Debt Settlement providers take your existing debt and work with creditors to lower the overall amount owing. They renegotiate the existing debt, interest, fees and penalties and arrive at a new balance. 

If you have already made the decision to try debt settlement, here are two companies that we recommend to get you on your way.  If you want to learn more about Debt settlement and find out if it's right for you, click on read more below. 

National Debt Relief is BBB Accredited and you will not pay anything until the debt is resolved. 

CuraDebt Get a free debt consultation that is 100% confidential and no obligation. #1 rated debt settlement companies by consumer watchdog and review site from 2009-2017  

The debt settlement company will have you deposit money into a special purpose account. Once the funds build up, the debt settlement company will negotiate and settle with each creditor individually, and pay each one of them out at the time of settlement. They will charge you a fee or percentage for each account settled.  

Here are our Recommendations for Debt Settlement Providers

National Debt Relief

  • No credit requirements
  • Minimum $7,500.00 in debt
  • One of the best options for debt relief and bankruptcy assistance
  • Bad credit friendly – will help regardless of your credit score
  • Avoid bankruptcy by settling debts
  • Offers free debt relief quotes with savings estimates
  • No fees upfront, transparent payment structure
  • Not available in CT, GA, KS, ME, NH, SC, OR, VT, WV
  • Financial counseling and guidance from experts that deal with creditors every day
  • Will work with you to address your spending habits and help you develop a budget
  • They will help you lower your monthly payments to fit your current budget
  • Have a portion of your debt forgiven
  • Get fees and payment charges waived
  • Focus your efforts on one payment that funds your FDIC-insured account, which is where National Debt Relief will get the money to pay off your debts
  • Settle debts without compromising other financial commitments
  • Live a less stressful life

CuraDebt

  • Provides debt settlement and debt negotiation
  • Minimum $5,000.00 in debt
  • Curadebt is not a lender but can help you get out of debt through renegotiation and restructuring
  • Provides free debt relief quotes with no sign-up requirements
  • Debt consolidation means only one, lower monthly payment instead of several high-interest payments on other debts
  • Can help clients with fair credit and above
  • Debt Relief Services are not available to residents of CO, CT, GA, ID, IL, KS, ND, NH, OR, SC, VT, WA, WI and WV
  • CuraDebt does not charge any fees for its free counseling sessions

Debt Settlement - Is this Best Method for You

Debt settlement goes by a few different names like debt relief, debt negotiation, debt arbitration and for some, debt management. The debt settlement expert contacts your creditor and negotiates a new total amount and you will pay that amount in full instead of a monthly payment. 

Mental and Physical effects Debt can Have on Individuals and Families

If you have never been in the position of overbearing debt, it is difficult to understand just how traumatic debt can be in your life. We've mentioned mental and physical because it affects all parts of our lives. Trying to focus on a conversation and attempting to be present with your spouse, partner, children, friends or family becomes almost impossible with the pressures of debt. We've created a list of items that you may have already experienced and we want you to know your not alone. Millions are in the same position of overburdening debt and there is little to no support in America. Here are some of the layers of pain debt can take you through:

  • The fighting has started from the pressure on both of you from debt. You and your spouse or partner are not communicating the same way you used to and your fighting about money
  • You are emotionally drained. Your paycheck is going to fees and interest expenses, but the payment amounts are remaining the same. You have no money for anything but the bills. It feels like your stuck together with nowhere to go
  • Your losing sleep and feeling the stress while you lay in bed and try to get to sleep every night.
  • You keep the TV on, look at the Internet and use anything else for a distraction to keep the fear at bay
  • You're taking cash advances on your credit card to pay regular bills or buy groceries. You're starting to shop for groceries very carefully now and dread the trip to the grocery store. Something that you used to really enjoy.
  • Your using credit cards to pay other credit card bills or skipping a payment to buy time
  • Your savings account is empty
  • Credit cards are maxed out and you've been turned down for a debt consolidation loan
  • You have lost hope, not talking to anyone and starting to isolate
  • You are catching colds more often and suffering from stomach issues like diarrhea and indigestion
  • Time to see the doctor and check your blood pressure
  • Headaches are very common along with arthritis from stress

We can list these items above because we have lived them and understand the pain that comes from bad credit and struggling to make ends meet. 

Finding Freedom from your Debt

We are talking about debt settlement and it goes by a few different names. Some people will call it debt negotiation, debt management, and even others call it debt consolidation. We will use debt settlement to keep it simple. We want to give you a few options here:

Can you do this on your own? You have nothing to lose in trying, especially if you are not dealing with a lot of creditors. You will need to decide how much you can afford to pay every month, then divide it up between your creditors. Here is the issue with this process. 

