Once payment is made, you will be able to immediately download the manuals and to begin your studies. You can take the exam when you are ready and they are listed on the member’s dashboard, under Take Exams. The only special technology you will need is an Adobe Reader and the ability to watch YouTube videos. Adobe is installed on 98% of all computers. If needed, it is Get Adobe Reader.
Nonprofit credit counseling agencies are businesses that analyze your debt situation and advise you on the best course of action. If that involves consolidating your debt, the counseling agency will confer with your creditors and create a debt management plan. The credit counselor works with card companies to obtain lower interest rates and fees in exchange for a guaranteed monthly payment. The credit counseling agency collects the monthly payment from you and distributes it to the card companies at the agreed upon rate. There is little and sometimes no charge for their services.
Check your credit reports and scores. It’s always wise to check your credit reports and scores before you apply for any type of financing, debt consolidation loans included. The condition of your credit is one of the primary factors that will determine whether you can qualify for financing and what interest rate and terms lenders are willing to offer you.
When you’re looking for the best personal loans for debt consolidation, the loans that are available to you will depend on the same factors that are associated with applying for regular loans. These factors include your credit rating, how much you want to borrow and your ability to pay the loan back. You are likely to obtain lower interest rates and better loan terms if you have good credit and/or put down collateral.
Using a personal loan for debt consolidation could also let you take advantage of features that your current loans may not offer, such as making unlimited extra repayments. Changing your repayment frequency such as switching to weekly or fortnightly payments from monthly payments can help you reduce the amount you pay in interest costs on your loan as interest is usually charged daily. So paying more frequently can help you reduce those charges.
Adam Tijerina is a personal finance expert for National Debt Relief, a BBB A+ accredited business offering debt settlement services since 2009. Adam knows a thing or two about debt resolution after successfully settling $43,250 in credit card debt on his own. He has also co-authored two books about overcoming adversity and has been featured on Credit.com and USNews.com. Adam holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Trinity University and lives in Texas with his wife and four children.
While budgeting and using tools like loan calculators can help, you could have different bill due dates, different interest rates and different companies to communicate with. If you have good credit, you might want to consider consolidating your debts in order to simplify paying back to your lenders or creditors. Below we have explained what exactly debt consolidation is, and guidelines to see if it is the right fit for you in your financial journey.
Debt settlement is a debt relief option that focuses on getting you out of debt for a percentage of what you owe. It’s also commonly called debt negotiation because you negotiate to only pay back a portion of the outstanding balance. In exchange, the creditor or collector discharges whatever is left. As a result, debt settlement is often the fastest, cheapest way to get out of debt without declaring bankruptcy for many consumers.
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There are a lot of cards in my wallet that I plan to keep open for a long time, but the only ones that I know with 100% certainty I’ll keep open forever are the ones that don’t charge an annual fee. Benefits change, loyalty programs get devalued, and your favorite card right now might be obsolete in five years. By including a few no-annual-fee cards in your early applications, you can hedge against this and build a sustainable credit score.
It is important to know that you can make seven figures in the credit repair business and a great living of six figures or more. However, hyping a business, as I’m told it is called, to boost sales or one’s brand is unnecessary; especially in the credit repair business. This could bring more unwanted scrutiny from local state AG offices. Also, it can be embarrassing if a researcher gets involved and is unable to verify such claims.
Debt consolidation is a good option for finding some relief from creditors that shouldn't hurt your credit scores if you manage it responsibly. If you end up consolidating your debt with a new loan or credit card, chances are you'll incur a hard inquiry as a result of letting a new lender check your credit for your application. Hard inquiries can ding your credit scores, but the impact is typically small and short-lived. Also be sure to make all your payments on time, as payment history is the most important aspect of your credit scores; even one late or missed payment can bring your score down. And try not to apply for any new credit cards while you work to pay off your current debt.
“Credit Counseling will develop an action plan that is tailored to your exact needs,” Rebecca Steele, Chief Executive Officer for the National Federation of Credit Counseling, said. “When you’re in debt, you need to understand your budget, what it’s going to take to resolve your debts and how you can put fair, affordable payments in place to achieve that goal. That is what credit counselors should do for you.”
A cardiologist has a long road to complete her specialization. She must first graduate with a bachelor’s degree, pass the MCAT, pass medical school and then take part in a three-year residency program and another three-year fellowship program in cardiology before taking her board certifications and officially starting her career as a cardiologist. It takes a lot of heart to get through all of that.
Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) - was enacted in 2003 to amend the Fair Credit Reporting Act, to prevent identity theft, improve resolution of consumer disputes, improve the accuracy of consumer records, make improvements in the use of, and consumer access to credit information. You can view a summary fact sheet on FACTA provisions at the Privacy Rights Clearing House Organization website here.
With government debt consolidation programs, you’ll consolidate multiple loans into a single new loan, with a new interest rate and payment terms. With just one check to write each month, you’ll find it easier to keep track of your loan payments. Additionally, a government debt consolidation plan can lower your monthly student loan payments by increasing the amount of time you have to pay back the loan and giving you access to other repayment options. If your original student loans have variable interest rates, government debt consolidation programs can convert your debt to a fixed interest rate, providing more predictability and possibly a lower monthly payment.
Find out exactly how the company's program works. The terms "debt management," "debt consolidation," and "debt negotiation" are often used interchangeably, sometimes in an effort to confuse or deceive people and sometimes quite innocently. They do, however, refer to three different options, so regardless of what a program is called, find out what it is. For more information on the differences between these options, check out how to consolidate loans.
The best credit repair companies offer consumers an easy way to fix bad credit and raise credit scores. Below are the top credit repair services based on BBB ratings and reviews by the BadCredit.org staff. Each service queries major credit bureaus to get your current FICO score and credit report, helps identify which items on your credit history need fixed, and takes action on your behalf to improve your 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.
In 1993, the Financial Counseling Association of America (FCAA) was founded as an alternative to the NFCC. The FCAA focuses on some of the newer technologies and allows counseling by phone and online. Consequently, credit counseling agencies can reach a wider geographical area. CCCS agencies may be a member of the NFCC or the FCAA but aren’t required to operate under either organization.
Once your credit report is updated with positive information, there’s no guarantee your credit score will go up right away or that it will increase enough to make a difference with an application. Your credit score could remain the same—or you could even see your credit score decrease—depending on the significance of the change and the other information on your credit report.
Specializing in providing financial solutions for total unsecured (or tax debts) of $10,000 or greater, the founders of CuraDebt have been in business since 1996 providing financial advice along with creditor negotiations, settlement, and arbitration services to both individuals and small businesses. CuraDebt expanded nationally in 2000 through their web presence and has successfully helped thousands of people escape their debt issues.
As one of the nation's leading non-profit debt management agencies, ACCC offers a way to consolidate unsecured personal debts without having to borrow more money. How does debt consolidation work with ACCC? In short, we work out an arrangement with your creditors whereby you make one consolidated payment to ACCC each month and we then make the monthly payments to your creditors.
Problems with mortgage debt don’t just affect your credit and finances, they can have a very real impact on your life, too. Foreclosure could mean that you’re forced to uproot your family and scramble to find housing. The good news is that there are plenty of paths available to homeowners who are struggling to keep up with their payments. You have two paths you can take. The first path is to prevent foreclosure entirely. The second path is to make a quick and graceful exit when you can’t avoid foreclosure.
First things first, what exactly is debt consolidation? Debt consolidation typically involves combining your different unsecured debts, such as credit card debt, student loans, etc. into a single loan. Instead of paying a separate bill for each credit card and loan every month, you only have one payment for all of them. This makes keeping on top of your bills easier because you don’t have to keep track of when each of these payments is due. The company administering this program will then pay each creditor on your behalf.
Yes they have military pricing for families as a courtesy. I used them before. Reliant has some kind of discount thing going as well, which is good because after they charge you and limit you, you get some $ off which is a relief. The dislikes on this are probably them or their fans. They don't seem to like competition which is understandable since they don't know how to compete anyway. Hope that helps.
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Do you have high-interest credit card debt at 18% or above? You might be able to transfer the balances on those cards to a new one at a much lower interest rate and thus achieve some debt relief. If you can qualify for it, you could get one of those zero interest percent balance transfer credit cards that give you a “time out” of 6 to 18 months during which time you wouldn’t have to pay any interest at all. This means all of your payments would go to reduce your balance and, who knows, maybe you could be completely debt free at the end of those six or 18 months.
Start With Counseling: The first step of a debt consolidation program is counseling. You’ll speak with staff at the service provider to determine whether or not they can help and to lay out a plan. It is a good opportunity to learn about your debt—and to ask about fees and how the organization works. If you get a bad feeling, try a different company.
