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If you're facing an ever-increasing pile of "past due" notices, threatening letters from the IRS, and credit card statements where you're barely paying the interest, you're not alone. With unemployment rates reaching record highs, more people are struggling to make ends meet. The average American carries over $90,000 in debt, from student loans to mortgages, and it's easy to get in over your head.
Debt relief is the solution you need. It may sound like a gimmick or a scam, but rest assured that there are many reputable services that can help you reduce the amount of money you owe and help you get back on track financially. These programs typically work by negotiating on your behalf with credit card companies and other debtors, through strategies like debt settlement and repayment plans. Some of the best debt relief services work closely with you to create a solid plan for moving forward too, helping you to make sound financial decisions and hopefully avoid needing such measures in the future!
Friday, January 28th
Since 2008, National Debt Relief has helped more than 100,000 families and individuals to pay off over $1 billion in unsecured debts. Their debt relief formula works primarily by negotiating with creditors to settle accounts for less than you originally owed.
No-pressure, free consultation
Step one is to sign up for a free initial consultation. To do this, you simply complete an online form or call their dedicated help line at 1-888-919-1355. If you use the online form, you'll select how much debt you have from the drop-down box, then enter your name, address and phone number. You'll get a call back from one of National Debt Relief's certified debt counselors; they'll work with you to analyze your debt, review your budget, and talk about all of your available options. If you qualify for their debt relief program, you'll find out how much you'd pay and can enroll right away or take some time to think about it. There's no pressure to sign up for a plan here.
Fees based on how much they save you
How much does it cost to use National Debt Relief for your debt relief program? Of course, your fees will vary and are only paid once your debt is settled - but they typically wind up being around 15-25% of the total debt you enrolled with. Most of NDR's programs take between 24-48 months to complete, while they negotiate with creditors on your behalf. If you enroll, you'll pay a flat monthly fee (based on that 15-25% of your enrolled debt we mentioned) and those funds are held in reserve until each debt is settled. NDR's portion is then paid out from there.
Do you meet the criteria?
In order to qualify for NDR's debt relief program, you should have at least $7,500 in unsecured debt. Like most debt relief companies, some debts are not eligible for this kind of program. For example, if you're trying to get help with child support, back taxes, mortgages, auto loans, insurance policies, or bail bonds, you may find a better solution with a different type of loan.
See what others have saved
Want to see for yourself the kinds of debt reduction National Debt Relief has been able to get for its clients? Just look on the Proven Results page, where you can review a variety of customer's experiences and see just how much NDR was able to save them. Several client accounts with American Express were reduced by 25-66%, and with Discover, they were reduced 18-62%.
Impressively, National Debt Relief offers their service with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If they're unable to settle any of your accounts, or if you're unsatisfied with their service prior to having any of your debts settled, you can cancel anytime with no penalties or fees.
30,000 5-star reviews
The BBB has given National Debt Relief their highest possible rating as well as accreditation, and we found almost 30,000 5-star reviews from very happy clients. Across the board, NDR's dedicated representatives are described as helpful and friendly, and they make the entire process feel much less scary than clients had imagined.
Pay much less on what you owe
Why take out a loan to consolidate your debts if you can reduce or eliminate them completely? If you like the idea of paying less in the long run and getting out from under the mountain of debt you're living in, National Debt Relief is the first company to turn to. Their advisors have helped tens of thousands of people just like you to reduce their monthly payments and finally get out of debt. National Debt Relief (1-888-919-1355) earns our highest rating among all of the available options for debt relief.
Credit.org is one of the longest-standing resources for financial education and debt solutions, including debt relief Founded in 1974 and approved by many organizations and agencies, including the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), this is an excellent resource if you need help taking control of your finances.
Over five million coaching sessions logged
Credit.org has completed more than five million coaching sessions, with a team of more than 50 professionals offering help and advice. You can get started either by calling Credit.org's toll-free number or by filling out your information online. If you go the online route, you'll be taken to a page with several resources you can use before you speak with a counselor. These include a debt journal and other tools to analyze your situation.
