Debt Relief is more important now than ever before. Across the country, millions of people are finding it more and more difficult to meet their financial obligations. As mortgage interest rates rise, Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) payments skyrocket. Credit card late fees continue to climb higher. Lenders keep offering credit to people who are in desperate need of help, but this only prolongs the problem, and often ends up
simply increasing the total debt owed by a person.
Thankfully, there are a number of opportunities available if you find yourself in this situation. Debt Negotiation, Debt Settlement, Repayment plans, and Debt Consolidation are just some of the options you can pursue. However, not all debt relief companies and plans are the same. You need to find the right debt relief solution, and just as importantly, the right debt relief company, to work with in order to address your financial needs.
With all the debt-related offerings available, it can sometimes be confusing when examining the different debt relief programs and companies. When comparing your debt relief options, there are a number of important features you should consider. Some of these include:
Solutions. Does the company only offer one debt relief solution? Or are they well-versed in a number of options? Having a variety of choices means they can find the right debt relief program that fits your specific needs.
Cost. How does the debt relief company get paid? The best ones will earn their money from a percentage of what they save you; that way, they only get paid if you save money.
Dependability. There are many fly-by-night debt relief organizations out there. How long has the company been in business? Are they affiliated with the BBB (Better
Business Bureau)? Is this a company you can trust?
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best debt relief programs available today. We hope these reviews help you in your quest to become debt-free!
Disclosure: We pay our reviewers and we are compensated for our reviews. Click here for details.
National Debt Relief offers a free consultation to examine your financial situation. Based on this analysis, they can offer you a custom debt solution with no upfront fees.
New Customers: 1-888-919-1355
National Debt Relief specializes in creating custom financial solutions for customers with $7,500 or more in unsecured debt. They take a proven, thoughtful approach in developing their personalized debt relief plans, and have helped over 100,000 customers get out of debt since 2007.
The National Debt Relief website is clean and customer-friendly. To start, you simply fill out their online form or call their dedicated debt help line at 1-888-919-1355. You'll discuss your financial situation with one of their certified debt counselors, who will walk you through a free debt analysis. Their staff is knowledgeable and friendly, and together you will create a plan to pay off your
debts for less than
you owe. Best of all, you can get started on your plan with no upfront fees.
The professionals at National Debt Relief are experts at debt settlement and debt negotiation. They have many debt settlement letters proving how they’ve saved their customers thousands of dollars. Of course, the amount of savings can vary from customer to customer based on a variety of factors. Once you create your custom debt relief plan with them, they'll be able to tell you how much you
can expect to save in your situation.
One of the things we liked about National Debt Relief is that they've earned an "A" rating as an accredited business with the BBB. Part of this rating is due to their 100% customer satisfaction guarantee. If you’re not happy with their service, you can cancel at any time without penalties or fees. This is another strong feature that separates National Debt Relief from most other
debt relief companies.
For people suffering under a large amount of debt, National Debt Relief is a fantastic option. Their knowledgeable, friendly approach has a proven track record of success, while their strong BBB rating and satisfaction guarantee confirms their focus on the customer. If you want to get out from under the debt load you're facing, National Debt Relief (1-888-919-1355) is a great place to start.
They earn our highest
CuraDebt counselors provide a free consultation to analyze your debt situation. Based on these results, they can refer you to either commission-based or fixed-fee programs.
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.
On your initial free, confidential consultation, CuraDebt takes the time to understand your current financial situation, as well as your short-term and long-term goals. CuraDebt has access to the top A+ rated professionals and companies in the industry. Based on a thorough understanding of what you want to accomplish, CuraDebt will connect you with
staff that can best help you reach your goals.
In addition to debt negotiation and debt settlement, CuraDebt counselors can help advise regarding debt consolidation plans, debt management plans, consumer credit counseling, tax debt relief, and more. Their skilled professionals are knowledgeable about each of these services, and can review the best options with you.
If you sign up with CuraDebt's online form, make sure you provide a valid phone number and email address. With your initial call, you'll be assigned a friendly, experienced financial counselor to help guide you through your financial options. This person develops a knowledge of your personal financial situation and works with you to create a comprehensive solution to meet your needs.