The creditor may not deal with you in this manner. Debt settlement companies will ask you to stop paying all of your creditors. Why? So that they get the attention of the creditor. Here is the creditor choice once you stop paying:

  • Hire an attorney to garnish your wages. 
  • After you have not paid them for a while, they may give you file to a debt collection company who will keep 30-50% of what they collect.
  • The creditor can also sell your debt to companies that deal with risk. They buy up debt and guess that they will collect a percentage. They know what the risk is and what their average collections have been.
  • Get organized. Write down everything that was said in your conversation with the creditor. They are dealing with thousands of people every day and will be taking notes about your last conversation, maybe even recording the call. Remember, knowledge is power and you need to make sure you have as much information as they do.
  • Here is an interesting thought; they say this call will be recorded for training purposes. Tell them that you are recording the call to make sure you keep your information clear? You must tell them that you are recording the call. Borrow a phone from a friend to make the call and record with your cell phone. If you cannot do that, write down everything that was said to you.
  • A few other items that you will need. There may be a reference number or file number that the creditor is working with. Request the name of the person you spoke with. Keep a record of the time and date of the call and what you discussed. Write down everything in a letter that you have recorded and sent that to the creditor. This way there is no misunderstanding by anyone.
  • Time is on your side. It really may not feel this way, but creditors work on aging. The longer a debt is out there, the less likely they are to collect. The creditor can garnish your accounts and find money, so make sure you are really financially unable to pay off your debt.
  • Get everything in writing with the creditor before you start sending money
  • You can ask them what amount they will take to settle, but you must have the money at the time to pay them.

You could also take the same steps as the debt settlement company. Stop paying everyone until you can get their attention. Your creditors will lose approximately 1/2 of their money by sending your debt to any of their options above. You can start saving your money is a separate account, hidden away from garnishment companies. At any time through the process, a creditor can take your file to court and garnish your income. This is where talking to a debt settlement provider, a bankruptcy attorney or credit counselor can help you through the process. Debt settlement companies will charge you a fee for every debt they settle. They do not charge upfront fees, but you do pay for the service

Debt Settlement Provider can negotiate on your behalf to get you better terms. They have the expertise to explain your financial position and negotiate a payment that works for you and your creditor. Here are a few concerns that we have with debt settlement.

  • Your creditors may not deal with settlement companies forcing you to stop making payment for months. 
  • Stopping payments will hurt your credit rating. 

Debt Settlement is not the only solution. The fact is that many people cannot even qualify for debt settlement. You will need to be able to afford to save money to pay off your creditors. If you are not working and have no income or any way to save money, you may need to talk to a bankruptcy attorney. 

Bankruptcy

This word scares everyone. We all know that once we've gone this way, bankruptcy remains on your credit score 10 years, but it may be the only way out if you are drowning in bills.

If you have tried debt settlement or debt consolidation and you were unable to get out of debt and it will still be hanging over you in 5-7 years, bankruptcy may be the alternative. 

Bankruptcy laws were designed to provide everyone in America a fresh start. If your financial problems came from job loss, divorce, massive medical bills, business failure as a few examples, you could stop a foreclosure on your home, wage garnishment and debt collection. Your unsecured loans could be forgiven through this process. 

The most popular types of bankruptcy are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. In Chapter 7, some assets are exempted like your home, auto, retirement savings, some home tools and home furnishings. All other assets are liquidated and the money is paid out to your creditors. Chapter 7 will lower your credit score by a few hundred points, which will make it near impossible to get credit for 2-3 years after. Even at this point, you will only be able to get high-interest low-dollar loans. 

With Chapter 13, you are given the opportunity to reorganize your finances and design a plan to repay the debt over a 3-5 year time period. 

Bankruptcy will usually clear off all unsecured loans including your credit cards and as we stated earlier, this will be on your credit report for 10 years.

 There is a good reason we are all afraid of bankruptcy. It is very final and you will deal with the problem and stigma every time you are looking to purchase anything for many years.

Credit and Debt Counselling Services

We want to provide you a link to a federal government recommended National Foundation of Credit Counselling (NFCC) certified Credit and Debt Counselors. 

They can advise on managing money. They will offer solutions to your current financial problems and help you develop a plan to prevent future debt issues. 

What to Look for When Selecting a Debt Relief Company

Search for a company that you feel that you can trust. They need to be very open and transparent. What are they planning on doing for you for the fees that they will charge you and are they real! There are lots of companies out there that say they can offer debt relief and scam you for your money when you're already down. If anyone asks you for money upfront, we suggest you run. You should only pay for results when debts are settled. 

