As long as you have outstanding debt, you don’t get to make the decisions about your money; your lenders do. They decide how much you pay them and when you pay them. In some cases, they can increase your interest rate and minimum payment and give you less than two months to adjust your budget to fit them. Paying off your debt and becoming debt-free puts you in complete control of your money.
Your credit score partly depends on your credit utilization – the amount of debt you carry as compared to the total amount of debt available to you. If all of your credit cards are maxed out, opening a new one increases your available debt and causes your utilization ratio to go down, and that could help your score. But your score will take a ding any time you carry a high balance on any one card. So if you transfer multiple balances to a single card and get close to (or reach) your credit limit, your score will suffer even if your other cards are paid off.
 As noted above, to qualify for a debt relief program, you must be able to make a monthly payment into a settlement fund, which will be used to settle with your creditors. For many consumers, this monthly payment will be lower than the total monthly payments on their credit cards. This can help provide much needed financial relief to help with their debt problems.
If you are one of the many millions of Americans that are facing student loan debt, ACCC can help you find the right student loan solution.  Our counselors will provide you with an in depth evaluation of your finances and assess your particular student loan circumstances. If you are looking for student loan relief ACCC’s student loan counseling will help.  ACCC will review and explain the various student loan relief options available as well as help you determine qualifications based on your financial situation.  The student loan counseling will successfully help you sift through the clutter no matter what stage you are in with your student loans.

More than 1 in 10 Americans who have credit cards (11%) make only the minimum required payment. Minimum payments are enough to cover the interest on your account, so they can keep you from falling behind, but they don't get you much closer to eliminating your debt. One simple way to make a huge impact is to pay double the minimum. Say you owe $2,000 on a credit card with a 20% APR and a $40 monthly minimum payment. If you could find an extra $40 in your budget and you paid $80 each month, you would save $1,727 in interest and get out of debt more than six years faster.
If you’re considering getting outside help tackling your debt, be sure to thoroughly evaluate credit counselors before choosing one. “Non-profit” doesn’t guarantee that services are free or legitimate. Some non-profit credit counseling organizations may charge very high fees. According to the Federal Trade Commission, a reputable credit counseling organization should:

For that matter, using National Debt Relief to settle your debts can actually cost you less than if you were to pay off credit card debts yourself over a five-year period. Here’s the math. If you owed $10,000 at 15% and your goal was to become debt free and assuming your monthly payment was $225 you would not be debt-free until the year 2020 and you would have paid $4688 in interest. In comparison, if we were to handle that $10,000 debt with a 20% fee it would cost you just $2000 or $2688 less than if you were to pay off that credit card debt yourself.
I thought the same thing! There really is no useful tips here, just her saying “I did it so you can to” but not HOW she did it. Also, if you paid off $22k in 9 months, then your “single low income” looks a LOT different than my single low income. Because $22k is about what we would MAKE in that amount of time. So obviously that would be impossible for us and for most people.
Transferring your debt to one credit card, known as a credit card balance transfer, could help you save money on interest, and you’ll have to keep track of only one monthly payment. You’ll need a card with a limit high enough to accommodate your balances and an annual percentage rate (APR) low enough and for a sufficient time period to make consolidation worthwhile.
There is an easy-to-miss link at the bottom of the site called "Eligibility Criteria". We encourage potential borrowers to look through the information there, as several states are excluded from their personal loan program, and there are other state-specific details to be aware of. Also, it states that personal loan recipients must be US citizens or permanent resident aliens, be of the age of majority in their state of residence, and must be currently employed.
Holly Johnson is a frugality expert and award-winning writer who is obsessed with personal finance and getting the most out of life. A lifelong resident of Indiana, she enjoys gardening, reading, and traveling the world with her husband and two children. In addition to serving as Contributing Editor for The Simple Dollar, Holly writes for well-known publications such as U.S. News & World Report Travel, PolicyGenius, Travel Pulse, and Frugal Travel Guy. Holly also owns Club Thrifty.
Debt settlement services can get you out of debt in under 3-years but will have the worst effect on your credit. Debt consolidation loans can be the most expensive route to consolidate your credit cards because you will pay back the entire loan and interest, but there is no negative effect on your credit through this path. Consumer credit counseling can be a safe way to lower interest rates and become debt free in under 5-years. The downside with consumer credit counseling is, your payment will be around the same as when paying minimum payments on your own.
I have about $10-11,000 in credit card debt. I am thinking about consolidating, however, after doing some research I’m not sure I want to go that route. I have a good creadit score and I do not want to hurt my credit score by having to close accounts, etc. However, I feel like I can’t make any progress with my credit cards due to interest, and I’m trying to avoid opening anymore credit cards that would have low or no interest. I’ve thought about taking out a bank loan to pay my credit cards off. Does this seem like it would be the best option for me? Do you suggest any other options?
If you have federal loans (government loans), the Department of Education has different programs that could help. Applying for these programs is free. You can find out more about your options at the U.S. Department of Education’s StudentAid.gov or by contacting your federal student loan servicer. You also can find out more about how to get out of default.
Our credit advisors will assist in analyzing your current financial situation, providing personalized options based on your goals, and recommending the optimal debt management plan to achieve financial stability. The debt counseling solutions we provide offer our members long term financial success, as well as short term debt management programs and debt consolidation.