Free debt analysis
Your call with a coach will involve a debt analysis, to get a picture of what you owe and your current budget. At the end of that analysis, the financial coach will talk with you about all of the debt relief options that apply to your situation. If there's a strategy that appeals to you, you can enroll with a Credit.org partner and get started on your journey to financial freedom.
Mostly free, with low fees for some services
And guess what - most of Credit.org's coaching is free! Yes, you read that right: you can get financial education, budgeting and counseling sessions, pre-purchase advice, foreclosure prevention counseling, and default rental counseling at no charge. All other fees depend on the service you use and the state you live in, but even those fees can be reduced or waived due to financial hardship. It's nice to have even a ballpark estimate of anticipated expenses, so we poked around and found that some clients pay $35 as an enrollment fee and $20 in monthly costs when enrolled in an ongoing debt relief plan or other strategy for managing their finances.
Clients really appreciate everything that Credit.org has to offer. Financial topics can be sensitive and difficult to discuss, and people say that their coaches were friendly and knowledgeable with no pressure to choose any particular solution to their debt issues. The Better Business Bureau gives Credit.org an "A+" rating and accreditation, and there were zero complaints registered with the BBB in the year leading up to this review.
Long-standing, trustworthy reputation
With Credit.org, you really can get something for nothing. If you're looking for honest, objective advice about your financial situation - even if that doesn't wind up with a debt relief plan - then this is a great option. Their fees are reasonable and their reputation for excellent service spans almost half a century. Credit.org is one of our preferred resources for debt relief and other options for improving people's finances.
Upstart is a company founded by former Google employees that utilizes artificial intelligence (AI) to help everyday people unlock mobility and opportunity through affordable credit. They can offer higher approval rates from their bank partners, which translates into a greater chance you'll be accepted for a loan.
More than just your credit history
The application process with Upstart starts out fairly standard: you select the purpose of your loan, the amount you'd like to borrow, your contact information, and your birthdate. From there, the questions get a little more unique compared with other personal loan providers. What's your highest level of education? Where did you go to school, what did you study and when did (or will) you graduate? How much money do you currently have in bank accounts and investments?
Upstart asks these types of questions because they calculate risk differently from most lenders, taking your educational background and earning potential into account when determining your eligibility for a loan. Although educational information is collected as part of Upstart's rate check process, neither Upstart nor its bank partners have a minimum educational attainment requirement in order to be eligible for a loan. As their About Us page says, "four in five Americans have never defaulted on a credit product, yet less than half have access to prime credit. With a smarter credit model, lenders could approve almost twice as many borrowers, with fewer defaults." In other words, Upstart is trying to make consolidation loans - and credit in general - accessible to more people and at a lower risk to the financial institutions that provide it.
There are some eligibility requirements here than you might not find elsewhere. For example, you should have a minimum credit score of 580 - however, if you don't have sufficient credit history to produce a score, you can still qualify for a personal loan through Upstart. You also can't have any bankruptcies or accounts currently in collections, past due or delinquent, or that have been wholly charged-off in the last three years. You'll be found ineligible for a loan if you have more than 6 inquiries on your credit report in the last 6 months - but that doesn't count any that are related to mortgages, vehicle loans, or student loans. Again, this is part of how Upstart measures risk, so that they can make consolidation loans available to more people.
Loans up to $50,000
Depending on your state of residence, you could receive a loan anywhere from $1,000 to $50,000. Your loan amount will be determined based on your credit, income, and certain other information provided in your loan application. Not all applicants will qualify for the full amount. Loans are not available in West Virginia or Iowa. The minimum loan amount in MA is $7,000. The minimum loan amount in Ohio is $6,000. The minimum loan amount in NM is $5100. The minimum loan amount in GA is $3,100.
Loan terms and fees
All loans funded through this service have a repayment term of either 3 or 5 years. While they advertise a range of interest rates, we found them to be very competitive with other lenders in the industry. Upstart's origination fee ranges from 0-8% of the loan amount, and is deducted from the proceeds of your loan. In other words, if you request a $10,000 personal loan and you're charged an origination fee of 3%, you'll get $9,700 deposited to your bank account.
