically five to six years.

In an IVA, a licensed insolvency practitioner (IP) acts as a mediator between you and your creditors. The IP assesses your financial circumstances, including your income, essential outgoings, and available equity. This information is used to propose a realistic and affordable repayment plan to your creditors. If the creditors holding 75% of your debt value agree to the proposal, it becomes a binding agreement for all involved parties, including dissenting creditors.

The IVA process begins with you seeking advice from a debt solution professional like the team at Become Debt Free. If an IVA is the most suitable solution for your situation, you’ll work closely with your IP to craft an IVA proposal. This proposal will detail your circumstances, including your total unsecured debt, your monthly income, and your essential outgoings. It will also outline the proposed monthly payment amount and the payment term.

Once the proposal is ready, it’s presented to your creditors during a creditors’ meeting. The creditors then vote on whether to accept the IVA proposal. If approved, the agreement starts, and you’ll make the agreed-upon payments to your IP, who then distributes this money amongst your creditors.

It’s important to note that during the IVA period, creditors can’t take any legal action against you for your debts. Plus, any interest rates or charges on your existing unsecured debts will be frozen. At the end of the IVA period, any remaining debt is usually written off, offering you a fresh start.

Within England and Wales, the IVA holds a distinct place in insolvency law as it provides a valuable alternative to bankruptcy. While both solutions can provide relief from unmanageable debt, an IVA is often less damaging to your credit file and can offer more protection for valuable assets, like your home or car.

In summary, an IVA is a powerful tool to regain control of your financial life. However, it’s a significant commitment and comes with both pros and cons. Therefore, it’s crucial to seek professional advice to ensure an IVA is the right debt solution for your unique situation.

Advantages of IVA

While an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) is a serious commitment, it offers several notable advantages that can provide relief for individuals overwhelmed by unsecured debt.

Affordable Payments

One of the primary advantages of an IVA is the affordable monthly payment. An insolvency practitioner (IP) will assess your financial situation, considering your income, essential outgoings, and disposable income to determine a monthly payment amount that you can realistically afford. This approach means you only repay what you can afford each month after accounting for your essential expenses.

With an IVA, you get legal protection from your creditors. Once the IVA is in place, your creditors are not allowed to contact you or take further legal action against you for the debt. This protection can offer significant peace of mind and reduce stress associated with dealing with multiple creditors.

Interest and Charges are Frozen

An IVA freezes interest rates and additional charges on your existing unsecured debts. This feature means your debt will not continue to grow during the IVA period, making the process of reducing your overall debt level easier.

Potential for Debt Write-off

At the end of the IVA period (typically five to six years), any remaining unsecured debt is typically written off. This situation can result in a significant portion of your debt being written off, providing you with a fresh start to your financial life.

Protection of Assets

Unlike bankruptcy, an IVA often allows you to retain your valuable assets, such as your home and car. While you may need to release equity from your home towards the end of the IVA if it is available and viable, it is usually protected from forced sale.

One Single Monthly Payment

The IVA consolidates your debts into one single monthly payment, which is distributed to your creditors. This arrangement makes managing your debts more straightforward, eliminating the need to keep track of various different payment dates and amounts.

Limited Impact on Your Career

Some professions may not allow individuals to continue working if they are declared bankrupt. An IVA, being a less severe option, may not have the same impact, allowing you to continue in your job.

Remember, while these are some of the significant advantages, an IVA is a substantial financial commitment and it’s essential to consider the IVA pros and cons before making a decision. Seek professional advice from a team like Become Debt Free to ensure an IVA is the right solution for you.

Disadvantages of IVA

Despite the advantages, an IVA also has certain disadvantages. It’s essential to understand these potential downsides and consider them against the IVA pros before committing to this type of debt solution.

Impact on Credit Rating

One of the significant cons of an IVA is its impact on your credit rating. An IVA stays on your credit file for six years from the start date, making it more challenging to secure credit during this time and possibly for a while afterwards.

Long-term Commitment

An IVA is a long-term financial commitment, typically lasting five to six years. During this period, you will need to maintain the agreed monthly payments. If your circumstances change and you’re unable to keep up with payments, the IVA may fail and you could be at risk of bankruptcy.