The debt settlement provider should have at least the following:

  • A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau
  • Been in business for a minimum of 5 plus years+
  • Belong to the American Fair Credit Council (AFCC). The council is a watchdog for the debt settlement industry and demands fairness, clarity, and legitimacy from all of its members.
  • Members of the AFCC must uphold standards and can be trusted to look out for your best interests
  • High ranking in Top Consumer Reviews

As we have already mentioned, they need to be very easy to understand and transparent. They need to be knowledgeable to guide you through the process from the time you sign up until you are debt free. This can take many years, so it's important to choose wisely. This link will take you to National Debt relief and you can see all of their consumer reviews. 

The Facts about Debt Settlement

Will the Creditors agree to Debt Settlement?

Creditors will not always agree to debt settlement. National Debt Relief is an expert in this field and they will not give up trying to work with the creditors. Your ability to set money aside and be prepared to build up money in an account for the day that they may change their mind is critical to your success. 

Debt Settlement is not the preferred choice of Creditors. Your creditor wants to get paid the money that is owed to them. They want the full payment of what you've borrowed. Debt settlement will reduce that amount and nobody wants to be paid less. 

Debt Settlement compared to Debt Consolidation

Debt Consolidation combines debt from all of your creditors, then you apply for a new loan, hopefully at a lower interest rate and a lower monthly payment. This is usually done by consumers that have many credit cards that they are only paying the minimum payment and maybe past unsecured loans or credit lines that are not being reduced over time. 

Pros and Cons of settlement and consolidation will vary. You need to focus on three items

  • The amount of time it will take to get rid of the debt. Both solutions are designed to get rid of the debt.
  • Will the process damage your credit score 
  • Can you qualify for a debt consolidation loan and if you can, what interest rate will they offer you? This will depend on your past credit history and if you have caused damage to your credit score already.

Debt Settlement Pros and Cons 

The thought of not having to pay back the entire amount to the creditors and getting out of debt is very exciting. Let's get into how debt settlement works and make sure you are fully aware of what you're getting yourself involved in.

A representative from the debt relief company will contact your creditor and make an offer to settle your debt with them for less than you originally owed. An example may be you owe $5,000.00 and they offer $2,200.00 as a lump-sum payment. If this offer is accepted, you make the payment to the creditor and this one account is settled. Depending on how many accounts you still have to settle, the debt settlement company will start on the next creditor. Your ability to be completely out of debt will depend on how much cash you are placing in a monthly fund to pay off your creditors. While you are going through this process, all of your creditors are still sending you bills every month. 

While you are going through this process, all of your creditors are still sending you bills every month. You are still accumulating interest on your credit cards and late fees. Always remember, your creditors may not settle and in some cases, companies will not deal with debt settlement companies. In these cases, the debt settlement company will not be able to work with this creditor until your file goes to collections. You may have been able to settle that claim faster without the debt settlement provider and this can harm your credit rating because the collections report will be on your credit history.

Here are the Issues that you will need to consider.

Your Credit Rating

Asking for a reduced amount from your creditor can have a negative impact on your credit score. This settlement will remain on your credit history for up to 7 years. Be sure to ask the debt settlement provider to speak to the creditors about your credit score and how they will report on your credit score after debt settlement. This could change your mind about the process. Talk to their credit advisors about this.

Late Fees and Interest Charges

The debt settlement companies may instruct you to stop making payments to your creditors while they are in negotiations. The late fees and interest charges will accumulate with the amounts you already owe.

No Settlement

You have to consider that the creditor may not settle. If this happens and you have stopped making payments for 6-12 months, now you owe even more money. 

Tax

There is a possibility that the amount of money you save could be taxed as income.

Service Fees

The debt settlement company will charge a fee for negotiating the cost reduction. This amount varies by provider. Ask if the fee is based on the original amount or on the renegotiated amount.

Time to Complete 

Completing debt settlement will depend on you. The more money you provide monthly allows the debt settlement company to work faster. If you can only contribute a small amount, it can drag on for many years. Throughout this time you have stopped making payments, penalties continue to add up.

How Creditors React

After a long period of time, the creditor may send your file to collections, sell your debt to another company or deal with a debt settlement provider. When the creditor gets to this point, they have written you off and passed this information on to the credit bureaus.

Does Debt Settlement Work

If you're in a position where you are feeling helpless and looking at declaring bankruptcy, debt settlement has its place. Your other options are credit counseling and speaking with a bankruptcy attorney. 