Get your money fast
If your application is approved and you accept your loan terms, you could have your loan money deposited by the next business day. If you accept your loan by 5pm EST (not including weekends or holidays), you will receive your funds the next business day. Loans used to fund education related expenses are subject to a 3 business day wait period between loan acceptance and funding in accordance with federal law.
Very high customer satisfaction rate
Upstart seems to be doing quite well with customer satisfaction. The company has an "A" rating and accreditation from the Better Business Bureau, but even more impressive is the fact that with over 8,500 client reviews, 99% of them gave Upstart a rating of 4 or 5 stars. Consumers said that their experience was simple, easy, and straightforward, and many people expressed their delight at having loan funds deposited within a day.
There's a lot to like about Upstart. It's refreshing to see a lender that looks at your big picture as a borrower, including your education and employment potential when determining if you're a good candidate for a personal loan. And, there's no arguing with Upstart's loyal fanbase of happy clients. We're very impressed with what we see here, and we're sure you will be too.
CuraDebt got its start in 1996 in Irvine, California and has helped people nationwide with a variety of financial issues: debt relief, tax resolution, and many others. Currently headquartered in Hollywood, Florida (not California!), the company offers a free initial consultation with no obligation to sign up for paid services. More than 180,000 people have successfully used CuraDebt to take care of their unsecured debts.
Many different types of debt are eligible
What kind of debts do you have? CuraDebt can probably help with most of them. Their list of debts available for relief includes credit cards, IRS debt and back taxes, personal loans and lines of credit, business debts, medical bills, and collections/repossessions. In special cases, they can also help with lawsuits and student loans. The only kinds of debt that CuraDebt can't help you manage are utility bills, mortgage or home loans, auto loans and government loans.
Helpful info after registering
To see what CuraDebt can do for you, click the button that says "Get a free savings estimate" . Then use the slider to indicate your debt amount - it'll need to be at least $5,000 to be eligible, even though the slider goes down as low as $1,000 - and then select your state of residence. Provide your name, email address and phone number, and you'll be taken to a helpful intro video that explains more about their debt relief program. We like that potential clients have a hassle-free way to get some background information before speaking with a credit counselor. Settle in, though, because the video is 30 minutes long!
Call directly or wait to be contacted
From there, you can either call the toll-free number provided, or wait for a CuraDebt senior counselor to reach out to you. You'll receive a free consultation to review your financial situation. CuraDebt recommends that you have your credit score available prior to your phone meeting - which you can get through the link on the CuraDebt site. You also may be able to access if online from your bank account or a credit card provider.
Variety of debt relief solutions
Your advisor will work with you to design a personalized solution to your debt. The strategies used by CuraDebt may include debt consolidation, debt negotiation, debt settlement, and tax relief, depending on your circumstances.
No fees until debts are settled
What will it cost? CuraDebt charges no fees until a debt has been settled, and those will depend on how much debt is consolidated or discharged. Generally speaking, however, you can expect a savings of approximately 50%, with a net savings of around 30% after CuraDebt's fees are deducted. The process usually takes anywhere from 24-48 months to complete.
Lots of praise from clients
CuraDebt continues to have a positive reputation. Although the BBB hasn't yet accredited the company, they still give it an "A+" rating. Even more impressive is the nearly perfect 4.97 out of 5 stars average across all of the reviews left at the BBB. People have praised their counselors as friendly and knowledgeable, and that the debt relief process went exactly as expected with the promised results. Consumer reviews elsewhere confirmed that impression, with over 900 5-star reviews and lots of support for CuraDebt's services.
Check out how much people saved
If you really want to have some fun, go to the Results tab and browse the actual letters from clients to see their settlement amounts. Would you like to only pay $1,267 on a balance of $6,332.61 at Capital One? How about $1,244.49 on a balance of $12,444.96 at Chase Bank? We would! Those results are legitimate and can go a long way towards helping you get on solid financial ground again.
