Does an IVA affect your credit score?

An individual voluntary agreement (IVA) is an agreement between you and your creditors to pay your debts back over a certain amount of time. It can help you consolidate your debts into a more manageable package, but will also have a significant impact on your credit score.

Updated

An IVA will remain on your credit report for up to six years. During the period of your IVA (usually 60 or 72 months), you’ll only be able to obtain up to £500 worth of credit, and you’ll have to get approval from your insolvency practitioner to do this.

What is an IVA?

An IVA is an agreement between you and your creditors for you to consolidate your debts into more manageable payments. This agreement usually occurs in a meeting. At least 75% of your creditors have to agree to the terms in order for an IVA to be granted.

Your payments will be made to an insolvency practitioner, who will pay creditors on your behalf. Your creditors shouldn’t contact you after an IVA has been agreed. If you default on an IVA, it’s likely you will be made bankrupt.

Will an IVA be visible on my credit file?

Your credit file is a document which displays all information relating to your borrowing history. An IVA is one of the biggest indicators that you’re bad at borrowing money, so it demolishes your credit score and remains on your credit report for up to six years.

Debt Free Direct

You could write off up to 80% of your debts with an IVA

Debt Free Direct can help with debts over £5,000. Use its free online check to see if you are eligible.

  • Write off unaffordable debt
  • Lower your monthly payments
  • Take back control of your finances
  • Become debt free

IVAs are subject to eligibility and acceptance. Fees may be payable. Click through to find out more.

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Will an IVA affect my chances of getting a loan?

Yes, you’ll only be able to borrow up to £500 during the course of your IVA. You’ll usually have to get permission from your insolvency practitioner to do that. Even in these cases, your credit score is likely to have taken such a hit that you’ll only be able to access credit from products with really high rates, such as payday loans.

After your IVA has been paid off, you may still struggle to get a loan while it’s still logged on your credit report (six years from the date it started).

The good news is that an IVA is designed to help you pay off your debts. Although your credit score will be affected, it isn’t impossible to get a loan.

Tips

Do

  • Seek advice from a debt adviser to learn if an IVA is suitable for you
  • Learn how to live within your means during the IVA period (and beyond). The chances are you needed an IVA because you struggled to do this

Don’t

  • Borrow money unnecessarily during an IVA
  • Default on your IVA. This will result in bankruptcy

Megan's loan application and her credit score

Megan had fallen so far behind on her debts that she found she now owed more than she actually owned in cash and assets.

It was suggested she applied for an IVA, and her creditors agreed on the best terms she could actually afford to pay.

It was a struggle, and Megan was unable to borrow any money for six years. However, since then, she was able to rebuild her financial life.

The bottom line

An IVA is often marketed as a positive solution for serious debt problems and an alternative to bankruptcy. It can be the best way out of debt for some people, but in most cases, it will massively impact your credit score for up to six years.

Frequently asked questions

Read about how different factors can affect your score

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