They also stay in contact with you while you progress through your debt resolution plan, until you've reached your financial goals.
This is a great
benefit, since your goals may change and it's good to have a familiar, knowledgeable expert readily available to answer any questions you may have.
If you have unsecured or tax debts totaling $10,000 or more, CuraDebt is a terrific choice. They are experts in a wide variety of debt relief options and can provide you with a comprehensive solution that meets your needs. With knowledgeable counselors, extensive resources, and proven results, this dependable company shares our highest rating.
Note: CuraDebt services are not available to residents in the following states: CO, CT, GA, IA, ID, IL, KS, ND, NH, SC, VT, WA, WI, WV.
A setup fee to cover the expense of the account activation and a monthly service fee. These fees are dependent on the state in which you live, but do not exceed $50 per month.
CareOne Debt Relief ServicesSM is actually a single face for a group of debt relief providers. They work to match you up with the best debt relief option that fits your particular needs. Working with debt loads as low as $2,500, CareOneSM providers offer an array of debt-fighting solutions.
To become a CareOneSM provider, companies must meet rigorous professional standards, such as provide access to account information 24 x 7; provide monthly statements to customers where appropriate, and meet high customer service expectations.
Filling out the online application at the CareOneSM website is a simple exercise. You enter some personal information about yourself (name, address, phone), and then some information about your current outstanding debt. There is no commitment on your part for filling out the form; it simply gives CareOneSM
providers the information they need to find an appropriate debt program to assist you. After reviewing your free debt analysis, you may elect to enroll in a debt relief plan online or call to speak with an associate.
Enrolling online at the CareOneSM website gives you access to the following:
Free Debt Relief Analysis. Review your debt and understand your options for debt relief.
Online community featuring debt experts.
Free educational resources.
The CareOneSM website is TrustE certified. This helps ensure safe online business practices and privacy considerations. The website is also very professional and easy to navigate. If you have a total debt load between $2,500 and $10,000, CareOneSM providers are an excellent choice.
Fees vary based on the amount of debt and type of program selected. All fees are explained at the time of consultation.
American Debt Enders is a New York based company that started in 2007. They offer free, no obligation, credit counseling to identify the best way to improve your financial situation. Some of their specific services include debt settlement, debt consolidation, and credit repair. The American Debt Enders website offers easy-to-read information that educates you about your options, including the
pros and cons of each program they offer.
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
want to reach an agreement for cash.
For those with debts totaling $5,000 or more, the debt consolidation program at American Debt Enders may be an option. Debt consolidation services negotiate lower interest rates and payments for each unsecured loan to have your credit cards paid off in approximately 5 years.
American Debt Enders is a no-nonsense company that does a good job of both educating the consumer and identifying viable solutions to assist those that have accumulated too much debt. We appreciated the informative website and the helpful nature of the credit counselors we spoke with. If you're struggling with unmanageable debt, American Debt Enders offers programs that are worth considering.
Upgrade to automatic and scheduled payments for $4.99 per month
ReadyForZero is a financial tool that was created in 2011 and since that time has helped customers pay down over $70 million dollars of debt on their own. With the use of a helpful website, ReadyForZero assists individuals with determining how to best pay off loans and debt in the most fast and efficient order possible – saving customers expensive interest charges each month.
ReadyForZero is for those that are currently able to still financially afford the minimum payments they have plus pay a little extra. Using the simple logic that the highest interest rate loans should be paid off first, ReadyForZero quickly calculates which credit cards to pay off first until all debt is gone. You may also link your bank account details to the ReadyForZero website to conveniently pay online and watch
your debt shrink. ReadyForZero uses bank level security and doesn't sell your information to any marketers.
Helpful tools at ReadyForZero include mobile access, one convenient location with all of your outstanding debt information, options to set up reoccurring payments, and reporting options. You'll find ReadyForZero, ReadyForZero Plus and ReadyForZero Plus Biweekly options. Each membership varies in services available. The ReadyForZero is a free service whereas, the other two charge a monthly $4.99 subscription fee.