Restrictions During the IVA Period

While in an IVA, you’re expected to maintain a reasonable standard of living, but luxury items and holidays may not be permitted. Additionally, any windfalls such as inheritances or lottery wins are typically required to be paid into the IVA.

Risk to Home Equity

In some cases, if you’re a homeowner with a significant amount of equity, you may be asked to remortgage your home to release some of the equity towards the end of the IVA period. However, the terms of the IVA will ensure this is affordable and there are restrictions in place to ensure you are not forced into unsustainable mortgage repayments.

Public Register

IVAs are recorded on the public Individual Insolvency Register, meaning your financial situation becomes a matter of public record. While this isn’t typically a problem for most people, it may cause concern for some.

Not All Debts Included

While an IVA covers most unsecured debts, some types of debts like student loans, court fines, child support arrears, and some types of taxes may not be included in the arrangement.

Potential for Creditor Rejection

The IVA proposal must be approved by creditors representing at least 75% in value of the creditors who vote. This means if you have one creditor who holds a significant portion of your debt and they vote against the proposal, it may not be approved.

Before making a decision, it is recommended to consult with a professional service like Become Debt Free. With their knowledgeable team at hand, they can help you weigh the IVA pros and cons and guide you through the process to ensure it is the right solution for you.

No time for a phone call?
Get in touch using Whatsapp!

The service is totally free, unbiased and confidential.

Is an IVA the Right Solution for You?

Choosing the right debt solution can be a challenging decision to make, especially when facing financial distress. Here, we look at several factors that can help you determine if an IVA is the right solution for you.

Financial Circumstances

An IVA is typically suited for individuals with a regular income who can commit to regular monthly payments but struggle with unsecured debt levels that they can’t repay in a reasonable time frame. If you can afford to make some payment towards your debts, but not the full amount, an IVA could be a good option.

Type and Size of Your Debts

IVAs are best suited for individuals with a substantial amount of unsecured debt. This typically means debts from credit cards, personal loans, overdrafts, or store cards. If you owe money to multiple creditors and the total debt is over £15,000, an IVA could provide a manageable solution.

Desire to Protect Assets

If you own valuable assets such as a home or car and are at risk of losing them, an IVA might be a good choice. An IVA allows you to keep your assets while making an affordable monthly payment towards your debts.

Privacy Concerns

While an IVA is a public record, it is generally less well-known than bankruptcy. If you are concerned about maintaining privacy in your financial affairs, this could be a deciding factor.

Comparison to Other Debt Solutions

An IVA is one of several potential debt solutions. Depending on your circumstances, other options may be more suitable.

Debt Management Plan (DMP): If you can afford to repay your debts over a longer period, a DMP might be more suitable. A DMP allows you to make a single, affordable monthly payment that is distributed amongst your creditors. Unlike an IVA, a DMP is not legally binding and doesn’t provide the same level of creditor protection.

Bankruptcy: If you can’t afford to repay your debts and have little to no assets, bankruptcy might be the most appropriate solution. However, bankruptcy has more severe implications for your credit rating and future borrowing capability.

Debt Relief Order (DRO): If you have a relatively low level of debt, no assets, and a low income, you might qualify for a DRO. This option is cheaper than bankruptcy or an IVA, but it is available only to those with very limited means.

Evaluating your options can be a daunting task, especially when dealing with the stress of financial difficulty. That’s why it’s crucial to seek professional advice. The team at Become Debt Free can provide the guidance and support you need. With their expert knowledge, they can help you evaluate the IVA pros and cons, compare it with other debt solutions, and guide you towards the best decision for your circumstances. Contact them at 0800 169 1536 or leave an enquiry on their website to start your journey towards financial freedom.

iva pros and cons

FAQs about IVAs

Here are some common questions about Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs), with a focus on their pros and cons:

What is an IVA?

An IVA is a legally binding agreement between you and your creditors to repay your debts over a fixed period, typically five to six years. It offers affordable monthly payments based on your income and essential outgoings.

How does an IVA work?