Smaller-than-average service area
One downside is that CuraDebt isn't available to all residents of the US. Since our last review, more states were added to the list of areas they don't serve, going from 11 up to 16. Those states include CT, HI, ID, KS, LA, ME, MT, NH, NV, OR, SC, TN, UT, VT, WV and WY. Unfortunately, that means that now there are even fewer people who can take advantage of everything CuraDebt has to offer. There are other debt relief companies that work in all 50 states.
Super option - if your state is eligible
CuraDebt has everything you could want in a debt relief company. They're transparent with all of the ins and outs of their service and have a proven track record for helping clients with almost every type of debt. It's too bad that with their limited area, not everyone can take advantage of this fantastic debt relief program.
Liberty Lending, founded in 2015, is relatively new to the lending industry - but they're making a big splash. Based in New York, this company aims to simplify the debt consolidation loan process. They offer an easy-to-complete online application, loans with fixed rates and no prepayment penalties, and the ability to access funding in as little as one business day once a loan is approved by them and accepted by the borrower.
Focus on getting out of debt
Right out of the gate, the process of getting a loan through Liberty Lending is a little different than their competitors. When you start by clicking on the "Get my offer" button, the first question you're asked is how much debt you have, ranging from $3,500 to $40,000. Most lenders ask how much you'd like to borrow first. This is one sign that shows their focus is on helping customers get out of a debt problem they already have.
Soft pull of credit history required
From there, you're asked to provide your name, email address and phone number; the following screen requires your street address, date of birth, and Social Security number. You'll also have to specify your primary source of income and net amount, as well as your monthly housing payments. Finally, you choose a password and authorize Liberty to run your credit report. When you submit your application, Liberty Lending says that your credit score will not be impacted by getting a consolidation loan quote.
We were a little disappointed that Liberty Lending provides no detailed information about their loans until after you complete their quote process. For example - what are their lending limits? What are their typical interest rates and repayment terms? While they do state that all their loans are fixed-rate and don't have prepayment penalties, we wish they shared more information upfront so we would know what to expect.
More digging gets more information
Since we didn't have much information to go on from the Liberty Lending website, we rolled up our sleeves and went to work on other avenues. We were able to confirm that Liberty Lending provides loans up to $40,000, and their payback range terms anywhere from 2 years to 5 years out. On average, their interest rates may be a little higher than some other lenders - but their rates will vary according to your personal circumstance, and you're guaranteed they won't increase.
Solid reputation with customers
We were impressed with the reputation that Liberty Lending has garnered. The company maintains an "A+" grade and accreditation from the Better Business Bureau, and we found only three registered complaints within the last 3 years. There were numerous 4- and 5-star reviews on the BBB listing for Liberty Lending: customers said that their representatives were courteous and knowledgeable, that the loan process was smooth, and that they had no trouble getting help whenever they needed it.
Strong choice, with room to improve
Liberty Lending has built a very good reputation in a short period of time. In the lending industry, that's pretty impressive. We wish there was more transparency with regards to their loans and process, but still this is a solid company with a strong customer focus. If you're in search of a loan to help relieve your debt, Liberty Lending is worth your consideration.
LendingTree is part of a large financial brand family that also includes Ovation Credit Services, Student Loan Hero, and QuoteWizard. Each brand focuses on specific financial services, and LendingTree gives you access to borrowing options for mortgages, auto loans, and, of course, loans to help you get out of debt.
Broad database of lenders
One nice thing about LendingTree is their extensive lender database. This site makes it extremely easy to learn about any lenders who make you a loan offer, from company history to hundreds (if not thousands) of client reviews. That's important, because LendingTree has financial partners you've probably never heard of - and reading through their detailed reviews can give you a good picture of who might be financing your loan.
Basic application process
How do you get started with finding a personal loan through LendingTree? That's easy: first choose the purpose of your loan, such as debt relief or a major purchase, in the dropdown box, move the slider to the amount you're requesting, and indicate how quickly you need the money (anywhere from "within 48 hours" to "unsure, just browsing rates" ). From there, you'll be asked for your address, your credit score range, your birthdate (to verify your identity), pre-tax income, and several other basic questions.
MyLendingTree account benefits optional
Pay attention to the last step of the account-creation process: you'll be asked if you want to include a free My LendingTree account, which comes with complimentary credit monitoring and monthly score reports, dark web monitoring, and more. You'll automatically be enrolled into this service if you don't uncheck the box.