The biweekly option also charges a one time set- up fee but allows customers to align biweekly payments with paychecks. The theory behind the biweekly payment options is that by payment 26 payments per year instead of 12 you pay down principal balance faster and reduce interest charges. ReadyForZero works with unsecured, secured debt, students loans, and more.
The benefits of the ReadyForZero approach over other more traditional debt settlement is that you don’t hurt your credit during the process and the fee is nominal in comparison to the typical 20 to 25% of enrollment charges found at most debt relief companies. Also, ReadyForZero doesn't have a minimum requirement of debt.
If you are able to currently make your minimum payments and have a little extra left to direct towards paying off your debts, ReadyForZero is a helpful and affordable tool. We liked the website and felt it was easy to navigate and very informational. If you’re looking for a tool to assist with improving your financial picture, ReadyForZero is a great option.
Savvy Money is unlike most debt relief companies. After asking some simple questions it determines online what direction you need to take to pay off your debt.
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.
For those that can afford the minimum monthly payment, Savvy Money promises a no-nonsense online program that guides you on how much, when, and where to make your monthly payments. Essentially, you pay off the highest interest rate cards first.
When we entered some test information, they lumped in our mortgage payments and we were a little surprised to see that we wouldn't be debt free for another 18 years. However, with credit card debt being our biggest concern, we recalculated by removing our mortgage information to give us more of a feel of when we could anticipate being free of credit card payments.
The charge for the program is $14.95 per month and includes online access to a colorful, easy to read payment guide to help you with getting on top of your outstanding debt.
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.
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
To initiate the debt analysis process with Franklin a customer must simply complete a quick questionnaire and await a call. Another option is to gather statements and records of unsecured debt and call Franklin directly to speak to someone. If you agree with the debt settlement plan, which is outlined by Franklin, you will be asked to stop making payments to creditors and forward all moneys to them to be placed in a trust
account. They in turn will accumulate the cash and wait for the creditors to become anxious to settle your debt. In the meantime, interest and penalties occur on any of your outstanding debt, and Franklin Debt Relief takes their cut from your monthly payment.
One of our concerns with Franklin is their customer service team. In our first call we spoke with someone outside of the USA that seemed to not only have trouble speaking and understanding English but had trouble with the company policies. It was a little unsettling that Franklin Debt Relief outsources their customer service team to individuals that may or may not be on the up and up with our highly sensitive financial
Overall, we liked the information on the site but found the lack of details to be a little unsettling. We also couldn't confirm what states Franklin works with and had some concerns with their customer service team. As such, we suggest you choose a company that is more upfront about all aspects of settling your debt.
Debt Consolidation Care has a lot of debt relief information to share but unfortunately does so in a disorganized and unprofessional and outdated manner. After much research we found that Debt Consolidation Care is a Nevada based company in business since 2004. They specialize in debt settlement and debt consolidation.
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.
Debt Consolidation Care also offers forums and poor quality videos to help consumers become more informed about their debt relief options. We found the videos to be unprofessional.
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.
We couldn't find any reason to work with Debt Consolidation Care. We were disappointed with their busy website, the expertise of the owner, cost disclosures, and program highlights. We would recommend you choose a higher ranked company that is more educational and informative.
Fast Track has been in business since 1998 and offers a single service, for business or personal debt, known as their debt settlement service. This Florida based company offers a bright attractive website but we had trouble finding the nuts and bolts of what they actually provide and what fees we could expect to pay.
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.
Similar to other programs, Fast Track asks that you stop making payments and direct those funds each month to an account with them where your funds will build for settlement negotiations and also to pay their expenses. We found numerous counts of Fast Track unsuccessfully being able to negotiate down debts but still taking thousands of dollars in fees. We would have liked to have seen more of a guarantee or customer satisfaction
policy. We also found several results of customer service staff that weren't helpful at Fast Track, and were unable to answer pressing questions.
