A personal loan is a form of unsecured debt, meaning the loan is not backed by any collateral. If you default on a personal loan, you won’t lose anything, unlike if you fail to make payments toward your car loan or mortgage, which are secured debts. However, if you do default on a personal loan and your creditor sues you, a lien could be placed on your wages or property.
An unsecured debt, in contrast, involves no collateral but instead is based on a contractual agreement entered into by the borrower and lender at the beginning of the relationship. Common examples of unsecured debts are credit cards, student loans, or utility bills. The risk of default on an unsecured loan is that your debt could be turned over to a collection agency and a lawsuit may be filed against you for repayment. Lenders of unsecured debt will be more stringent about pursuing repayment because their money has not been guaranteed. Unsecured debts generally have higher interest rates because of the increased risk taken on by creditors. Take credit cards, for instance – the average interest rate on credit cards today is around 14.9 percent. Payments made on unsecured debts usually fluctuate based on the outstanding balance.
The answer is yes and no. The ladder method will always be more efficient than the snowball method and will allow you to pay off debt fast. But with that said, the debt snowball works well for small accounts, like retail credit cards (think Macy’s, Old Navy, etc.). The ladder method is probably easier for larger accounts, like student loans, which are going to take a while to pay off anyways.
We want to hear from you and encourage a lively discussion among our users. Please help us keep our site clean and safe by following our posting guidelines, and avoid disclosing personal or sensitive information such as bank account or phone numbers. Any comments posted under NerdWallet's official account are not reviewed or endorsed by representatives of financial institutions affiliated with the reviewed products, unless explicitly stated otherwise.

Because the minimum payment on your transferred balances is now lower than it was before (since there’s no interest added), you can take the extra money you were previously paying each month and add it to the minimum payment on one of your other credit cards instead. That will help you get those other balances paid off so you’re not paying so much interest.

Tom Jackson focuses on writing about debt solutions for consumers struggling to make ends meet. His background includes time as a columnist for newspapers in Washington D.C., Tampa and Sacramento, Calif., where he reported and commented on everything from city and state budgets to the marketing of local businesses and how the business of professional sports impacts a city. Along the way, he has racked up state and national awards for writing, editing and design. Tom’s blogging on the 2016 election won a pair of top honors from the Florida Press Club. A University of Florida alumnus, St. Louis Cardinals fan and eager-if-haphazard golfer, Tom splits time between Tampa and Cashiers, N.C., with his wife of 40 years, college-age son, and Spencer, a yappy Shetland sheepdog.
I know it’s fab to live in New York City or Los Angeles or San Francisco but if you’re going to be forever in debt and never able to retire, it’s not worth it. I know it takes money to move so you can choose from our other options; finding a cheaper place, getting a roommate, moving back in with your parents until you’ve saved enough to make a move.
Fast Track Debt Relief offers one debt settlement service for both business and personal debt. While the website was bright and attractive, it lacked the transparency we like to see related to fees and program specifics. We found several customer complaints related to Fast Tracks inability to successfully negotiate down debt but still taking fees, leaving the customer worse off than before.

