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Do you know all the warning signs of a bad IVA company?
If you’re currently considering an IVA to address your debts but you don’t know how to assess the different options, this post was written for you.
We’ve compiled the authoritative list of the best IVA companies for 2021. Plus, we’ll show you how to compare and evaluate IVA companies as well as the red flags to look out for.
Here’s everything you need to know about the best (and worst) IVA companies…
What is an IVA Company?
An IVA company is a business that will set up and manage an Individual Voluntary Arrangement for a person who is in debt of more than £5000.
The IVA company will deal with all creditors on your behalf, in line with the IVA protocol.
Best IVA Companies 2021
We have done extensive research over several years and we have compiled a list of the Best IVA companies in 2021:
- Vanguard Insolvency
- Financial Wellness Group
- Begbies Traynor
- Forrest King
- Bennett Jones
- Step Change
How to Choose the Best IVA Company
Ultimately, the best IVA company is the one that works for your specific circumstances. And as with anything, each has positive and negative aspects.
That means it’s difficult to suggest one company as the single best choice. But we can help pick the best IVA company for you. More on that later.
First, let’s take a look at some common criteria that can be useful when trying to choose. In fact, these are the same criteria that we used when developing our best of 2021 list.
So what qualities does the best IVA company in the UK have to have?
[Top Tip – if you are a resident of Scotland and you are looking for an IVA, you’ll need to see our Trust Deed – Scottish IVA page here.]
1) Completely Free
When you’re trying to get your finances back on track the last thing that you need is to pay more out in upfront fees.
So for us, this is a key criterion. In fact, at IVA advice we only ever use free to set-up IVA companies. If you arrange an Individual Voluntary Arrangement through IVA Advice, you won’t pay upfront fees, ever.
2) A Stellar Reputation
As far as we’re concerned, the best indicator of how an IVA company performs comes from those who have actually used the service.
Even with the best website, marketing, and copywriting – if the service itself doesn’t hold up, this will become evident in customer feedback and IVA reviews.
Simply put, the best IVA companies are highly rated.
Of course, it’s possible that new, less established IVA companies could be great for their customers. But unfortunately, without a strong public reputation, there’s a little risk there. And we’re not comfortable with passing on this risk (however small) to people who put their trust in IVA Advice.
Our bottom line? For us to recommend an IVA company, they must have a track record of positive customer reviews, on reputable, independent review platforms, such as TrustPilot or Google Reviews.
As far as IVA companies with negative reviews, the less said about those the better. We would not recommend any IVA company which has a negative review profile.
3) Well Established
This ties in nicely with our last criterion. As well as reviews, we also need to see a strong history of success. How do we determine this? With a proven record of successful IVA management over several years.
After all, an IVA is a legally binding debt solution that can have serious consequences for your financial future. So an IVA proposal has to be perfect before it reaches you.
We believe this takes a lot of experience to achieve at a high-level and we will not deal with IVA companies that lack experience. You will not find any “startups” or “debt apps” in our list.
4) Low Monthly Payments
The lower the monthly payments of an IVA, the more likely you are to adhere to its terms. And if you do that, after the fixed term concludes then your remaining creditor debt is written off.
In fact, that’s the whole point of an IVA – to create a consolidated and affordable monthly payment. But the unfortunate truth is that some IVA companies start their minimum payment levels beyond what is realistic and affordable for people struggling with debt.
We also acknowledge that it’s not uncommon for people to experience circumstantial change during the term of their IVA. This must also be considered when determining an appropriate monthly payment rate.
Realistic budgeting is a key tenet of debt management, as we’ve discussed in our debt management guide. But this seems neglected by some IVA companies, and in our experience, it can include debt charities and debt management companies, too.
The good news is that we can put you in touch with the companies that are currently offering some of the cheapest IVA rates in the UK.
With this, your insolvency practitioner will follow a strict code of conduct and ensure that the arrangement you agree is fair to the people you owe money to. You’ll easily be able to afford to make payments into the plan for the full term of the IVA.
