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Debt settlement arrangement (DSA)

A debt settlement arrangement (or DSA) is a legally binding form of insolvency, giving you total protection from your lenders. Lenders included in a DSA are not allowed to contact you or take any action to collect the debt.

A DSA is available if you meet these conditions:

Need help with a debt settlement arrangement?

Call us for free debt advice on

1800 937 435

What happens in a DSA?

The DSA will normally last for five years, but in some cases it may be six years. Any unsecured debt left at the end of this will be written off.

The payments you make during the DSA will be set at a level you can afford. You’ll always be left with enough money to keep a reasonable standard of living.

A DSA only includes your unsecured debts, so you can keep paying your mortgage. Your house and car won’t be taken from you.

Setting up a DSA

You can’t set up a DSA on your own. You need the help of a personal insolvency practitioner (PIP). The Insolvency Service has a list of PIPs on their website.

First, the PIP will take the details of your debts, income and assets. They’ll then apply to the court for a certificate which stops your lenders taking any further action. From this point, your lenders are not allowed to contact you.

The PIP will then draw up a DSA proposal explaining your situation and what you can realistically afford to pay. They’ll send a copy of the proposal to your lenders, and if the majority of them agree to it, the DSA will go ahead. Your details will then be added to a public register.

The PIP may charge a consultation fee for their services. Once the DSA has been set up, any further fees will be taken from the payments you’re making and there are no extra charges.

PIPs we work with

Company Contact name(s) Website
Alan McGee Alan McGee www.alanmcgee.ie
R Hendy and Co. Kerry O'Neill & Eric Hendy www.rhendy.ie
The Debt Clinic Eugene O'Brien & Derek Scanlon www.debtclinic.ie
The Irish Mortgage Holders Organisation Stephen Curtis www.mortgageholders.ie
Grant Thornton Sara Garland  www.grantthornton.ie
Market House Insolvency Services Paul Carr www.markethouseinsolvency.com

What debts can be included in a DSA?

Most common debts are included in a DSA. Credit and store cards, overdrafts, credit union loans and business loans are all included.

Some debts can be included as long as the lender doesn’t object. This includes taxes, rates and property service charges.

Some debts aren’t included in a DSA, and you’ll still have to pay these. Mortgages and other secured debts, family maintenance payments, criminal fines and loans obtained by fraud are all excluded from a DSA.

After your DSA has been approved

Once the DSA is set up, you must stop paying anything directly to your lenders. You should only make payments to the DSA.

If your income or living costs change during the DSA, you must let your PIP know. If this affects the amount you can pay, they may change your DSA payments. Your PIP will contact you at least once a year to check if anything has changed.

If you apply for any credit of more than €650 during your DSA, you must tell the lender you’re borrowing from about your DSA.

Your credit rating will be affected during a DSA, and you’ll probably find it difficult to borrow more money. Your credit rating will improve over time if you don’t run up more debts.

If you don’t make the agreed payments to your DSA, it may be cancelled. Your lenders can then start to contact you directly again, and you’ll have to deal with them yourself.

At the end of your DSA, any remaining debt is written off and your name is removed from the public register of DSAs.

Find out more

Call us on 1800 937 435 and our experienced debt advisors can answer your questions and help you decide if a DSA is right for you.

If you want to know more, the Insolvency Service publishes a useful DSA guide (PDF).

What people say about us

“It's really nice to have my bills under control. Thank you for helping me, it's been great.”

- Philip, County Louth

Foundation for Credit Counselling (trading as StepChange Debt Charity) is a company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales (Company No: 2757055) and a charity registered in Ireland (Registered Charity No: 20104887). Registered office: Wade House, Merrion Centre, Leeds, LS2 8NG, United Kingdom.
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StepChange Debt Charity 2018