If your financial problems stem from too much debt or your inability to repay your debts, a credit counseling agency may recommend that you enroll in a debt management plan (DMP). A DMP alone is not credit counseling, and DMPs are not for everyone. Don’t sign up for one of these plans unless and until a certified credit counselor has spent time thoroughly reviewing your financial situation, and has offered you customized advice on managing your money. Even if a DMP is appropriate for you, a reputable credit counseling organization still can help you create a budget and teach you money management skills.
If you see information on your credit reports you believe is incomplete or inaccurate, a good first step is to contact the lender or creditor directly. This is especially helpful if the information involves your name or address. Updating your personal information with lenders and creditors can help ensure the information reported to the three nationwide credit bureaus—Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – is correct.
We would recommend first considering the basic Concord Standard plan, and only upgrading to the Concord Premier if you do not already have an active credit monitoring service (either through a Credit Card provider, or elsewhere). If you’re looking for the top-of-the-line, and you foresee needing to send C&D letters to debt collectors and/or creditors, the PremierPlus package appears to be for you. However, for most, the most expensive plan doesn’t seem to be necessary.
Third, are they willing to get to know you? Debt is a very personal thing and there are a lot of factors that go into an individual’s debt consolidation and repayment plan. There are no effective one-size-fits-all solutions. If your debt consolidation company doesn’t make an effort to get to know you, then they probably have no real intention of helping you at all.
If it's identified during the free credit counseling session that debt settlement is the best route for you, they require at least $10,000 in unsecured debt. The American Debt Enders debt settlement program is FTC compliant. You will enjoy full attorney representation should you get sued by any creditors prior to settlement - at no additional cost. A quick settlement process usually occurs because creditors want to reach an agreement for cash.
The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) assists active-duty military with financial burdens. Under this act, you may qualify for a reduced interest rate on mortgages and credit card debts. It can offer protection from eviction. It can also delay civil court including bankruptcy, foreclosure, or divorce proceedings. To find out if you qualify, contact your local Armed Forces Legal Assistance office.
Yes, even if you have a poor credit record, debt consolidation loans for bad credit are available. While potential lenders will check your credit record, it’s not necessarily a clincher when it comes to their decision about whether or not to offer you a loan. Having said that, “bad credit” means different things to different people, and your ability to get a loan will depend on the specifics of your credit report. Lenders are much more likely to overlook one missed credit repayment a year or two ago than a County Court Judgement (CCJ) within the past month.
The problem is that a lot of people get debt consolidation loans because they have been spending more than they earn. Instead of realizing they’ve been overspending and create a plan to get back on track, they make their financial situation worse by continuing to spend more than they make. In the long run, the consolidation loan only puts them in a worse financial position because they run up new credit card and/or line of credit balances that they have to pay every month in addition to their loan payment. All this debt can also impact their credit and their ability to qualify for another debt consolidation loan.
We’ll work with you to figure out what is the right debt strategy for you to pay off your debts as quickly as possible, for the lowest amount. Freedom Debt Relief has enrolled over 600,000 clients over 15 years, and we have negotiated significant savings for them. Request a free debt evaluation today or call us at 800-910-0065 to find out if our program could help you, too.
I have a Federal Student Loan that was taken out through a Trade School over 28 years ago, when I was 17-18, and it was only for aprox. $2,500. Over the years I have made payments that I could afford at that time. I was never in the position to pay it off. All these years later the loan is now owned by SalleMae and is at almost $14,000. ! I am NEVER going to be able to pay this! My life has not gotten any better.. What can I do?
There is one drawback to the debt relief assistance programs described above. None of them can reduce your debt. They are simply ways to either move your debts from one set of creditors to another or pay down your debt faster. In comparison, we could probably settle your debts for somewhere around 50% of what you owe and provide you with an affordable payment plan that could get you out of debt in 24 to 48 months – depending, of course, on how heavily you are in debt. Start a chat with us or call us today to get more information on debt settlement and why it could be your best alternative for debt relief assistance.
Where are the best cash for gold stores online? Whether you've got old gold hand-me-downs from relatives, or gold items that are too broken or outdated to wear anymore, there's never been a better time to sell your gold for cash. Market prices are high - and who doesn't want some extra money in their pocket, for paying off bills or for that long-awaited vacation?
A generous friend is unlikely to request your credit report or scores but may ask around to see if you’ve made good on similar personal loans. Bad credit doesn’t always come in the form of a three-digit number. It can also come from a reputation you’ve built within your social circle. If you owe people all over town, finding a trusting person could be tough.
