Best Debt Relief Programs in 2023
More than half of Americans have trouble paying back their credit, and many report that the terms on which they borrowed the money are very unfavorable. If you are in this situation and have more than $7,500 in unpaid credits, you can turn to debt settlement companies to reduce your loan amount, interest rate, or additional fees.
Debt Relief Companies: Best Offers
The main task of most debt settlement companies is to help you make debt repayment more manageable. This process usually consists of three steps: the first is to study your situation, the second is to draw up a work plan, and the third is to communicate with the lender on your behalf.
For many borrowers, the services of debt settlement companies are the salvation from bankruptcy and the only way to improve their financial situation. If you are willing to work long-term (usually several years) to pay off your loans and improve your credit score, you can contact one of the companies we have described below.
National Debt Relief
You can contact this debt settlement company if your debt is more than $7,500 and you want qualified help. Once you sign a cooperative agreement, you must open a savings account and stop paying off your loans. Instead, you have to transfer your monthly payment into this account so that when National Debt Relief settles with the lender, you can then pay the necessary amount from this money. The National Debt Relief cost is no different; you must pay them 15%-25% of your total unsecured debt when it is settled. In addition, National Debt Relief can set small monthly fees depending on your situation.
Among the pluses of this company, users highlight the transparency of reporting, the ability to get a free consultation before cooperation, and the professionalism of the people who work there. However, National has a few downsides – it doesn’t help with federal student loans, and generally, debt settlement service can take several years. Overall, it’s one of the best debt relief options for anyone who wants to try these services and start working with a reputable organization.
Century Support Services
Over the past ten years, this organization has helped more than 250,000 users with debt settlement. Users note that a major plus of the company is its team, as it has an excellent customer support and experts in negotiating with creditors. Century Support Services has a 4-step program that they use to bring results to their users as quickly as possible:
- Situation Assessment.
- Selecting a debt settlement program.
- Negotiating with lenders your debt relief plan.
- Repayment of loans according to agreements reached.
The debt settlement takes 24 to 48 months, which is the norm for this type of service. In addition, the company costs up to 18%-25% of the original debt owed, which is one of the main drawbacks of Century Support Services. However, the company says the results fully justify the price since most users pay only up to 75% of the original debt, including fees. The company website does not list specific requirements for future program participants, so this is a good option if you have unpaid 500 dollar loan or any loan which is less than $7,500 and you can’t go to your previous organization.
New Era Debt Solutions
In addition, thanks to a large team and even the presence of attorneys, the company never outsources the work and is responsible for the result at all stages. This debt relief organization is an excellent option for those who want skilled help for little money, as New Era also asks to pay fees only after receiving the result.
Pacific Debt Inc.
Pacific Debt Inc. is an organization created in 2002 in San Diego. Since then, it has helped its users settle more than $300 million, avoid bankruptcy and improve their financial situation. Before you start working with this company, you can take a free consultation with a debt settlement specialist to discuss which plan is best for your particular problem. As usual, the resulting repayment process can take 2-4 years, but you will only have to pay 15%-25% of your debt at the end of that period.
In addition, your monthly payments will include Pacific’s fee. One major drawback of the company is that it does not handle loans secured by a car, home, or investment account. But, at the same time, it does help students repay private student loans, which many competitors do not. In conclusion, if you have more than $10,000 in unsecured debts, you can apply for debt settlement and try to improve your financial situation.
Freedom Debt Relief
Founded in 2002, this company has more than 2,000 experts ready to help you solve your financial problems. As always, you can learn more about your debt settlement options at a free consultation with one of the organization’s employees, and only then decide to work with them.
This option is excellent for those who want to track their progress without extra calls and communication with managers because Freedom has created a client dashboard where you can view it all online. This company’s work will cost you the same as its competitors – 15%-25% of the total amount owed. However, if you have a small loan, you can try to apply for a debt settlement program with this organization.
What Is Debt Relief?
The debt relief industry is about reducing or forgiving your credit by lowering the interest rate, extending the repayment period, bankruptcy, or other methods. You can do it yourself or entrust this task to debt settlement companies who will communicate with lenders on your behalf to negotiate better terms.
Types of Debt Relief
There are only five types of them:
1.Debt consolidation loans.
This option is usually used by those who already have several loans. The idea of debt consolidation is that the user takes out a large loan on more favorable terms and uses the money to pay off old debts. This leaves only one new loan instead of several monthly payments.
Those who can pay their loans but do not understand how to do it correctly resort to this option. In this case, the user goes to a credit counselor and gets a review of his finances and a detailed plan for reaching his goals.
3.Debt management plan.
Such services are provided by non-profit organizations that want to help people pay their debts. They negotiate a lower interest rate or extended repayment term with your creditors and make a personalized payment schedule, named a debt management plan. You agree not to borrow more money from a financial institution until you have paid off that debt, and you agree to follow a payment plan.
Opposite to debt management, debt settlement companies try to negotiate with your creditors to reduce your debt. This is a desirable option but also very risky, as there is no guarantee that the company will be successful during negotiations.
If you are struggling financially, you can take advantage of one of the programs in which the lender can forgive some or all of your credit. Again, you can go through debt forgiveness independently, even without the help of specialized companies.
