Before beginning your search for the best IVA company, you should make sure you are certain that an Individual Voluntary Arrangement is right for you by seeking full and impartial debt advice covering all other debt solutions such as a Debt Management Plan, Bankruptcy, Debt Relief Order or an IVA. In this article, we tell you how to find the best IVA companies and which ones should be avoided.
Quick Links – Best IVA Company
I Have Unsecured debt of less than £7,000
Firstly, if your debts are less than £7,000 you probably don’t qualify for an IVA and don’t need an insolvency practitioner. You should consider contacting one of the debt charities such as Step Change or one of the Money Advice Service agencies such as the CAB or Advice UK or National Debtline who can offer you debt advice on the best debt solution. They will hopefully be able to help you to set up an informal debt management plan with your creditors making affordable monthly payments or maybe a debt relief order (DRO).
What if My Unsecured Debts are more than £7,000?
If you are struggling to pay debts of £7,000 or more you could qualify for an IVA solution and need to get help from one of the best IVA companies. Whilst an IVA could result in a substantial debt write off of up to 85%, a write off amount of between 25% and 75% is realistic.
The debt write off amount for each customer differs depending upon their individual financial circumstances and is subject to the approval of their creditors.
You could go to one of the debt charities such as Step Change for debt advice but it’s important to note that they are not an IVA company and are funded principally by the banks. Their main activity is to place people into Debt Management Plans (“DMP”) with the objective of debts being paid in full by monthly payments over a period of time. They are not the best place to go if you want an IVA as many people end up in DMPs when they would be be financially better off in an IVA.
If you don’t mind waiting 12 to 13 weeks on average for an appointment to see someone, you could go to the Citizens Advice Bureau or Advice UK or charities such as National Debtline, or Age UK. However, they too do not administer IVA’s and are very suspicious of them and any privately owned IVA companies who administer them. Generally, they don’t seem to understand how they work and believe that the client pays for the service through fees, not realising that the large debt management companies income is generated by charging a fee/commission which is paid by the very same banks who fund their debt collection activities….just so they can, in turn get paid in full rather than be faced with writing off debt in an IVA or bankruptcy.
It’s certainly worth approaching an IVA company to investigate the possibility of an IVA to see if this would be a better solution for you than a DMP from a financial point of view. Conversely, a bankruptcy might be considered a better option than a DMP or an Individual Voluntary Arrangement. More than one solution may be available so you need proper advice on the pros and cons of all options so you can make an informed decision. Finding the best IVA company can help you achieve this.
To qualify for an IVA, you must:
-Be a resident of England, Wales, or Northern Ireland
-Have unsecured debt of more than £7,000 and at least 2 creditors
-Have a regular income
-Not own your home outright
If you meet these criteria, then an IVA may be the right debt solution for you. Now that you know if you might qualify for an IVA, it’s time to find the best IVA company.
Do Debt Management Companies offer IVAs?
Generally, no. To be able to set up an IVA, a company will need to employ the services of a licensed insolvency practitioner and not all companies can offer this.
It is important to choose a company that is regulated by one of the main insolvency regulatory industry bodies such as the Insolvency Practitioners Association or the ICAEW to ensure they are properly qualified to deal with your case.
If you’re unsure, the best thing to do is ask the company for proof of their qualification and membership to an insolvency body. This should put your mind at ease.
What Makes the Best IVA Company?
Finding the best IVA companies that offer an Individual Voluntary Arrangement can seem daunting. There are large “IVA factory” style IVA companies that employ many staff (usually situated in overseas call centres) that deal with large volumes of individual voluntary arrangements through to smaller practices (like ours) that can offer a more bespoke and personal service for those who prefer a more personalised feel. Things you should look out for:
-Best IVA Companies cover Advice on All Debt Solutions
Best IVA companies will initially offer you free advice on your debts and fully assess your financial situation discussing the pros and cons of all debt solutions before helping you to choose the right debt solution for you. They will be honest and upfront with you through all aspects of setting up an IVA and no up front fees. If an IVA is not right for you or is not your best option, they should advise accordingly.
-Professional and Established
Good IVA companies will have an established track record and a professional looking website that is kept up to date and it should also identify where they are based with details of who the insolvency practitioners are as well as who they are license by. Be wary of firms that have basic websites or do not disclose where they are based.
Reputable IVA companies should also have visible contact details for their Insolvency Practitioner. who you’ll be able to find on the Insolvency Service website at https://www.insolvencydirect.bis.gov.uk/fip1/
-IVA company feedback
Another thing to look for in a good IVA company is positive reviews. Check out sites like Trust Pilot to see what other people have said about the company you’re thinking of using. The best IVA companies will have mostly positive reviews from happy customers.
Finally, make sure you choose an IVA company that you feel comfortable with. This is a big decision and you need to make sure you’re working with the best IVA company that you can trust. Do your research and choose carefully.
What to Avoid when looking for the best IVA company
When looking for the best IVA companies, there are certain red flags that you should be aware of. These are warning signs that the IVA company may not be as reliable or trustworthy as you thought. Here are some things to avoid when looking for IVA companies:
-Hidden fees and charges
Avoid IVA companies that have hidden fees or charges. Any reputable IVA company will be upfront about all fees and any costs involved from the beginning. Fees should be agreed by all parties and funded solely from your regular IVA monthly payments and not in addition to these. Be wary of IVA companies that try to charge up front fees before your IVA is set up and approved by your creditors.
– Unprofessional practices
Avoid IVA companies that pressure you into signing up for their services. An IVA is a legally binding debt solution and the best IVA companies will give you sufficient time to make a decision and won’t try to pressure you into anything. A good practice will allow you the time to review any IVA proposal and to fully ensure that it offers an affordable monthly payment to your creditors and fits your personal circumstances.
You should also be wary of IVA companies that make unrealistic promises. No IVA company should offer guaranteed acceptance of your IVA and nor should they guarantee your monthly payment without fully assessing your circumstances.
-Do they employ the Services of an Insolvency Practitioner?
Be wary of dealing with debt solutions companies that claim to offer IVAs but do not employ an Insolvency Practitioner, particularly if they are not FCA registered. They are most likely to be an unregulated packaging company who will collate your details and sell them to one of the larger IVA companies for a commission. Indeed, believe it or not, some of the main packaging companies are FCA regulated; they’re just in it for the commission!
Packaging companies may not have your best interests at heart and may make unrealistic promises about your monthly payments. Also, dealing with third party companies such as these may also lead to a delay in processing your IVA and having to repeat information that is not passed from one company to the other.
Where can I Get more Information about an IVA?
An Individual Voluntary Arrangement is a big step and you should research several IVA companies once you have decided an IVA is right for you.
At Become Debt Free, we specialise in providing and administering individual voluntary arrangements to individuals based in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. We have our own in-house insolvency practitioner, Andrew Bowers, who is regulated and licensed by the Insolvency Practitioners Association, the only Recognised Professional Body solely involved in insolvency.
We get great feedback on our Google reviews and Trustpilot reviews. We have a small team of staff and have over 120 years of insolvency experience between us.
All of our advisers can offer you specialist advice, and can give you all the information you need to make an informed decision on an IVA and answer any questions you may have about the process. We offer a free intial no obligation consultation with no up front fees.
Become Debt Free are probably one of the best IVA companies offering a personal service so you’re not just a name and a number. You need look no further for debt solutions as you’ve probably just found the best IVA company around right here 🙂