That’s an odd situation Chet. If you didn’t make that request, then I would call the lender first to see what is going on/ Maybe they did that as a courtesy since they had not gotten payment from you? That’s one possibility. If you can show that interest accrued when it shouldn’t have or that you weren’t adequately notified about the status of your loan, then you might have a case to make with the lender. Good luck!
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For example, let’s say your biggest balance is $7,000 on a reward credit card at 22% APR. You only have $500 in extra cash you can put towards that debt. Even with fixed $500 payments, it would take 17 months to pay this debt off in-full. It’s almost a year and a half before you clear off that first balance – so, it’s not exactly easy to stay motivated.
The reasoning for debt consolidation is simple: The more debts you have, the more difficult it may be to stay on top of your finances. With so many bills to track, it’s easy for something to fall through the cracks — and, thus, hurt your credit score. Consolidating debt helps you keep track of what you owe while granting the potential for lower interest rates than what you currently pay.

By transferring your credit card balances over to a low-interest balance transfer credit card, you can reduce or eliminate all of your high-interest rates. You would have to pay off your entire balance before the introductory rate period ends, but if you can do it, you can save big money when using a balance transfer card to consolidate. Balance transfer cards charge 3%-5% of the total amount you are transferring onto the card. That’s an up-front fee, don’t forget to add this into the equation. All balance transfer cards offer this up-front fee, and sometimes much higher depending on your credit score, so be careful going this route. We often recommend this route, but only for people who have a good-excellent credit score, like near 800.

During your first conversation with a certified credit counselors, we'll evaluate your financial situation and help you set a budget you can live with while you work on a credit card reduction plan. We may recommend that you enroll in one of our debt management programs, depending on the details of your situation. In our debt management plan, we consolidate all of your payments to creditors, enabling you to make just one payment each month to ACCC. We then take the responsibility for distributing funds to your creditors directly while working with them for possible reduction in finance charges, interest rates, late fees and over-limit charges. Our counselors also find out if credit card negotiation is possible. Creditors are usually more willing to reduce or forgive charges when they know you're actively working at reducing your debt through our relief programs.
As a Non-Profit, BBB A+ Accredited member since 1999, you can have faith in our business to provide legitimate financial help and stay with you throughout your journey. You don’t have to take our word for it, you can read the thousands of testimonials we have from real people who were once in debt, but now have a clean slate and a bright financial future: Credit Counseling Service Reviews
With the debt snowball method, you target the card with the lowest balance and make extra payments toward that account, while paying just the minimum on all other cards. Once you've paid off that balance, move on to the next-lowest balance and add what you were paying on the first card to pay it off even faster—hence the "snowball" effect. You'll continue this practice until you've paid off all of your credit card balances. 

If none of these options is possible, bankruptcy may be the likely alternative. There are two primary types of personal bankruptcy: Chapter 13 and Chapter 7. Each must be filed in federal bankruptcy court. Filing fees are several hundred dollars. For more information visit www.uscourts.gov/bankruptcycourts/fees.html. Attorney fees are additional and can vary.
But you don’t have to do it alone. We’ve got a plan that will help you get from where you are to where you want to be: living a debt-free life. Not only that but there’s a community of people like you who are on this journey of attacking debt and working to become debt-free. Sign up for a free trial of Ramsey+. You’ll get on the plan and find all the tools and resources (like that community we mentioned earlier) you need to help you get to where you want to be. Ready? Set . . . Start!

A low credit limit doesn't have to stop you from doing a balance transfer. You can transfer just one or two of your highest interest rate credit card balances to ease some of the debt pain. Before you consolidate debt with a balance transfer, make sure you’ll actually be saving money with the transfer. It's not worth it to consolidate debt and end up paying more.

It would seem that their customers think so too. Even though Payoff had an "A+" rating from the BBB at the time of our review, we found more than two dozen negative customer reviews on that site alone. People repeatedly complained that Payoff bogged them down with unnecessary paperwork, logged loan payments incorrectly, and terrible customer service. There definitely doesn't seem to be much "happy money" happening here.