See up to five lender offers
The next screen will provide you with any loans offered by LendingTree partners, assuming your information was able to be verified. Click on the loan offer that best meets your needs, complete any lender requirements, and you're on your way to getting your funds. If you aren't matched with any loans, you can expect to get recommendations for budgeting tools and other debt relief services.
Thousands of customer 5-star reviews
LendingTree has a strong positive reputation over more than two decades in operation, including accreditation and an "A+" rating from the Better Business Bureau. Out of nearly 10,000 independently-verified reviews, the company received over 7,600 perfect five-star ratings from customers.
It's not all princes and fairy tales
Be aware that this platform has its share of complaints, too. Many customers have reported a spam-like volume of calls, emails, and texts throughout the day. Some report still getting calls for weeks or months after applying for a loan through LendingTree. We think they can do a better job setting limits with their funding partners with regards to customer contact.
Strong choice for getting multiple loan offers
If you want an easy way to compare loan offers from multiple financial institutions, LendingTree is a strong choice. The service is simple to use and with their lending network they have a good chance to offer you a loan that fits your needs.
SoFi wants you to get your money right, reaching financial independence so you can make your ambitions a reality. And, with over two million members and $50 billion in funded loans, this service is absolutely helping people like you accomplish that. While you can definitely use SoFi just for a debt relief loan and nothing else, you may want to take advantage of their additional products and tools that can give you guidance for attacking your debt with a plan, building and maintaining a safety net, putting your money to work, and even saving for retirement or other goals.
A few unique questions in application process
To apply for a loan from SoFi, you first enter your name, state of residence and email address to create an account on their site. Next, you put in the desired loan amount (from $5,000 to $100,000) and click on the category that matches your intended use of the funds. We like the next question: "What monthly payment amount works with your budget?" You can enter any number between $150 and $500, or skip it altogether. The remaining questions help SoFi to verify your identity; otherwise, you'll be asked for your Social Security Number if they can't match your credit history to the details you provided.
Big perks you won't find elsewhere
SoFi has some huge perks compared with many financial institutions offering debt relief loans. Their interest rates are generally lower than what you'll find elsewhere, with an added deduction if you set your repayments to automatically come out of your bank account each month. Better yet, the APRs on SoFi personal loans have zero origination fees - good luck finding that with other lenders!
Look for sign-up bonus promotions
There was even a promotion in place at the time of our most recent visit to SoFi: a $10 credit for simply checking our offered rate on a loan, and a $300 cash bonus if our loan was funded. Hey, if credit cards can offer sign-up bonuses, why not providers of loans too?
Unemployment protection benefit
Our favorite SoFi benefit, though, is their Unemployment Protection program. If you lose your job through no fault of your own and your loan is in good standing at that time, you can apply to have your loan repayments suspended for three months at a time, for a total of 12 months over the life of the loan. SoFi's Career Advisory Group will even help you look for a new job.
Disappointing downturn in overall customer satisfaction
However, we were disappointed to find out that in the time that has passed since our last evaluation, several of SoFi's rivals have done a better job of keeping clients happy. In fact, even though the BBB gives them an "A+" rating, Sofi's listing there says "this business receives a high volume of complaints" . That's not good. Looking at nearly 2,500 independently-verified reviews elsewhere, SoFi comes in with a disappointing 3.2 out of 5-star average, and less than 80% of their reviewers would give the service a perfect score.
Customer service needs improvement
The biggest complaints we found described frustrating challenges getting ahold of anyone in SoFi's customer service department - and the resulting long timeframes for resolving issues. If you need funds quickly, or if you have any problems with your personal loan, you want to know you'll get a prompt, professional response. Unfortunately, SoFi has some work to do in that regard.
Still worth considering
SoFi has a lot to offer: you'll find low interest rates on your loan, and no other lender we found works with you so supportively if you lose your job. But, there's more to the story, and customer complaints tell a tale that leaves us feeling more than a little disappointed. We really hope to see an upswing in customer satisfaction in the near future, because SoFi has previously been a great option for loans.