Both are possible solutions to problems with debt. A debt management program is not a loan. It consolidates unsecured debts and tries to lower monthly payments through reductions on interest rates and penalty fees. A debt consolidation loan is actually a loan, with interest charges and monthly payments due. With a debt consolidation loan, you would have to qualify to borrow the amount needed to pay off your debt. The interest rate is normally fixed and, depending on your credit score and history, may need to be secured with collateral like a home or car. Debt consolidation loans usually run 3-5 years.
Gather your most recent credit card bill so you have current data about your credit card balance. Examine your finances to determine how much you can afford to pay – both for monthly payments or for a lump-sum settlement. Gather copies of bank statements and income tax returns to enable you to prove your financial difficulties with the credit card company, if necessary.
Many people find it hard to negotiate with their creditors. A debt relief program has expert, experienced negotiators that know how to deal with creditors. They take the hassle and heartache out of a fraught situation. Additionally, because debt relief companies deal with a lot of debt in different accounts, they have more leverage and can bulk their deals to get better settlements.
Fast Track Debt Relief says they work to settle unsecured debt within 36 months. Our first concern was the length of time that may mean creditors would be harassing us while payment were not being made. Most of the program details are provided through a debt expert that will call to discuss your personal situation. To get started you must provide your name, phone numbers, email, amount of debt, location and whether you own a home or not. After waiting up to 24 hours you will receive a phone call - which may or may not be at a time that is convenient for you to discuss your situation and their program.
Tip: Before you do business with any debt settlement company, contact your state Attorney General and local consumer protection agency . They can tell you if any consumer complaints are on file about the firm you're considering doing business with. Some states require debt settlement companies to be licensed. You can check with your state regulator or ask your state Attorney General if the company is required to be licensed to work in your state and, if so, whether it is. You can also view the Federal Trade Commission's page on "Coping with Debt " for more information.
Whether you need consumer credit counseling, credit repair, tax relief, debt relief or debt settlement, this list includes the top companies for each industry. The companies are ranked in order (i.e., the top companies have the highest accumulative score). Debt consolidation loan companies are not mentioned on this list. For the “top 10 debt consolidation loan companies” visit this page next.
To start the process with Debt Consolidation Care you must provide your name, phone number, email, and unsecured debt number. Once submitted you can anticipate a phone call from someone to discuss the actual program available at Debt Consolidation. At the time of our review we attempted to get assistance via the Live Chat but no operators were available to assist. We also noted that the BBB provides an A rating for this company but doesn't list it as a debt settlement provider. We thought this was a bit strange and along with the lack of a transparent pricing structure, minimum debt requirement and the states Debt Consolidation Care survives proved to be disappointing.
First, you should always work to get rid of credit card debt legally. If you’d like to get on the path to becoming debt-free, you have several options. First, you could ramp up your current efforts to pay down the debts you have. However, if this isn’t feasible based upon your current financial situation, debt consolidation is another option. One way to consider debt consolidation would be to see if you qualify for a debt consolidation loan. However, many people facing high levels of debt won’t qualify due to poor credit. On the bright side, debt settlement is a viable option for most people, no matter their financial situation. With debt settlement, you or a company working on your behalf will work with your creditors to settle all your debts. A drastic option, which will leave a near-permanent black mark on your finances, is bankruptcy.
In a debt management plan, a credit counselor sees if you and the companies involved can agree on a plan for how you will repay the money you owe them. Once a plan is worked out, every month you deposit money into an account held by the credit counseling agency. The credit counselor uses the money to pay your bills according to an agreed payment schedule. You don’t stop paying until your debt is repaid.
When a bank creates credit, it effectively owes the money to itself. If a bank issues too much bad credit (those debtors who are unable to pay it back), the bank will become insolvent; having more liabilities than assets. That the bank never had the money to lend in the first place is immaterial - the banking license affords banks to create credit - what matters is that a bank's total assets are greater than its total liabilities and that it is holding sufficient liquid assets - such as cash - to meet its obligations to its debtors. If it fails to do this it risks bankruptcy.
Trade associations are business cooperatives within a certain industry. A business must maintain a high ethical standard to be a member of the association. Credit counseling agencies may belong to the National Foundation for Credit Counseling or the Association of Certified Debt Management Professionals. Debt settlement companies have the American Fair Credit Council. These associations mean that the company must live up to a minimum ethical standard. You can have peace of mind that the company will provide the service that they claim.
Franklin Debt Relief is located in Chicago, Illinois and was incorporated in 2006. They work with clients that have unmanageable unsecured debt but do not specify the minimum requirement. The website is user friendly and informative despite some unprofessional typos. Franklin Debt Relief focuses on debt settlement services and does a good job of outlining the different lingo and terminology often used in the practice of debt relief.