Holly Johnson is a frugality expert and award-winning writer who is obsessed with personal finance and getting the most out of life. A lifelong resident of Indiana, she enjoys gardening, reading, and traveling the world with her husband and two children. In addition to serving as Contributing Editor for The Simple Dollar, Holly writes for well-known publications such as U.S. News & World Report Travel, PolicyGenius, Travel Pulse, and Frugal Travel Guy. Holly also owns Club Thrifty.
Before you apply, we encourage you to carefully consider whether consolidating your existing debt is the right choice for you. Consolidating multiple loans means you'll have a single payment each month for that combined debt but it may not reduce or pay your debt off sooner. The payment reduction may come from a lower interest rate, a longer loan term or a combination of both. By extending the loan term you may pay more in interest over the life of the loan. By understanding how consolidating your debt benefits you, you'll be in a better position to decide if it is the right option for you.
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Debt is an obligation that requires one party, the debtor, to pay money or other agreed-upon value to another party, the creditor. Debt is a deferred payment, or series of payments, which differentiates it from an immediate purchase. The debt may be owed by sovereign state or country, local government, company, or an individual. Commercial debt is generally subject to contractual terms regarding the amount and timing of repayments of principal and interest.[1] Loans, bonds, notes, and mortgages are all types of debt. The term can also be used metaphorically to cover moral obligations and other interactions not based on economic value.[2] For example, in Western cultures, a person who has been helped by a second person is sometimes said to owe a "debt of gratitude" to the second person.

The APR shown is for a $10,000 personal loan with a 3 year term and includes a relationship discount of 0.25%. Your actual Annual Percentage Rate (APR) may be higher than the rate shown. Your APR will be based on the specific characteristics of your credit application including, but not limited to, evaluation of credit history, amount of credit requested and income verification.
You may have had a very good reason for running up high-interest debt: Maybe you had to make some unexpected big-ticket purchases or lost a job or endured an illness. But regardless of the cause, ridding yourself of that balance should be your top financial priority. “You need an action plan to help you work at reducing and eventually eliminating what you owe,” says Gail Cunningham, a spokesperson for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, a nonprofit organization. Here are several ways to create one for yourself.

Here’s another: Consumers’ non-housing debts accounted for nearly 30% of their overall debt load. Listen, it can happen to the best of us. One of the knocks on Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh is he ran up tens of thousands of dollars in credit card debt buying Washington Nationals baseball tickets for himself and friends over the past decade.


Cost savings is the other big advantage of debt settlement. While other debt relief solutions focus on reducing the interest rate applied to your debt, debt settlement makes APR a complete non-issue. With debt settlement, you only pay back a percentage of principal – that’s the actual debt you owe. Interest charges and penalties don’t even factor into the final settlement.
Accredited Debt Relief is a reputable company that helps customers reduce their debt obligations by matching them with partner services. Just by looking at their "Proven Results" page, it's easy to see the advantages of working with ADR. For example, their customers with debts owed to Bank of America were able to reach settlements that saved them anywhere from 52-80% of the original amounts owed. Similar results are listed for clients of HSBC, The Home Depot, Sears, and many other businesses. According to the fine print at the bottom of the page, Accredited Debt Relief tells clients to expect to pay up to 75% of their enrolled debt balance, which includes any fees charged by ADR's debt relief partners, over the course of two to four years.
In my opinion, if someone has enough of a debt problem that they are seeking out the help of a third party, then the first place to start is a bk attny. Before spending money on an unnecessary “program”, they should first find out what the law allows them to do. If a Ch 13 is the only available option, then yes, that person may want look at debt settlement as a faster, more affordable alternative. If they qualify for a Ch 7, then maybe their best bet is to file, and tell their creditors to stick it.
NerdWallet's ratings for personal loans award points to lenders that offer consumer-friendly features, including soft credit checks, no fees, transparency of loan rates and terms, flexible payment options, accessible customer service, reporting of payments to credit bureaus and financial education. We also consider the number of complaints filed with agencies like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. This methodology applies only to lenders that cap interest rates at 36%, the maximum rate financial experts and consumer advocates agree is the acceptable limit for a loan to be affordable. NerdWallet does not receive compensation of any sort for our reviews.
Align your spending with your values – The key to controlling spending is to not desire “stuff” in the first place. Will the latest smartphone, sports car, or flat-screen television really make a difference in your life? Probably not, but the debt from overspending will. When you learn to align your spending with your values you will naturally decrease your consumption by choosing experiences over stuff.
In general, we really like SoFi's approach to reducing debt and their supportive approach to helping clients with low-interest personal loans. The only drawback with respect to credit card consolidation is that it's more a of a do-it-yourself method, as SoFi focuses on paying off your credit cards with a personal loan. So, if you'd be tempted to take that personal loan to buy "toys" instead of paying off your credit card balances, you might need to consider one of the other services in our review that do more traditional credit card consolidation.
But it’s more than a method for paying off bills. The debt snowball is designed to help you change how you behave with money so you never go into debt again. It forces you to stay intentional about paying one bill at a time until you’re debt-free. And it gives you power over your debt. When you pay off that first bill and move on to the next, you’ll see that debt is not the boss of your money. You are. 
Thank you for the informative article, I really enjoyed reading it. My husband and I both have very poor credit scores. No credit cards or credit card debt, but various past accounts that have gone to collections ranging from cable and phone bills to a storage facility. For the last year we have been living with my parents to save money so we can buy a house. With our recently received tax return, and the money we’ve saved so far, we’d like to pay off everything at once. A clean slate if you will. How do we go about doing this? Is this a good idea? Will our credit scores go up?
Candice Elliott is a substantial contributor to Listen Money Matters. She has been a personal finance writer since 2013 and has written extensively on student loan debt, investing, and credit. She has successfully navigated these areas in her own life and knows how to help others do the same. Candice has answered thousands of questions from the LMM community and spent countless hours doing research for hundreds of personal finance articles. She happily calls New Orleans, Louisiana home-the most fun city in the world.
How we make money: The Simple Dollar is an independent, advertising-supported publisher and comparison service. The Simple Dollar is compensated in exchange for featured placement of sponsored products and services, or your clicking on links posted on this website. This compensation may impact how, where and in what order products appear. The Simple Dollar does not include all companies or all available products.
Creditors agree to lower interest rates for credit counseling organizations like InCharge. That allows InCharge to consolidate your payments, and create a monthly payment plan that you can afford. It does all the things the DIY program does, only InCharge administers the program, takes your one payment each month and distributes it to your creditors in agreed upon amounts.
Your credit card debt is building up and you’re wondering if it’s time to start looking for the best credit card consolidation programs.  Credit cards are great to have on hand in the event of an emergency. But if you get stuck in a pile of credit card debt, it’s extremely difficult to get out. High-interest and late fees add up quickly and falling behind with payments will affect your credit score negatively. 

