• Does a Debt Relief Order Affect My Credit Rating?


Does a Debt Relief Order Affect My Credit Rating?

Does a Debt Relief Order Affect My Credit Rating?

If you currently hold a debt relief order (DRO) or have had one previously, it will have an impact on your credit score. This could potentially make it more challenging for you to secure credit in the future.

Maxine McCreadie
Maxine McCreadie

8th November 2018


Navigating financial landscapes can be a daunting task, especially when you’re dealing with debt. One particular tool at your disposal in the UK, if you’re struggling with insurmountable debt, is a Debt Relief Order (DRO). However, there’s a common question that arises in the minds of individuals considering this option: “Does a Debt Relief Order affect my credit rating?”

This article seeks to provide clarity on this matter.

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Understanding Debt Relief Order (DRO)

A Debt Relief Order, better known as a DRO, is a form of insolvency designed to aid individuals with low income, few assets, and debt that they’re unable to repay within a reasonable timeframe. It’s a solution aimed at those who have little to no disposable income and no prospect of paying off their debt in the near future.

To qualify for a DRO, there are several criteria that must be met. These include residing in England, Wales, or Northern Ireland, not being a homeowner, and having debts below £30,000. Additionally, your disposable income after regular outgoings should not exceed £75 per month, and you should not have assets or savings over £2,000 (or a vehicle worth over £2,000).

The process of applying for a DRO is straightforward but must be done through an approved intermediary, such as a skilled debt advisor.

This professional will guide you through the process, from gathering the necessary information about your financial situation to submitting the application to the Insolvency Service.

Impact of a Debt Relief Order on Credit Rating

The effects of a DRO on your credit rating are significant and should be considered carefully before proceeding.

Immediate Impact of a DRO on Credit Rating

Upon approval of a DRO, it is recorded on your credit file, where it remains for six years from the date of the order.

This record can make it challenging to obtain credit, as it indicates to potential lenders that you have struggled to manage your debt in the past.

Long-term Impact of a DRO on Credit Rating

The long-term effects of a DRO on your credit rating can be considerable. As previously mentioned, a DRO stays on your credit file for six years.

Even after this period, you may find it difficult to obtain credit, as some lenders may ask if you’ve ever been subject to a DRO.

To illustrate the impact of a DRO on credit rating, consider this case study: John, a 35-year-old man, applied for a DRO after accruing £25,000 in debt due to a period of unemployment.

After his DRO was approved, he found it extremely difficult to obtain credit.

Despite improving his financial situation and securing a stable job, the DRO on his credit file deterred potential lenders for the full six years it remained on his file.

Mitigating the Impact of a DRO on Your Credit Rating

While a DRO can have a negative impact on your credit rating, there are steps you can take to mitigate these effects.

Steps to Minimise the Negative Impact of a DRO

Firstly, ensure that all information on your credit file is accurate. Incorrect information could unfairly harm your credit score.

Next, consider using a credit-building credit card to demonstrate that you can borrow and repay money responsibly.

However, be aware that the interest rates on these cards can be high, so it’s essential to repay the full balance each month to avoid further debt.

Importance of Financial Management Post-DRO

Effective financial management following a DRO is crucial. Creating and sticking to a budget, paying bills on time, and avoiding unnecessary debt can all help rebuild your credit rating.

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Other Considerations When Applying for a DRO

Alternatives to a DRO

While a DRO can provide much-needed relief for some people, it’s not always the best solution for everyone.

There are several alternatives to a DRO, such as an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA), a Debt Management Plan (DMP), or bankruptcy.

For those residing in Scotland, the Minimal Asset Process (MAP) offers a similar solution to a DRO. Each of these options has its own benefits and drawbacks, and choosing the right one largely depends on your individual circumstances.

Professional Advice and Guidance

If you’re considering a DRO or any other form of debt solution, it’s highly recommended to seek professional advice.

Debt advisors can help you understand your options, their consequences, and guide you to the most suitable solution based on your unique financial situation.

The Emotional and Mental Impact of Debt and DRO

Finally, it’s essential to consider the emotional and mental impact of debt and applying for a DRO.

The process can be stressful and can significantly impact your mental health. It’s important to seek support from professionals, friends, and family during this time, and to remember that seeking help is a step towards regaining control over your financial situation.

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A DRO can indeed affect your credit rating, both in the immediate aftermath and in the long term.

However, this should not deter you from considering a DRO if you are overwhelmed by debt and meet the criteria.

A DRO can provide you with a fresh start, allowing you to wipe the slate clean and rebuild your financial health.

Following a DRO, there are measures you can take to rebuild your credit rating and prove to potential lenders that you are a responsible borrower.

It’s crucial to focus on effective financial management and consider using credit-building tools wisely.

While a DRO may be a suitable solution for many, it’s not the only option available.

Alternatives such as an IVA, a DMP, bankruptcy, or the MAP (for Scottish residents) might be more suitable depending on your circumstances.

Professional advice is invaluable when navigating these decisions. It’s equally important to remember the emotional and mental impact of debt and to seek support throughout the process.

In the end, managing debt is a personal journey and responsibility. The goal is to find a sustainable route towards financial health, even if that means your credit rating may take a hit in the short term. A DRO or any form of debt relief is not an end but a means to an end: a stable, manageable financial future.

Maxine McCreadie
Maxine McCreadie

Maxine is an experienced writer, specialising in personal insolvency. With a wealth of experience in the finance industry, she has written extensively on the subject of Individual Voluntary Arrangements, Protected Trust Deed's, and various other debt solutions.

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Our debt experts continually monitor the personal finance and debt industry, and we update our articles when new information becomes available.

Current Version

November 8 2018

Written by
Maxine McCreadie

Edited by
Ben McCormack

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