SuperMoney provides a comparison platform across a wide variety of financial services, from debt relief loans to banking. In business since 2013, this company has helped people make smart decisions with their money by providing objective and transparent information. SuperMoney has been featured by Huffpost, Forbes, Yahoo! Finance, Business Insider, and many other publications.
Your information is kept private
One aspect of SuperMoney that we absolutely love is their promise not to sell applicant's data off to the highest bidder. If you've applied for a loan through a referral platform before, you're already familiar with the endless number of solicitations that followed: phone, text, email, even regular mail. The way SuperMoney avoids all of that is by integrating their site directly with their lending partners, letting you compare your options with full transparency and zero pressure.
Just over a dozen network lenders
Another big plus is that there's no guessing who SuperMoney includes in their financial network: most of the lenders are listed right on their main page. The full list of lending partners is available on SuperMoney's Personal Loans-specific page, and you can read client reviews without even applying. They don't have as much borrower feedback as some of their rival referral services, but it's still a good resource.
Simple, standard application questions
Your process begins when you click on "Get Competing Offers" and choose the category that best fits the intended purpose of your loan, from everyday expenses to major life events and debt relief. Move the slider to indicate the amount you owe or would like to borrow (depending on the loan category you selected), then use the next slider to enter your credit score. The next questions ask you about your employment status, whether you own or rent, name/address/birthdate, and finally your Social Security Number (all to verify your identity and do a soft pull of your credit history). Before you're taken to your offers page, you'll need to create an account with SuperMoney.
Will still have to complete application with chosen lender
Once you've reached your loan offers, you're given the option to finalize the application process on the lender's website. That could mean you have to take a few extra steps to complete your loan application, as opposed to going directly to one of those partners' sites, but the additional legwork might be worth it if it lets you compare your options first.
Limited - but positive overall - client feedback
We're not sure why SuperMoney couldn't be found in the listings at the Better Business Bureau, given how long the company has been around. We were able to find just over 200 reviews elsewhere, and an impressive 96% of those gave the service a perfect five-star rating. Granted, not all of those reviews were specific to consolidation loans, but it's a great sign that SuperMoney delivers what it promises.
Good for doing research, better options out there
Should you use SuperMoney to do research before choosing a debt relief loan? Sure, why not? You'll get valuable information that might help you pick a loan and a lender that's right for you. Compared with other lenders, however, SuperMoney doesn't have a reputation that's as well-established. Plus, many of their lending partners are also referral platforms, which could have you jumping through all of the same hoops a second time. SuperMoney is good - but not quite great. We hope to see continued progress from them in the loans marketplace in the future.
LendingClub has experienced some big changes over the last few years. Originally created as a peer-to-peer platform, where individual and business investors could choose to fund consumer loans (hence the name LendingClub), this source of loans now operates like a traditional financial institution. All funding is provided by LendingClub's own bank by the same name, making the loan application extremely streamlined when compared with platforms that refer you to multiple lenders at once.
No surprises in the application process
To get a debt relief loan through LendingClub, start by entering your desired loan amount (between $1,000 and $40,000) and selecting the loan's purpose in the dropdown box, then click on "Check Your Rate" . Indicate whether you're applying alone or with a co-applicant, your date of birth, and your total annual income. Finally, enter your first and last name, plus your address, and LendingClub will try to verify your credit report. If it can't do so based on the information provided, you'll be asked for your Social Security Number.
Expect origination fees and just-average interest rates
What can you anticipate if you are matched with a loan? That largely depends on your details: how much you're trying to borrow, your credit history, your income, and so forth. All loans funded through LendingClub have a minimum repayment term of at least three years, giving you ample time to repay it. Interest rates here are fairly average, but vary widely. You should also expect origination fees ranging from 3% to 6%, which may or may not be rolled into the total cost of the loan or deducted from the payout deposited to your bank account. LendingClub's fine print at the bottom of the personal loans page said that their average loan has an origination fee of 5% and an APR of 15.95%.