Traditions in some cultures demand that debt be forgiven on a regular (often annual[citation needed]) basis, in order to prevent systemic inequities between groups in society, or anyone becoming a specialist in holding debt and coercing repayment. An example is the Biblical Jubilee year, described in the Book of Leviticus.[18] Similarly, in Deuteronomy chapter 15 and verse 1 states that debts be forgiven after seven years.

Your credit score. Debt consolidation loan companies typically have a minimum credit score requirement of at least fair or good credit. To get a low interest rate, you’ll need a higher credit score. A fair credit score signals that you are a greater risk to lenders, and you will be quoted a higher interest rate than another customer with good credit. With very good or excellent credit, you could qualify for a lender’s lowest consolidation loan rate. You might not meet a lender’s minimum credit score to qualify for a debt consolidation loan with bad credit.
Savvy Money has a different approach than the standard debt settlement option for improving your finances without damaging your credit. The online calculator was interesting to use but ultimately the advice it gave was pretty simple. Is it worth $14.95 per month? It may be worthwhile to check out and see what their suggestions are. If you do sign up for their service, you can cancel within 7 days.
Goldman Sachs, the issuer of the Apple Card, sent out an email to its cardholders in March announcing that those affected by COVID-19 can enroll in the Customer Assistance Program, which would enable them to skip their March credit card payment without incurring interest. It recently announced it would be extending this program through April, enabling customers to potentially skip payments for two months. You must enroll in the program online in order to take advantage of this offer.
"Coming to ACCC was the best thing that ever happened for our family. When people express to me they are drowning in debt and need help, I always give them ACCC's information and explain how understanding the people who answer the phones are. I explain that I was never made to feel bad about my situation. On the contrary, I felt empowered after getting my accounts enrolled with ACCC, as it helped me gain control over my spending."
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Payment history is the most important factor in calculating your credit score—accounting for 35% of your FICO® Score—and it is important to avoid paying any loan payments past their due date. Late payments can easily occur when someone has multiple loan payments each month and is not using auto pay. Another advantage of a debt consolidation loan is lowering the amount of interest you're paying on your outstanding debt. People typically use debt consolidation loans to pay off their high-interest debt—like credit card debt, which can have interest rates that range from 18-25%. In most cases, a debt consolidation loan will have a much lower interest rate depending on your creditworthiness, saving you money on interest over the life of your loan.
Second, credit card debt is considered variable interest debt, which means the interest rate can change. For example, if the Federal Reserve raises interest rates, the interest rate on your credit card debt can increase. That means you may pay more money each month to repay your credit card debt. In contrast, a personal loan is a fixed interest loan, so you pay the same, fixed amount each month regardless of changes in interest rates, which is more predictable.
Yep, you read that right. And yes, we even mean stop contributing to your 401(k). Right now, you want all your income to go toward getting out of debt. Once you’re debt-free and have saved three to six months of expenses in an emergency fund, then you can resume your contributions. By then you’ll be on Baby Step 4 and can start putting 15% of your income toward retirement.
It might hurt your score. About 30% of your score is based on the amount of your available credit you use. If, for example, you have a credit line of $20,000 and you owe $10,000, you are using 50% of your available credit — and that will hurt your score. You want that percentage to be below 30 (and below 10% is even better). Your best bet may be to put a small, recurring charge on the Wells Fargo card and automate payment. That way, you will be using a tiny percentage of that credit line (and that is potentially helpful, so long as you pay on time). For more, see