User-Specified Order: There are three options for choosing the order that you want to pay your debts. You can choose "Order Entered in Table", which is self-explanatory. You can also use the Custom column to enter your own formulas or your own ranking and choose "Custom-Highest First" or "Custom-Lowest First". I'd suggest ranking each row using values "10, 20, 30, 40, etc." . The reason to enter the order by 10's or 100's is so that you can easily switch the order. For example, you can move the one marked "30" ahead of "20" by changing the 30 to 19. You can also use the built-in SORT command via the Data menu.
The process of assisting customers at Savvy Money is pretty simple. You identify your current payment history, and whether you can afford to pay more, the minimum, or less. You identify how much you owe in credit card debt, car loans, mortgage payments, and more. Almost instantly a plan is "built" for you. The plan shows you how much interest you'll save, your total monthly payments and when your debt will be paid off. If you're currently unable to make your minimum payment, the website will direct you to a debt settlement company called Freedom Debt Relief.
Because the minimum payment on your transferred balances is now lower than it was before (since there’s no interest added), you can take the extra money you were previously paying each month and add it to the minimum payment on one of your other credit cards instead. That will help you get those other balances paid off so you’re not paying so much interest.
The term debt consolidation refers to the act of taking out a new loan to pay off other liabilities and consumer debts, generally unsecured ones. Multiple debts are combined into a single, larger piece of debt, usually with more favorable payoff terms. Favorable payoff terms include a lower interest rate, lower monthly payment, or both. Consumers can use debt consolidation as a tool to deal with student loan debt, credit card debt, and other liabilities.
Fiscal and monetary policy are areas where everyone has an opinion, but few people can agree on any given idea. While reducing debt and stimulating the economy are the general goals of most governments in developed economies, achieving those objectives often involves tactics that appear to be mutually exclusive and sometimes downright contradictory.
Consumer debt is debt that is owed as a result of purchasing goods that are consumable or do not appreciate. As of the third quarter of 2019, U.S. consumer debt reached a new high of just over $14 trillion, about $1.3 trillion more than the previous record, set during the 2008 financial crisis. The rise has been attributed to soaring student and auto loans, along with total credit card debt. Options for mitigating consumer debt include speaking with a creditor about debt-relief measures, such as restructuring loans, or loan forgiveness or declaring personal bankruptcy, which are both forms of debt settlement.
Credit card consolidation - is it right for you? If you're carrying a high interest rate across multiple cards, you may benefit from such services. With more and more Americans facing large medical bills, job loss, and other financial setbacks, credit card debt is higher than ever. And, with interest rates and late fees, it's not unusual for people to get in over their heads. Credit card consolidation helps consumers to better manage their debt and get back on solid financial footing once more.
After signing up for Freedom Debt Relief, you make monthly deposits into an FDIC-insured bank account that you own and control. Once enough money has built up into this account, negotiations occur towards resolving each of your debts one by one. Once a settlement offer is obtained, we present the offer for you to sign off on. If you agree to the terms, the funds in your FDIC-insured account are used to pay the creditor. This is also when we collect our fee. Once the creditor has been paid according to the settlement agreement, the remainder of the debt is written off. We repeat this process with all of your debts until you no longer owe anything on your enrolled debts.
Perks offered by this company include referral bonuses for bringing new customers in that receive a loan (both you and the new customer get a cash reward); unemployment protection, where your repayments can be put on hold for up to 12 months; and, job-hunting help from the Career Strategy specialists at SoFi, if you lose your job during your loan period.
Whether you can use your credit cards after debt consolidation depends upon the debt consolidation option you choose. If you opt to participate in a debt settlement program, you’ll likely close all your credit cards and thus be unable to continue using them. On the other hand, if you obtain a debt consolidation loan, you’ll retain control of your credit cards and be able to use them if desired. However, since the purpose of the debt consolidation loan is to pay off those cards and become debt-free, continuing to use them while undergoing debt consolidation could be counterproductive.
With a debt consolidation loan, a lender issues a single personal loan that you use to pay off other debts, such as balances on high-interest credit cards. You’ll pay fixed, monthly installments to the lender for a set time period, typically two to five years. The interest rate depends on your credit profile, and it usually doesn’t change during the life of the loan.
The next option is to ignore your debt. Collection accounts fall off your credit report after seven years. At that point, the delinquency stops affecting your credit. The catch? Your credit suffers tremendously in the meantime, and since you’re still legally obligated to pay the debt, a debt collector can pursue you until the statute of limitations runs out in the state where you live.