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.
Start With Counseling: The first step of a debt consolidation program is counseling. You’ll speak with staff at the service provider to determine whether or not they can help and to lay out a plan. It is a good opportunity to learn about your debt—and to ask about fees and how the organization works. If you get a bad feeling, try a different company.
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.
Bad credit is regarded as any score below 560 on the FICO® scoring system. Your credit score is determined based on a number of factors, including your payment history, credit utilization ratio and length of credit. Bad credit might mean you’ve failed to keep up with payments on-time, maxed out your credit cards or have a negative incident like a foreclosure.
Your credit score is a calculation of your credit risk and how well you use credit. Credit card companies use credit scores to determine creditworthiness. Many creditors use the FICO score. If you have good (670+) or very good (740+) credit, you will qualify for credit cards with better terms. With fair (669 or lower) or poor (579 or lower) credit, you may not qualify for the most attractive card terms. However, there are cards available for those with bad credit.
The top benefit is that you are on a plan that should eliminate debts in 3-to-5 years and you will stop receiving harassing calls from debt collection agencies. Convenience is another plus. You make only one payment a month for your debt payment plan as opposed to numerous payments with numerous deadlines. You receive free educational material that should help you better understand how to manage debt. Finally, you can always call a credit counselor and receive free advice should your situation change.
As an ICFE Certified Credit Repair Specialist –CCRS™ you will teach clients how to obtain their credit reports from the three major CRAs. When the client has his or her credit reports in hand, you will review their credit reports, page-by-page, with the client present. The average credit report review and checking for mistakes takes about an hour and fifteen minutes. Utilize the Credit File Review form on the CCRS™ Resource CD.
When you consolidate your debt with SunTrust you can save money on interest, enjoy a flexible loan amount, choose your own pay-back terms, and more. The benefits you receive depend on what you want to accomplish and how you want to accomplish it, but no matter which debt consolidation solution you choose, you can be more in control of your finances.
Rapid rescoring isn’t something you can do on your own. To use the service, you’ll need to have a lender (often the lender that you’re using to buy a home or refinance) request a rapid credit rescore on your behalf. Your lender has the information needed to determine if a quick update to your credit score will be helpful, as well as relationships with any third-party credit vendors that handle the logistics of updating your credit.
Student loan default isn’t always permanent. Talk with your lender to find out what your student loan repayment options are to bring them out of default. Often, you will have to submit several months of timely payments before your student loan will be considered current. In certain situations, you may want to consider a student loan forgiveness program.
Pay your bills on time: delinquent payments, even if only a few days late, and collections can have a significantly negative impact on your FICO Scores. Use payment reminders through your banks' online portals if they offer the option. Consider enrolling in automatic payments through your credit card and loan providers to have payments automatically debited from your bank account.
Prequalification available — When evaluating you for prequalification, Marcus uses a soft credit inquiry. So prequalifying with Marcus lets you see estimated loan amounts and terms you might qualify for without affecting your credit scores. Just remember that prequalification isn’t a guarantee of loan approval — and if you’re approved for a loan, it may be for different rates and terms than the terms you saw on your prequalification.
To qualify for a promotional APR, you’d usually need to transfer the balance within a few months of opening the card. This type of deal may allow you to pay down your debt without interest charges — however, note that if you don’t pay off the balance by the end of the promotional offer, your remaining balance will be subject to the card’s standard balance transfer APR. Make sure to review your card’s terms and conditions.
Simply put, consolidating debt means you combine all of your debts into one. It’s important to understand that consolidating your debt and paying off your debt are two different things. The main benefit of consolidation isn’t to be out of debt. The benefit with debt consolidation is that paying off your debt becomes a simpler task that could also save you money (you are making fewer payments each month and paying less in interest). Debt consolidation does NOT mean you are paying off your debt. The total amount of your debt will remain the same. There are many ways to consolidate debt, here are a few of the most popular options:
Business Description: Solve a real life problem! Medical billing mistakes cause unnecessary stress and cost to nearly all Americans. Medical Debt Solutions are very passionate for patients who are already overwhelmed with their medical issues, now having to struggle with huge medical debt, which is often full of errors. By auditing your health insurance companies for mistakes, we make a difference. With over 20 years of medical billing, collections and auditing experience we work for patients with concerns about their medical bills. HIPAA Compliant
Debt management is an approach that involves enlisting a credit counselor to help you plan and execute a responsible repayment plan. Once a credit counselor reviews your situation, they will help you develop and stick to a plan for managing all your debt. In most cases, debt management plans will outline how much you'll have to pay each month and for how long—and your counselor will hold you accountable for sticking to your plan. Some debt management plans may also require that you not apply for additional credit for a certain period of time and may want to make your payments on your behalf each month. Different from debt settlement, most debt management credit counseling agencies are nonprofits and charge a low monthly fee for their service.