I have 5 CC’s, combined debt of $13,000. The utilization of these CC’s are over 30%. My overall utilization is around 45%. One card is at 70% because it was used for medical bills ($5000). This has been on deferred interest for the past 6 months and this offer is due to expire in August, which will give me a lot of extra interest charges. I need to do something to move the $5k off the credit card and am wondering how a debt consolidation loan would impact my score. I can’t balance transfer anything. Would it be better to just put $5000 on a loan? The other problem I have is that I also need to get a car loan ($6k) in August. I’m concerned about too many things hitting my report but I don’t really have a choice. Recently, one of my CC companies reduced my CL but after a conversation, they reinstated it. I’m anxious to clean up my report. My score is in low 700s. What should I do?
  I would look for a company that has been around for at least 5 years and charges fees only upon settlement of each debt, as specified by the FTC ruling back in 2010. A good place to begin is http://www.americanfaircreditcounsel.org.  The members of this organization (which as formerly known as TASC) all charge fees only upon successful settlement of each debt.
If debt is mounting and you continually find yourself struggling every month, it may be time to seek debt relief. An important part of selecting the best way to eliminate your debt is to realize when it's time to ask for help. Debt consolidation and debt settlement programs are both very popular ways to help consumers get out of debt in a short period of time, but are they right for you? Neither of these programs are available for people who are simply tired of paying their bills, but they are available to those who are already late with payments, have bills in collections or have had a sudden change in their income.
HOW IT WORKS: A credit counselor asks questions about your income and expenses to see if you qualify for a debt management program. If you enroll in the program, you agree to have InCharge debit a monthly payment, which will then be distributed to your creditors in agreed upon amounts. In return, credit card companies agree to lower interest rates to around 8% (sometimes lower), which results in lower monthly payments.
Finding debt relief means that you identify a solution that minimizes the burden of debt repayment. The goal is to reduce or eliminate interest charges and fees so you can pay off your debt faster. In many cases, you can pay less each month and still get out of debt faster than with traditional payments. Essentially, you find a better way to pay back what you owe that works for your finances.
Learn how you can save $100's or even $1,000's of dollars. One of the most powerful things about this spreadsheet is the ability to choose different debt reduction strategies, including the popular debt snowball (paying the lowest balance first) or the debt avalanche (paying the highest-interest first). Just choose the strategy from a dropdown box after you enter your creditor information into the worksheet.
I think this is a great idea for peace of mind and stability if nothing else. You would just want to be sure to have emergency savings set aside (ie don’t use ALL of your spare money to pay down debt because then you might not be prepared if something else comes up). How this affects your credit will vary based on your situation. The new scoring models are encouraging folks to pay off old collection accounts, so that might be a good idea as long as they aren’t really close to falling off the report already. A clean slate in general will likely be good, but you might consider opening a credit card to help increase your credit utilization (though it will also decrease the average age of your accounts). Also, if you want to buy a house very soon, it’s probably best not to open any new accounts, though it’s unclear whether these payments will immediately lift your score to your desired range for a mortgage.

The credit union is probably taking all your debt into consideration, not just the mortgage. And with a personal loan, new mortgage, credit cards, car loan and student loan, it sounds like you have quite a few bills you’re handling. It’s understandable you want to get your interest rates down, though, and it’s good you’re trying to be proactive about the process. Just because one lender turned you down doesn’t mean they all will. But you do want to be careful about applying for loans with multiple lenders as the inquiries can impact your scores. You might want to try one of the other options mentioned in the article before you give up. If you get turned down by multiple lenders, though, then you may want to at least talk with a credit counselor to see if they have suggestions.