Overall, the single service offering at Fast Track Debt Relief will most likely not fit everyone's needs. They unfortunately lack the forthcoming information we like to see with debt relief companies where a lot of trust in placed in making positive efforts toward improving someone's finances.
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.
There are a number of non-profit organizations currently offering debt management services, which include both debt consolidation and debt settlement. Some companies may offer both, while others may specialize in one or the other. In order to be eligible for either of these programs, you must be able to show that there is not sufficient income to pay your bills as they currently require. If this sounds like
your situation, debt relief may be just a phone call away.
If you are receiving calls from your creditor's collections department, speak with them openly and honestly regarding your situation. Once you have signed up with a debt management company specializing in either debt consolidation or debt settlement, inform your creditor(s) of the name and telephone number of the company. In most cases, this will stop the collection calls while the creditor verifies the information
that you provided. By explaining the fact that you are working with a company who will be submitting a proposal on your behalf, most creditors will accept this information as your good faith desire to repay your debts. As the telephone begins to stop ringing, you will gain some much needed relief from the stress associated with being constantly reminded of your financial woes.
When a debt management company sends your proposed new monthly payments, interest rates and/or debt settlement offers, the creditor(s) will either accept or deny the offer. Within weeks, you will be informed of their decision and will have the ability to call the debt management agency to remain updated with creditor's responses. After 1-3 months of consecutive payments made through a debt relief agency, most
creditors will begin to list your account as current with credit reporting agencies.
It is recommended that consumers check their credit report periodically in order to maintain the accuracy of the content and to prevent them from being a victim of identity theft. Each year, you are entitled to receive a free copy of your credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies, including Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. If you enroll in a debt consolidation or debt settlement program,
it's a good idea to check your credit report prior to enrollment and then again after six months. When you compare the two timeframes, you will likely see a great improvement as creditors begin to receive their payments and update your credit reports accordingly. If any of the information is inaccurate, you can file a dispute with the credit reporting agency and get the corrected version updated in a short amount of time.
Dealing with debt is not an easy task. In fact, it can be a very exhausting experience. Once you have faced your finances and made an important step toward eliminating your debt, your life will begin to improve right along with your credit score.
What Is Debt Consolidation?
“Drowning in debt? Give us a call today and we’ll get those creditors off your back for good!”
We’ve all heard the claims from debt-consolidation companies. The catchy television and radio commercials – promising to remove debt and make the endless phone calls from creditors stop – can be enticing for those who truly are drowning in debt. Desperate people can and do fall for these pitches every day, and end up with worse financial troubles than those with which they started.
The Better Business Bureau warns consumers against debt consolidation companies which make the following claims:
The ability to remove all debt
Warns clients against communicating directly with creditors
Offers to pay down debt for an upfront fee from the client
Asks client to pay a percentage of the total amount of debt being eliminated
The ability to remove negative marks on a client’s credit report
The ability to prevent bankruptcy
For every bogus debt consolidation company out there, a legitimate service exists that truly can help consumers who are overwhelmed with debt. But how do consumers tell the difference between a valid company and one that is just out to scam them?
To answer that question, a consumer must first understand what debt consolidation is and what it is not.
The way true debt consolidation is supposed to work is to take multiple sources of debt – such as from credit cards, mortgages, utilities and loans – and combines them into one manageable monthly payment. Properly combining debt can allow the consumer to still meet their financial obligations without draining their bank account each month.
True debt consolidation also should provide certain key benefits to clients who use a debt consolidation service.
One of the biggest benefits to debt consolidation is the reduction of interest rates on loans and credit cards. A big reason consumers get behind on payments and are unable to ever truly pay off debt is because they often are saddled with high interest rates. Even if they make the minimum payment each month, they may never realistically pay off the full amount due to compounding interest rates from month to
A quality debt consolidation service will make it a top priority to combine all debt and reduce the overall interest rate being applied to the monthly repayment process. If the company you have chosen does not offer this tactic, then they are not a company with which it is worth doing business.
Debt consolidators also should be able to combine all sources of debt into one monthly payment, and reduce or eliminate all late penalties and fees for their clients.
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