5) Digital Operations
This one is pretty straightforward. We only deal with online companies that can offer their service digitally.
We don’t believe home visits and office visits are necessary for this day-and-age. All documents can be sent securely online, and it’s common for creditors’ votes on your IVA proposal to take place in a digital conference. Digital technology can also make IVA annual reviews much easier.
Plus, a digital experience is much quicker and more convenient for you. So why create extra hassle?
6) 100% Confidentiality
Debt management is a private issue.
Whether you’re a multi-millionaire or in significant debt – nobody wants their financial information to be revealed publicly. In fact, this is one of the major negatives of declaring bankruptcy
Your financial situation is a private issue and the companies that we recommend will make sure to keep it that way.
That means nothing will be sent without your permission. No details will be shared with other parties, and nothing will be discussed with your partner, family, or work.
Of course, insight into your income and expenditure is necessary for an IVA – including bank statements. But that’s where we like to keep it – only the absolutely essential information is shared, and only with those who need to know.
We make sure that our companies keep your information 100% private.
IVA Companies to Avoid
You’re already concerned about your level of debt. The last thing you need adding to that stress is wasting more money on IVA companies that don’t meet your expectations.
Unfortunately, this is a familiar scenario that we’ve seen all too often before.
From time to time we receive inquiries from people who have arranged IVAs through other websites and dealt with Insolvency Practitioners that they’re not happy with. At this stage, we can’t help to put the situation right, unless you’re looking for a new IVA company. But we’d suggest you make a formal complaint about your Insolvency Practitioner.
Ideally though, we want to help you avoid getting into this situation in the first place. So if you’re yet to commence an IVA and are currently weighing up your options, here are 3 extra red flags to watch out for.
Red Flag 1: Unrealistic Promises
If you feel uneasy about an IVA company’s claims, trust your instincts.
While in an IVA it’s definitely possible to reduce payments to creditors by a significant amount, claims such as reducing the amount owed to creditors by 75%+ should be avoided. A rate like this is practically impossible to achieve.
Red Flag 2: High Failure Rate
You could also enquire directly as to an IVA company’s failure rate. While you should know that IVA failure is normal, if the rate seems much higher than the industry average (approximately 15%) you should probably consider another company.
Red Flag 3: Late Completion Certificates
After you make your final IVA payment, your IVA company will send you a completion certificate. This is an official confirmation that your IVA has been successfully completed, is now closed, and that your remaining creditor debt has been written off.
This usually happens around 12 weeks after your final payment. But we’ve seen instances of certain IVA companies being fairly unresponsive and failing to send out closure notice until close to a year has passed.
We advise you to chat with a debt advice service to weed out any companies that are known to be untimely with their completion certificates.
Avoid Getting Burned
Here are our 3 top tips to avoid getting yourself in a nightmare situation with a scam company.
- choose a free service provider to help to set up your IVA.
- invest time with your advisor so they can understand fully your unique circumstances.
- make sure you’re clear on the ins and outs of an IVA – in plain English – so you’re not surprised at a later date. For more info, you can check out all the pros and cons of an IVA solution.
How About Debt Charities?
We hear mixed reviews about charities. The unfortunate truth is that IVA charities charge Insolvency Practitioner fees, just like a private company. So in most cases, it’s preferable to go for a top-rated private company.
Debt charities are more popular as they advertise as being “free” and “charities”, but their debt advice will only be free if you opt for free templates. These templates are readily available online.
How We Can Help
If you don’t fancy doing this depth of analysis on every IVA company that you come across – the good news is that you don’t need to.
That’s what we’re here for! We help you to compare IVA companies without submitting your personal and credit file information to each of them individually. Instead, we use a panel of our pre-approved companies, based on very strict criteria.
This ensures that not only do we get rave reviews but also that your IVA will be set up to suit your individual situation perfectly.
Sound good? Then get started immediately by taking a few minutes to complete our IVA calculator questionnaire.