You must get credit counseling from a government-approved organization within six months before you file for any bankruptcy relief. You can find a state-by-state list of government-approved organizations at the U.S. Trustee Program. Before you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case, you must satisfy a "means test." This test requires you to confirm that your income does not exceed a certain amount. The amount varies by state and is publicized by the U.S. Trustee Program.
Fractional reserve banking has resulted in a transfer of wealth from the holders of currency to investors. Under fractional reserve banking the money supply is allowed to be increased whenever new interest-bearing loans are issued and is often constrained by a reserve ratio, which mandates that banks hold a portion of the wealth they lend out at interest in the form of real reserves. Many nations are in the process of eliminating reserve ratios.
Whether you are able to negotiate lower interest rates, an extended payment term, lowered fees, or some combination thereof, keeping to your new payment plan is the key to successfully improve your credit situation. Making your agreed-upon payments, on time, in full every month will show that you can reliably, and responsibly, make payments toward your debt. It will also help illustrate your determination to meet your credit obligation, helping to decrease your overall appearance of risk to future lenders.
The cost of credit is the additional amount, over and above the amount borrowed, that the borrower has to pay. It includes interest, arrangement fees and any other charges. Some costs are mandatory, required by the lender as an integral part of the credit agreement. Other costs, such as those for credit insurance, may be optional; the borrower chooses whether or not they are included as part of the agreement.
Debt Consolidation Care says they work to lower your monthly payments, reduce interest rates, waive late fees, reduce collection calls, help customers and avoid bankruptcy. The website discusses the background of the owner as someone enrolled in law school to better understand laws pertaining to debt relief. This was a bit unsettling as we would prefer to work with those that are experts and have completed the necessary education to avoid potential lawsuits.
The convenient answer is: When your debt is so small that you can handle it yourself by doing a better job of budgeting; or when your debt is so large that there isn’t enough income to pay for basic living needs AND make a payment toward your debt. The truth is that everyone’s circumstances are so different that an interview with a credit counselor is the only way to know whether you qualify for a DMP.

Debt settlement: In a debt settlement program your interest rate and principal balance is reduced to make the owed amount affordable to pay off. The professional debt arbitrators negotiate with the creditors when you sign up with a debt settlement company. The financial experts help to lower the principal balance along with the interest rate and design a perfect repayment plan for you. Make sure you do not miss a single monthly repayment until the debt is completely paid off.

Debt settlement: In a debt settlement program your interest rate and principal balance is reduced to make the owed amount affordable to pay off. The professional debt arbitrators negotiate with the creditors when you sign up with a debt settlement company. The financial experts help to lower the principal balance along with the interest rate and design a perfect repayment plan for you. Make sure you do not miss a single monthly repayment until the debt is completely paid off.


Talk with a credit counselor. A certified counselor can work with you to assess your financial circumstances, create a viable budget and discuss your options. "We review individual situations to offer personalized options for managing credit card debt," says Bossler. She adds that debt settlement is often one of the options discussed, but it's not always the best one.
Professional in appearance, the website is easy enough to navigate, but for those beginning their search for the right company to work with, it might be overwhelming. The site isn't very scannable, so you'll need to allow yourself time to read the block paragraphs of information. There are several contact options such as live chat and email, which might save time.

Government Action: This company was sued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, but the lawsuit was resolved. "On November 8, 2017, The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued a Complaint against Freedom Debt Relief LLC. Charges filed allege the business is in violation of Consumer Financial Protection Act and Telemarketing Sales Rule prohibiting deceiving consumers regarding creditors’ willingness to negotiate with freedom, deceiving consumers regarding charges, abusively requiring consumers to negotiate on their own, failure to clearly and conspicuously disclose consumers’ rights to funds."
What are the best Paid Surveys? Over the years, people have discovered a not-so-secret way to earn gift cards, free movie tickets, and even cold hard cash, all from their laptop or mobile device. How? By completing surveys online. These surveys range from a few questions to lengthy questionnaires, and you're rewarded by making money from home or on-the-go.

Also know the rules a debt collector must follow. For example, a debt collector has to tell you: how much money you owe, whom you owe the money to, and what to do if you don’t think it’s your debt. And if you tell the collector in writing that you do not believe this is your debt, the collector has to send you verification of the debt, like a copy of a bill for the amount you owe, in the mail.