Still being re-evaluated by the BBB
How about LendingClub's reputation? It's not really an apples-to-apples comparison, given how drastically their business model has changed since our last evaluation. However, a few items stand out and are worth keeping in mind. The company used to have an "A" rating from the Better Business Bureau, but their listing during our most recent check with the BBB was simply "Not Rated" . That indicates that LendingClub's new structure is still under consideration. More reassuringly, their sole lender WebBank received both accreditation and an "A+" from the BBB: you shouldn't encounter any issues with fraud or other problems if you pursue a consolidation loan through the LendingClub website.
Plenty of recent, positive customer comments
We also followed the link on the LendingClub site to see some of the more than 57,000 independently-verified reviews posted there, so that we could see what their most recent comments indicated about the new-and-theoretically-improved service. Most of the clients gave LendingClub a rating of 4 or 5 stars, and we were happy to see that a decent number of those came from repeat customers.
Wait and see
LendingClub appears to be on the right track, having made quite a few changes to their service that have gotten lots of positive feedback from borrowers. But, until the company has an actual rating from the BBB, we hesitate to give LendingClub a rating higher than average. Reputation matters, and while LendingClub seems to have fixed some of the issues that they had in the past, we'd like to see confirmation from the Better Business Bureau too. You should be fine if you choose a debt relief loan here, but we encourage you to consider other options first.
Payoff is part of the Happy Money brand, and the service works with eight lending partners who originate loans. You would use the loan to pay off all of your debts as a DIY consolidation strategy; Payoff doesn't offer credit counseling or any other services as part of their program. While you can use your loan in any way you choose, Payoff says that their loans are "specifically designed to help you eliminate high-interest credit card debt" , and that doing so may increase your credit score by 40 points or more.
Minimum credit score and other requirements
To qualify for a debt relief loan through Payoff, you'll need to meet some basic criteria. Those include a FICO score of 640+ and no current delinquencies. Your debt-to-income ratio, age of credit history, and your credit utilization will also be taken into account, but Payoff doesn't give any specifics on what they're looking for. You will also need to provide your SSN and have a valid checking account.
Not a "get money fast" service
The initial online application is fast. You can check your rate without impacting your credit score and see what loan offers might be made to you. Because you're being handed off to one of Payoff's lenders, the rest of the process is on their time. Expect a lengthy process of income verification, submission of documents, and other paperwork before your loan is funded. In other words, this is not a "need cash now" option.
Loan amounts and rates are just average
You can borrow anywhere from $5,000 to $40,000 from Payoff's partner lenders, depending on your creditworthiness and ability to repay the loan. If you wind up being approved for a loan through Payoff, you can expect interest rates competitive with other lenders. Keep in mind, you'll probably be paying less than the rate on your credit cards.
BBB gives them an A+
Payoff gets extremely mixed reviews. On the positive side, the company earned a high rating and accreditation from the Better Business Bureau. We found clients who said that their experience with Payoff was smooth, the interest rate was better than they were quoted by other lenders, and they were able to borrow more than they expected.
Too many negative client reviews
However, we found more than a few reviews that slammed Payoff for giving preapprovals with one interest rate and then offering a loan with a much higher APR. Frequent complaints described delayed paperwork, missed recording of payments, and overall poor communication. The most common comment was that applicants jumped through endless hoops to apply, only to be denied at the very end for a debt-to-income ratio that could have been easily verified early on in the process.
Better debt consolidation loans available elsewhere
Payoff falls below other services that offer debt relief in the form of a personal loan. With so many complaints about delayed paperwork and seemingly bait-and-switch loan offers, we suggest you look at one of Payoff's rivals before committing to using them for your debt relief needs.
American Debt Enders focuses on resolving debt primarily through legally disputing what you owe. The company has been around for many years and can help anyone with unsecured debt of at least $5,500.
Not the most professional website
American Debt Enders comes across a little bit... casual. For example, on the pop-up we got when visiting the site, there was a signup for something described as "your dose of Get out of Debt tips, tricks, or just things I'm enjoying" . Not sure why we would want someone's favorite viral videos or clickbait-y articles when we're looking for debt relief, but okay. Even on the main Free Credit Consultation sign-up, there was a typo of "coulseling" on the button to submit our information. We found more typos elsewhere on the site. And, when we tried using their online chat to ask some questions, it went unanswered even though it was during the posted business hours.