What Does a Debt Relief Company Do?
The main task of such companies is to make it easier for you to pay your debt or not to have to pay it at all. Most often, they first assess your situation and come up with several ways to solve the problem. Next, the company staff contacts creditors on your behalf, and financial experts tell you what to do at a given time (such as suspending your debts or taking out a new loan to pay off the old one). Of course, you can do much of what these companies offer on your own, but if the situation is challenging, you should consider contacting experts
Do Debt Relief Companies Hurt Your Credit?
Going to an accredited debt relief company alone won’t affect your credit score, but the actions you take next will have a negative impact. For example, take out a new loan for debt consolidation or stop paying old loans so that the company can negotiate an interest rate reduction with the lender. As a result, you will see debt relief affect your FICO score. However, remember, if you complete the debt settlement successfully, your score will rise again within 1-2 years, so don’t worry about it.
Risks of Debt Settlement
The decision to go to an accredited debt relief company has many potential risks, and you should be aware of them before you pay for debt settlement services and enter into contracts:
- Such organizations do not guarantee the successful completion of the process. So if you see a debt settlement company that promises 100% results, be sure that you are dealing with a fraudster.
- A lot of advice from these companies will hurt your credit in the short term.
- If you have very little money, you should not go to such companies because their services are expensive. You may end up with old debt and no money.
- Debt relief usually cannot help you with all kinds of credit.
- Sometimes, lenders will sue borrowers because of the wrongdoing of the top debt relief companies.
If you can pay back your loan without going to these companies, you can do so because it is less risky.
Services of Debt Relief You Shouldn’t Handle
You can do most of what these companies do yourself. However, you should remember that the people who work for these organizations are more educated and experienced and can make smarter decisions. What is not something you should do on your own so that you don’t end up in even more debt?
- Stop paying any one loan to pay off another without warning the lender. Remember that late fees can be very high and lead you into a debt trap.
- Do not take out a large loan, such as home equity, without a thorough calculation or consultation with a financial expert. On your own, it is complicated to calculate all the factors that affect the success of debt consolidation.
- Do not use money from your retirement savings to pay off another loan unless you have a clear plan for how to pay it back later.
- Do everything in writing, especially agreements, just like employees of debt relief companies.
- Don’t start bankruptcy yourself without ensuring it’s the best option.
Services of Debt Relief You Can Handle
You can do almost all the processes yourself; the only difference is that you will spend a lot of time and effort on it. For example, you can:
- Communicate with your creditors.
If you explain to your lender why you are in this situation and what kind of help you want, you may be able to lower your interest rate or reduce some fees.
- Take out a new loan to pay off your old loans if you are sure you are making the right decision.
If your credit rating allows, you may be able to find an option with a lower interest rate and reduce your unsecured debt with the new loan.
- Make debt management plans and approve them with your creditors.
Suppose you have a good understanding of finances. In that case, you can negotiate a loan extension or interest rate reduction with your lenders and approve debt management plans you will stick to throughout the process.
Debt Relief Through Bankruptcy
If you have decided that filing bankruptcy is the best option for you and you know all the consequences, you can follow this plan:
- Choose Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
- Contact an attorney for a free consultation to see if you can represent yourself (going pro se). If not, hire one to avoid having your request rejected.
- Take one of the government-approved credit counseling courses.
- Fill out all the required forms to submit your request to the court. You can download them from the United States Courts website. Don’t forget to pay court costs.
- Go to court to fill out the remaining forms and submit them to the clerk.
- Meet with your creditors at the 341 Meeting and explain your situation again.
- Get debtor education from one of the organizations whose program is approved by the government.
- If all goes well, wait to be notified that the creditor has discharged all of your debts.
You should understand that the bankruptcy option can cost thousands of dollars and take several months to years to complete. Also, many lenders won’t go in to lend you money in the future if they see a similar mark on your credit report. So make sure this is the best option for your situation, try debt settlement service, and seek advice from experts in the field.
- How much does debt relief cost?
Many companies do not have a fixed price in dollars for debt settlement services, so they charge from 15% to 25% of the amount you originally owed or the amount you ended up owing.
- How do I qualify for debt relief?
You must have more than $7,500 in unsecured debts, and your income must not exceed $125,000 a year. Not all loans fall into the debt category, only unsecured personal loans, those taken out by credit unions, and certain types of credit card debt and private student loans.
- How can I get out of debt collectors without paying?
One of two options is the most common. The first is to ask the collectors to validate the debt – most often, they do not have all the information they need to do this. The second option is to ask them in writing (by mail or fax) to stop calling you; you have a right to that under federal law.
- What is the downside to debt relief?
The main downside to this method is that you can never know if you will be able to make your loan repayment more manageable. No debt settlement company guarantees success in this case, so there are cases where clients end up in court after 1-2 years because of the creditor’s claim or simply lose money on debt relief services.
- Are credit card debt relief programs real?
Yes, credit card debt is eligible for such programs, the purpose of which is to reduce interest or late fees. Alternatively, you can contact your credit card company and ask them to review your request to lower your debt payments, interest rate, or overall unsecured debt.