An insolvency practitioner (IP) assesses your financial situation and proposes an IVA to your creditors. If approved, you make affordable monthly payments to the IP, who distributes them among your creditors. At the end of the IVA period, any remaining debt is usually written off.

Will an IVA affect my credit rating?

Yes, an IVA will have a negative impact on your credit rating. It stays on your credit file for six years from the start date. However, successfully completing an IVA can demonstrate your commitment to repaying your debts.

Can I include all my debts in an IVA?

Most unsecured debts, such as credit cards, personal loans, and overdrafts, can be included in an IVA. However, certain debts like student loans, court fines, child support arrears, and some types of taxes may not be included.

What are the advantages of an IVA?

Some advantages of an IVA include affordable monthly payments, legal protection from creditors, potential debt write-off at the end, and the ability to retain valuable assets like your home and car.

What are the disadvantages of an IVA?

Disadvantages of an IVA include its impact on your credit rating, the long-term commitment required, restrictions during the IVA period, potential risk to home equity, and the fact that not all debts are included.

How do I know if an IVA is right for me?

The suitability of an IVA depends on factors such as your financial circumstances, debt levels, desire to protect assets, and privacy concerns. It’s important to seek professional advice from a licensed insolvency practitioner to determine if an IVA is the right solution for you.

Can I change my mind once the IVA is in place?

Once the IVA is approved and begins, it’s generally not possible to change the terms. However, if you encounter significant financial difficulties during the IVA period, you should contact your insolvency practitioner to discuss the situation.

Our team of experienced insolvency practitioners understands the complexities of the insolvency landscape and the emotional stress that accompanies financial difficulties. We offer tailored guidance and support throughout the entire debt resolution process, ensuring that our clients receive the assistance they need to make informed decisions about their financial future.

Our Services at Become Debt Free

As specialists in Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs), we have extensive expertise in crafting personalised repayment plans that suit our clients’ financial circumstances. We carefully assess your income, outgoings, and debts to create an affordable monthly payment plan that offers the potential for debt write-off at the end of the IVA period. Our goal is to help you regain control of your finances and achieve a fresh start.

Professional Knowledge and Excellent Advice

With our team’s professional knowledge and years of experience, we are equipped to provide you with the best advice tailored to your specific situation. We stay up to date with the latest insolvency laws and regulations, ensuring that our recommendations align with the legal requirements and best practices. Our commitment to excellence means that you can trust us to provide you with accurate, reliable, and actionable advice.

Contact Us for Personalised Support

If you are burdened by debt and seeking a way to regain control of your financial life, we encourage you to reach out to our team at Become Debt Free. Our dedicated professionals are ready to listen to your concerns, assess your situation, and provide you with personalized guidance and support. Whether an IVA is the right solution for you or if an alternative debt resolution strategy is more suitable, we are here to help you navigate the path towards financial freedom.

Contact us today at 0800 169 1536 to speak with one of our knowledgeable advisors or leave an enquiry on our website. Take the first step towards a debt-free future with the assistance of Become Debt Free.


The primary sources for this article are listed below.

Find an insolvency practitioner – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Individual Voluntary Arrangements – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

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

Proud to Support

Supporting Shelter, image proudly supporting shelter
Supporting Mind, image Supporting Mind Logo
Living Wage Employer, image Living Wage Employer logo
Become Debt Free

Contact Us

Tel: 0113 237 9500


Re10 (Finance) Ltd, York House Unit 4, Gemini Business Park, Sheepscar Way, Leeds, LS7 3JB
Insolvency Practitioner, image words The Insolvency Service
R3 Business Accreditation, Image R3 Business Accreditation logo
Insolvency Practitioners Association Accreditation, image insolvency practioners association logo

Customers can get free debt advice from the Money Advice Service – an organisation set up by the Government to offer free and impartial advice to those in debt. For more information from the Money Advice Service visit www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk. MAS is part of the Money & Pensions Service. We are not affiliated with MAS in any way.

Become Debt Free is a trading style of Re10 (Finance) Limited Registered Number 04651137.  Data Protection Act Registration Number – Z8613095

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.


Scroll to Top