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I thought the same thing! There really is no useful tips here, just her saying “I did it so you can to” but not HOW she did it. Also, if you paid off $22k in 9 months, then your “single low income” looks a LOT different than my single low income. Because $22k is about what we would MAKE in that amount of time. So obviously that would be impossible for us and for most people.
Depending on the country, different laws regulate professional debt settlement companies. In the United States, debt relief companies are required to provide information in advance of a consumer signing up for the services, including the cost and the terms. A legitimate company will use a Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation-insured trust account. Once enough funds are built up the negotiation process can begin with each creditor individually. Trust accounts, also known as "special purpose accounts," are often held by a bank, and managed by a bank agent (who charges a monthly maintenance fee). Accounts can also be held by creditors, or may be sold to collections agency for an average of $0.15 on the dollar, in which case debt can still be negotiated.
Debt resolution requires the services of an attorney. Debt settlement does not. Debt settlement companies prefer that the debtor has missed or will miss payments. Debt resolution does not require missed payments. The terms have become somewhat interchangeable. Debt resolution or settlement, is a serious step that will affect both you and your partner. While one of you may have a stellar score, the other person seeking debt settlement can be affected for the next seven years. If you're considering buying a home ointly, the credit scores of you and your mate or significant other will be considered.
Settled debts: Of the methods we've discussed, debt settlement presents the biggest risk to your credit score because you're paying less than the full balance on your accounts. The settled debt will be marked as "paid settled" and will remain on your credit report for seven years. The more debts you settle, the bigger hit your credit score could take. In addition, late payments and even collections, which often occur when you use this method, will bring your score down.
If you have more than enough to pay for the minimum, choose target debts that you can increase payments. Ideally, these should be the high interest credit cards that you owe but a lot of experts will suggest that you work on those with the lowest balance first. It will encourage you to pay off the rest once you complete one or two of them. When you have finished off some of your debts, only then can you work on the high interest rate cards.

I have a dilemma that I would like to get your advice on. I have three loans that comprise of a secured office mortgage loan (1) and two unsecured consumer loans (2 & 3). Loan 1 is approx. $80,000, loan 2 is approx. $35,000 and loan 3 approx. $24,000. Loans 2 and 3 have a higher interest rate than loan 1. The loans are being paid on a monthly basis normally. The question is the following: assuming that I receive a lump sum of money of approx. the total amount of the loans (=$139,000) would it be wise to apply all the money towards the loans and discharge them or play it safer and divide among the loans, or pay higher loan and then go to second loan etc.?

If you’re not sure you need professional help, there are other options you can use to find relief. Remember, debt relief refers to any solution that gives you a fast, easy, or cheaper way to get out of debt. There are plenty of do-it-yourself debt relief options to consider besides formal debt relief programs. You can work directly with a creditor or lender to find a solution you can afford.
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.
It’s so awesome to find another Dave Ramsey enthusiast! My husband and I started our marriage off with a $12,000 car loan (My old car broke down 2 months before our wedding and almost all of our money was tied up in that!) We made the payments for 4 months until Christmas and then we decided that the car would be paid off in another 6, that we would own it exactly a year after we bought it! Not only did we succeed we also saved our entire 6 month emergency fund in another 6 months! :) This whole year has been used for starting a house down payment fund, and finally upgrading a few smaller household things! Debt free is so worth it! :)

You’re so excited to take advantage of your 15% off exclusive cardmember “benefit,” and you rush to the store or website. You get there, and . . . they’re having a sale! At this point, they’re practically paying you to shop! (Listen, I’m a spender at heart, so I know how to spin this.) So you wind up going on a $150 shopping spree—which is $50 over your budget.


American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) is a non profit credit counseling agency offering services such as debt advice, debt consolidation programs, and consumer bankruptcy counseling. We have provided thousands of families with financial counseling and helped them with consolidating bills and paying off credit cards. For consumers in need of bankruptcy counseling, ACCC is approved by the Department of Justice to provide both pre bankruptcy credit counseling and post-bankruptcy debtor education.
DIY: Call the credit card companies, explain that you want to concentrate on paying off your debts, and ask if they will reduce the interest rate for you. Some may. Then pay your creditors with the same system: Determine a fixed amount you can send every month, and stop charging. As one account is paid off, pay more to the others until you're debt-free.
Accredited Debt Relief is a referral service that is partnered with a large network of debt relief companies. At the time of our review, they maintained an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and had an outstanding track record for customer satisfaction. We would have liked to see more information about the typical fees charged by their partners, as well as a list of states where Accredited Debt Relief is allowed to operate.

It would seem that their customers think so too. Even though Payoff had an "A+" rating from the BBB at the time of our review, we found more than two dozen negative customer reviews on that site alone. People repeatedly complained that Payoff bogged them down with unnecessary paperwork, logged loan payments incorrectly, and terrible customer service. There definitely doesn't seem to be much "happy money" happening here.
The right debt relief solution will help you reach zero without creating additional risk or damaging your credit. When it comes to bad ways to seek debt relief, there may be some circumstances where using one of these solutions would be the best option. However, you should exhaust every other option first and only use the bad ways as a last resort to avoid bankruptcy.

Creditors will continue to add interest and late fees onto your balances if your accounts are delinquent. While your balance usually increases until a settlement is reached, bear in mind that interest accrues whether you make minimum payments or not. Our goal is to negotiate substantial reductions to the balances on your accounts, even after the interest and late fees have accrued.