Age of credit matters to your credit report. Interest rates matter to your bank account. If you have $100 a month to put toward paying down balances (over and above the required monthly payments, of course), focus on paying off high interest accounts. Then prioritize those by the age of the account. Pay off the newest ones first; that way you'll increase the average length of credit, which should help your score, but you'll also be able to more quickly avoid paying relatively high interest.
Change in credit utilization: Your credit utilization ratio, or percentage of available credit you're using, also affects your credit score. The lower your ratio, the better for your credit because this shows you're not using up all of your available credit. If you keep your old credit cards open after a balance transfer, your credit utilization will likely decrease, benefiting your score. However, keep in mind that even a single card with a high utilization rate—in this case, the balance transfer card you used to consolidate debt—might still have a negative effect on your credit. That's another reason to avoid incurring new debt on your balance transfer card and putting your old cards away so you're not tempted to use them.
One change can affect many items on a credit report. It is impossible to provide a completely accurate assessment of how one specific action will affect a person's credit score. This is why the credit risk factors provided with your score are important. They identify what elements from your credit history are having the greatest impact so that you can take appropriate action.
These cards are best for those who expect to carry debt from month to month. Zero-percent cards offer new cardholders a year or more of 0% interest on purchases, making them suitable for a big expense. Low-interest cards might not offer a 0% period, but they have a low ongoing rate that makes them a good long-term option. See our best low-interest and 0% credit cards.
In our survey, Americans estimated that the average U.S. couple would spend a total of $14,081, on average, to prepare to become first-time parents through the first year of parenthood nowadays. Almost half of Americans (46%) say the average couple would spend less than $10,000 in total. In fact, it can cost a lot more than either of those estimates during pregnancy and the first year of parenthood.
With a home equity loan, you borrow against your home. So if you fail to pay back the loan — known as defaulting — the lender has the right to take your home and resell it. With a personal loan from Marcus, you never have to put up your home or personal possessions as collateral for the loan. So, you can pay down your debt and know your stuff is safe. Pretty neat, right? Learn more about home equity vs personal loans.
With a balance transfer card, you will pay less overall interest than if you leave your balance on a card with high interest charges. However, a balance transfer card can be risky if you’re struggling to control debt; you really shouldn’t charge anything else with the new (or old) card until you pay off that balance. You should also be careful not to miss payments, as there can be significant penalties such as losing your introductory APR.
Balance transfer credit cards: A balance transfer card offers a promotional rate, such as 0% APR for a particular number of months (typically 12 to 24). You apply online, give the new credit card company a list of the balances you want to be transferred, and wait to hear back from them. The credit line you are approved for, minus transfer fees charged by the new company, is the maximum amount you can transfer. Transfer fees usually range from 3% and 5% of the balance transferred. Because the card's interest rate will rise dramatically as soon as the promotional period expires, you should plan to pay it off in full before the expiration date.
For example, say the value of your home is $250,000, and your current mortgage balance is $200,000. It would be difficult to find a lender willing to give you a home equity loan on the entire $50,000 of equity on your home ($250,000 value minus $200,000 mortgage). Instead, the most you could borrow from a home equity loan would likely be $12,500 — that’s $212,500 (85% of your home’s $250,000 value) minus your existing $200,000 mortgage.
For free or a nominal fee, there are several apps you can use to help manage your finances in a way that will ultimately result in better credit. Start with your bank’s app so you can keep a close eye on your account balance and activity. Beyond that, consider apps for budgeting, debt management, and credit monitoring. Here are our picks for the best apps by category.
Each time you open your credit report, you should review it closely for errors. In many cases, these errors can be significant. As many as 25% of all credit reports contain errors serious enough to cause denial on a credit application. Responsibly managing your credit will help you achieve a better credit score, but truly fixing bad credit requires that you to focus on the source of the problem.
Debt consolidation may be a good option if you’re dealing with a manageable amount of debt but just feeling overwhelmed by the number of creditors. One good indicator of when debt consolidation is a good idea is if your debt doesn’t exceed 50% of your income. If your debt exceeds 50% of your income, debt consolidation alone may not be enough to help whittle down your total debt.