Debt Consolidation Pros and Cons

Debt consolidation can be a great idea in gathering up all of your debt into one loan, setting a time period of usually 3-7 years to finally be at the point of having your credit cards and loans paid off. I'll say this again, "CAN BE" a great idea if you are prepared to be responsible with spending. Credit cards and credit lines make up the majority of debt in America. Many Americans have more than 3 credit cards and owe over $15,000.00 in credit card debt. Now layer in all of the other payments that everyone has like utilities, mortgage or rent payment, the bundles of cellular, cable and Internet services and that is only the beginning of payments before we start on raising children and having holidays.

Given the amount of credit card debt, many are already making the minimum payment on their credit cards. If you're now at the point where you're making minimum payments on all of your credit cards, this is when you start looking at debt consolidation. 

The Pros side of Debt Consolidation is Very Simple

You will have one payment to one lender and now your credit card debt is going down every month instead of sitting idle. Here are a few ideas for you to make this process cost as little as possible:

  • If you own your home, a home equity loan (fixed loan) or line of credit (if you have equity) may be the answer. This is also a trap so be careful. You have spent time building this equity. If you do go this way your mortgage provider will laugh and laugh. We pay triple the amount of our homes in mortgage fees. If you add to it again, you start all over and the lender gets to do all over again. We recommend the fixed loan instead of the credit line as you would only be moving your credit cards to yet another revolving payment that is not going down. 
  • If you do not have a home to use as security, an unsecured loan will cost you more money in interest.
  • You will probably want a longer term given you are now paying down the full amount of the credit card debt.
  • How did you get into debt? Is there a spending problem? You have now paid off all of your credit cards and if you start the spending all over again, bankruptcy may be your only choice.

 Debt Consolidation unsecured Loan Providers

The providers we recommend for unsecured loans are based on your credit score and the amount of money you require. You can look at the personal loan providers that also offer debt consolidation. When you start the search for debt consolidation, your main goal should be lowering your interest rates and reducing debt. When you apply for the loan, select the reason for the loan as debt consolidation, the lender may want to know which loans and credit cards you are paying off because this will determine your new debt to income ratio (DTI). A lot of lenders cap the DTI at 50%. If you are unsure of your DTI and are not 100% sure what it is, check out this link that explains DTI and a calculator is available. 

Debt Consolidation Credit Union and Bank Providers

If you can qualify at a credit union and especially if you have any form of collateral, give the credit unions a try. Can be easier to get along with than the banks. If you already dealing with a bank that is holding your mortgage, that should be your first inquiry about a second mortgage or a fixed loan. 

Debt Information in America

See this example of what America is dealing with today with credit card debt by state.

  1. Alaska $6,910
  2. Colorado $5,625
  3. Connecticut $5,617
  4. North Carolina $5,548
  5. District of Columbia $5,499
  6. New Jersey $5,484
  7. South Carolina $5,389
  8. Maryland $5,345
  9. Georgia $5,343
  10. Virginia $5,329
  11. New Hampshire $5,327
  12. Washington $5,269
  13. Delaware $5,234
  14. Texas $5,173
  15. Illinois $5,166
  16. Massachusetts $5,142
  17. Hawaii $5,141
  18. Rhode Island $5,102
  19. Arizona $5,011
  20. New York $4,952
  21. California $4,937
  22. New Mexico $4,920
  23. Florida $4,861
  24. Oklahoma $4,854
  25. Nevada $4,851
  26. Kansas $4,830
  27. Ohio $4,817
  28. Alabama $4,817
  29. Maine $4,797
  30. Missouri $4,796
  31. Wyoming $4,789
  32. Louisiana $4,773
  33. Oregon $4,773
  34. Vermont $4,693
  35. Tennessee $4,669
  36. Pennsylvania $4,629
  37. Mississippi $4,594
  38. Indiana $4,577
  39. Montana $4,565
  40. Utah $4,559
  41. Michigan $4,558
  42. Idaho $4,549
  43. Minnesota $4,541
  44. Arkansas $4,535
  45. Kentucky $4,436
  46. Wisconsin $4,327
  47. West Virginia $4,315
  48. Nebraska $4,298
  49. South Dakota $4,236
  50. North Dakota $4,011
  51. Iowa $3,885
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  2. Understanding FICO Scores - Understanding FICO Scores acquired July 2018
  3. Exceptions to the usury law - Exceptions to the usury law
  4. Fair Credit Reporting Act - Fair Credit Reporting Act October 1970 acquired July 2018
  5. cfpb - Consumer Financial Protection Bureau - cfpb - Student Loans
  6. Household Debt - Household Debt Jumps in 2017 Acquired July 2018