It will hurt your credit: For a long time. Once you enroll in the program, the company tells you to stop making any payments on your debts, usually recommending to do so for six months or more. This is so the creditors will worry you won't pay at all, would rather take something over nothing and are willing to negotiate with the debt relief company. As you're ignoring the lenders, they are continuing to to report late payment updates to the credit bureau. And will continue to do so until your account is settled.  Plus, the fact that you actually didn’t pay the full amount stays on your credit report history for seven years. The programs state that it's only temporary, and you can improve your score after you are debt free. They also say that it's better on your credit than bankruptcy. First, yes but barely. Second, I should hope so, since bankruptcy is the bottom of the barrel in terms of credit.
The reasoning for debt consolidation is simple: The more debts you have, the more difficult it may be to stay on top of your finances. With so many bills to track, it’s easy for something to fall through the cracks — and, thus, hurt your credit score. Consolidating debt helps you keep track of what you owe while granting the potential for lower interest rates than what you currently pay.
If you have a credit card with a high interest rate, you may be able to transfer the balance onto one of your other cards for a lower interest rate. There are also credit cards that specialize in balance transfers, waiving the fee for new applicants and giving you an 0% intro APR. Read the fine print on offers before you jump in to anything, though.
Both types of bankruptcy may get rid of unsecured debts and stop foreclosures, repossessions, garnishments and utility shut-offs, and debt collection activities. Both also provide exemptions that allow you to keep certain assets, although exemption amounts vary by state. Personal bankruptcy usually does not erase child support, alimony, fines, taxes, and some student loan obligations. Also, unless you have an acceptable plan to catch up on your debt under Chapter 13, bankruptcy usually does not allow you to keep property when your creditor has an unpaid mortgage or security lien on it.

Americans owe over $4 trillion, including over $1 trillion in student loans and another $1 trillion in revolving debt, like credit cards. But as much debt as we have, most people don’t really know that much about it until they face issues. This can make it tough to make the right decisions quickly, but Debt.com is here to help. If you’re working to better understand debt and the options you have to get out of it, start here. This guide explains how to tell when you have too much debt, what it’s costing you, and what you can do about it.

Contact a credit counselor. Reputable credit counseling organizations can advise you on managing your money and debts, help you develop a budget, and offer free educational materials and workshops. Their counselors are certified and trained in consumer credit, money and debt management, and budgeting. Counselors discuss your entire financial situation with you, and help you develop a personalized plan to solve your money problems. An initial counseling session typically lasts an hour, with an offer of follow-up sessions.
One way to consolidate all your bills is to borrow money from a family member or a friend, pay off your individual debts and then pay off your family or friend over time. Whether or not this is a possibility for you depends on several factors, namely – are you close with someone who has the financial freedom to loan you money and be flexible with the repayment amount and terms? Do you feel comfortable asking your family or friends for money?
The average length of a DMP is 3-5 years, but is shorter for clients who decide to aggressively deal with their debt. Many clients pay down debt faster by using income tax returns, inheritance money or some other unexpected source of income. There is no penalty for paying the debt off early. You can make additional payments while on the plan and pay off your debt faster.

With this method, you contact a company first and make a settlement offer. You offer a certain percentage of what you owe and request for the remaining balance to be discharged. You can use this method with debt collectors, medical service providers for unpaid medical bills, or with a credit card company if your account is behind but still with the original creditor.


1. Target just one card first. If you’re carrying balances on multiple cards, it’s a long slog to wipe out those debts. So give yourself a boost of instant gratification right from the start, says Mary Ann Campbell, a certified financial planner in Little Rock, Arkansas. Ask yourself: What short-term financial goal will make me feel as though I’m making meaningful progress on debt reduction?

Creditors will continue to add interest and late fees onto your balances if your accounts are delinquent. While your balance usually increases until a settlement is reached, bear in mind that interest accrues whether you make minimum payments or not. Our goal is to negotiate substantial reductions to the balances on your accounts, even after the interest and late fees have accrued.
Debt consolidation loans are used solely to combine all your debts. These loans may be offered by major banks or from so-called non-profit debt consolidation companies. Be careful about using debt consolidation companies to consolidate debt. These loans often include extra fees, making the cost of the loan much higher. Avoid borrowing money from one of these companies. Instead, seek out a low interest rate loan from your bank or credit union for better terms and to ensure you're not being scammed.
While participating in the National Debt Relief program, you may face an initial impact on your credit score. However, many of our clients find that by the time they graduate, their score has returned to the same rate if not higher than when they started. The important thing to focus on is that by participating in our program, you'll be actively getting rid of your debt. Furthermore, by the time you graduate, you should be able to get your credit rating to a higher level than it was before the debt settlement process, providing you don't let your debt levels creep back up, and you practice good personal finance habits.
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