First off, let’s explore the concept of “debt consolidation” in a little more detail. If you have lots of debts and you’re finding it difficult to keep up with your payments, a debt consolidation loan allows you to merge them together into one monthly loan to lower your payments. Essentially, you’ll simply borrow enough money to pay off all of your existing debts, meaning that you’ll only owe money to one vendor. This can provide you with more breathing room with which to pay your debts, thereby keeping the debt collection process at bay.
Editorial Note: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. Every reasonable effort has been made to maintain accurate information, however all credit card information is presented without warranty. After you click on an offer you will be directed to the credit card issuer's web site where you can review the terms and conditions for your offer.
More complicated cases, such as those involving identity theft, may require more significant credit repair procedures. Some repair organizations also offer resources on credit counseling, debt consolidation, unlimited dispute letters, debt collectors, fraud alerts, avoiding credit repair scams, and other ways to successfully obtain a good credit standing.
You’re entitled to a free credit report if a company takes “adverse action” against you, like denying your application for credit, insurance, or employment. You have to ask for your report within 60 days of receiving notice of the action. The notice includes the name, address, and phone number of the consumer reporting company. You’re also entitled to one free report a year if you’re unemployed and plan to look for a job within 60 days; if you’re on welfare; or if your report is inaccurate because of fraud, including identity theft.
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Try to manage your debt yourself. Even without the help of a credit agency, you can make a household budget, reduce unnecessary expenses, and prioritize your debts. You can also call your creditors to request them to waive late fees, reduce interest rates, and/or work with you on a payment schedule. You can also ask about debt re-aging, also known as rollback or curing. This process can report past-due accounts as current, which can help you avoid delinquent status. Many times creditors will be happy to work with you if you make a good-faith effort to pay them.
In today's world, it's hard to get by without a credit card! Whether you want to rent a car, shop online, or go out to eat, chances are good that it's more convenient with plastic. And, with so many different cards to choose from, there's a perfect card for everyone: no credit history, bad credit history, frugal consumers who don't want annual fees, and rewards program lovers alike can all get a credit card to fit their spending habits.
Debt settlement has proven to be ineffective, and the success rates are very low. A recent study from the American Fair Credit Council (the debt settlement trade organization) found that clients only settle 43 percent of their accounts by month 36 of the process. This means that you may only be able to settle with fewer than half of your creditors. Additionally, the study found that debt settlement clients end up paying more than 78 percent of their original balance due. This means that you would only be getting a 22 percent discount on your debt, and after factoring in the tax consequences your total “savings” will be even lower.
Here’s a good example of when a reputable credit repair service can help you do something you may not be able to accomplish yourself. If you have a collection account that’s been sold to a few different debt collectors, it can appear on your credit report multiple times. That information is accurate but having that one debt dinging your credit score multiple times doesn't meet the “fair” standard that Padawer mentioned.
Ashley Dull is the editor-in-chief of CardRates.com, where she works closely with industry leaders in all sectors of finance to develop authoritative guides, news, and advice articles read by millions of Americans. Her expertise lies in credit cards and rewards programs as well as credit reports and how credit scores affect all aspects of consumerism. She is often asked to serve as an expert source on financial topics for national media outlets, such as CNN Money, MarketWatch, Money Matters, ABC News, and NBC News, and has recurring contributions to several leading finance websites. Connect with Ashley on LinkedIn and Twitter.
If you do business with a debt settlement company, you may have to put money in a dedicated bank account, which will be administered by an independent third party. The funds are yours and you are entitled to the interest that accrues. The account administrator may charge you a reasonable fee for account maintenance, and is responsible for transferring funds from your account to pay your creditors and the debt settlement company when settlements occur.
You can challenge any negative credit listing that is deemed inaccurate, misleading, incomplete, or questionable. You can also have something removed if it is unverifiable or untimely. Specifically, you can target late payments, credit inquiries, collections, charge-offs, bankruptcies, foreclosures, tax liens, repossessions, judgments or any personal information.
You shouldn’t be charged up-front fees. The Telemarketing Sales Rule for Debt Relief Companies stipulates that no debt relief company can charge up-front fees before offering a service. Nonprofits have minimum set-up charge and monthly fees for their debt management program, but those typically are much less expensive than the fees for debt settlement. Beware of any company that has high fees, vague fees or insists upon voluntary fees beyond your means. Those are red flags.