The Debt Relief Order was introduced as an alternative to bankruptcy for those with very low incomes, no assets and debts below £15,000 in total. However, just because it is a legal alternative to bankruptcy, does not mean that it won’t affect your credit record.
The Debt Relief Order is, when all is said and done, a form of personal insolvency. As such, it is published on the Insolvency Register, where your name and address will remain for 15 months. However, it will also show up on your credit record for even longer than that.
Debt Relief Orders are made visible on your credit record for 6 years. This can make it difficult to obtain credit during this period.
However, if you take a Debt Relief Order, you may be subject to a Debt Relief Restrictions Order. For those who are deemed dishonest (for example, lie on their application) or culpable for their own financial issues (for example, those who borrow knowing full well they will never be able to repay), these restrictions could be put in place for up to 15 years.