Thank you, Jill, for sharing your Freedom story! We are pleased to be able to assist you to a brighter financial future. Please reach out to our Client Services department at (800) 655-6303 or [email protected] if you have any questions or comments regarding your account. Thank you for choosing Freedom Debt Relief to assist you on your journey to financial freedom!
The debt snowball method works best for many borrowers because it is an approach designed to help you stay motivated based on human psychology. With the debt snowball method, you begin by paying off your smallest debt first. This gives you a quick win to keep you inspired. Then, you move up to the next smallest debt and the next one, until all of your debt has been repaid.
Pay up on your debts whenever you're flush. Made a little extra on your paycheck this week? You could blow it all on a night out, or you could put it toward your loans. Got a bonus for the winter holiday? You could buy a bunch of gifts or you could put it toward your loans. If you want to be debt free, you have to be strict with yourself. No excess expenditures until you're completely debt free and can pay for things without going back into debt. Commit to getting there and work hard until you're there.
The flip side of earing more is spending less. Ideally, depending on how far out of debt you need to get, you might do both. And there are a lot of ways to save a little that can add up—from eating out one less day a week to skipping your morning coffee out or taking your own snacks to the movies rather than paying $30 for popcorn, candy and a soda.
Finally, avoid thinking of continually transferring balances to escape from paying your credit card debt. While your credit score may currently allow you to open new cards, a perpetual habit of opening new cards to transfer your balance will definitely drive your credit score down: which won't solve your credit problem. Think of balance transfers as a one-time window when you will commit every bit of income you can to reduce your credit card balances before the introductory period expires and interest rates kick in.

Put a spending freeze on your entertainment costs for a little while. This means no going out to the movies, concerts, mini golf, bowling or whatever you do for fun that costs money. Instead, challenge yourself to find free ways to stay entertained. Take the kids to the park, go for a walk or a hike, enjoy a free concert, or look for a free event in your community.


There are three main ways repayment may be structured: the entire principal balance may be due at the maturity of the loan; the entire principal balance may be amortized over the term of the loan; or the loan may be partially amortized during its term, with the remaining principal due as a "balloon payment" at maturity. Amortization structures are common in mortgages and credit cards.

Unless you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which can take as little as six months to complete, debt settlement is typically the fastest way to get out of credit card debt. Debt settlement programs can be completed in as little as 12 months, depending on your financial situation. Even if you have limited funds for generating settlement offers, a good debt settlement company may be able to help you set up a plan that would have you out of debt less than 48 months. That’s equal to the average term you’d face with a debt consolidation loan, and you’ll likely eliminate your debt for half the cost!
Consumer debt is debt that is owed as a result of purchasing goods that are consumable or do not appreciate. As of the third quarter of 2019, U.S. consumer debt reached a new high of just over $14 trillion, about $1.3 trillion more than the previous record, set during the 2008 financial crisis. The rise has been attributed to soaring student and auto loans, along with total credit card debt. Options for mitigating consumer debt include speaking with a creditor about debt-relief measures, such as restructuring loans, or loan forgiveness or declaring personal bankruptcy, which are both forms of debt settlement.
I had credit card debt and I used Credit Advocates to help with the solution. Now that I am at the end of paying off the debt I just wanted to cry when I saw how much I was charged in fees – it was a fee for everything including phone calls made for me. At least between a forth and half of the monies sent went to them. If I had it to do over again I would call the credit card companies and try to repay the lesser amount over time. It seems to me that the companies that say they can help are only there to take your monies at a very high rate of fees, etc.
One of the best things you can do is learn your rights as a consumer. For instance, many people don't realize that you can contact credit card companies directly to negotiate your own settlement or hire a lawyer to negotiate on your behalf. Bossler adds that you should make sure you're covered by getting settlement offers in writing before sending money.
×