Debt dispute, not relief
We were interested in the way ADE describes their approach to resolving debt. One of their strategies is disputing the validity of the debt. According to the website, if your debt has been sold to a third party and the original creditor has already been repaid in full by their insurance, the new creditor is essentially trying to collect a debt that doesn't exist anymore. They refer to this as their "Debt Dispute Program" , and they promote it much more than a traditional debt relief approach.
No disclosure of fees until you call
How would American Debt Enders resolve your debt? The best way to find out is to call for a free consultation. Your representative will go over your financial situation and let you know which resources and strategies would best fit your needs. Any fees you pay will depend on the debt relief plan put in place: ADE doesn't disclose those costs upfront or even give you a general idea of what they might be.
Limited feedback available
American Debt Enders isn't a huge name in the debt relief industry. We didn't find a listing for them with the Better Business Bureau, and there were only a handful of client reviews in other places. Within those customer comments, we found mention of the company having faith-based roots so keep that in mind if you really love (or dislike!) the idea of working with a Christian company.
Choose a different service for more transparency
Could you get an effective debt relief plan through American Debt Enders? Maybe, but it's more likely that they'll take a debt dispute approach, which may not be what you want or need. Is it the most professional, experienced option at your disposal? Not even close. We'd suggest circling back to ADE only if you don't have any luck with the higher-ranking services in our review.
At first glance, you might look at the Debt Consolidation Care website and wonder if they're still in operation. The site looks outdated and has a copyright date from several years ago. But yes, you can still use this service to get help with your finances.
Not the smoothest website
It's still a little clunky, though. You start by filling out their contact form: just name, email, phone number, and the total debt amount you want to consolidate. From there a Debt Consolidation Care financial coach will get in contact with you via phone, to go over your current financial situation and decide on a debt relief plan. You'll be assigned a dedicated Client Relationship Manager who will negotiate with creditors on your behalf, reduce your total debt/interest, and decide how much you'll pay each month towards your debts.
Used by a half-million members... or not?
How does it really work, though? It's a little slippery trying to figure that out. On the one hand, the site proudly says that it offers free debt counseling and assistance through "internet's first get-out-of-debt community" (the weird grammar is theirs, not ours) and that they've helped over 470,000 community members to get out of debt. And yet, out of nearly half a million members, there are only 12 testimonials on the site?
Free... or fee-based?
It gets even stranger. Looking at the background of Debt Consolidation Care, we learned about how its founder went to law school "in order to make himself aware of the US Federal and State laws" . That's nice, but it doesn't make him an expert on debt relief. Their expertise seems to come through a partnership with an actual firm, Oak View Law Group. They're referenced as Debt Consolidation Care's affiliate when you call the toll-free number and they're mentioned by at least one of DCC's clients in the testimonials. That service clearly states that clients will pay fees when OVLG successfully reduces/consolidates their debts: so while DCC is free to use, it looks like they eventually pass you off to a service that is not.
Still manages an "A+" from the BBB
The Better Business Bureau gives Debt Consolidation Care their highest accolades: an "A+" rating and accreditation. Given what we learned about DCC, it came as little surprise that the company is listed as an "internet marketing service" rather than having anything to do with financial services or debt relief. There were zero complaints registered with the BBB - and no customer reviews either.
No reason to choose this company first
At the end of the day, you can use the community-based resources offered by this site without paying a fee, and we encourage you to check out Debt Consolidation Care's social media channels if you'd like to get a feel for the kinds of articles and advice they provide before signing up. But, there are much more straightforward debt relief companies out there, and we're pretty sure you'll have a smoother time with a higher-ranked service.
(1) Your loan amount will be determined based on your credit, income, and certain other information provided in your loan application. Not all applicants will qualify for the full amount. Loans are not available in West Virginia or Iowa. The minimum loan amount in MA is $7,000. The minimum loan amount in Ohio is $6,000. The minimum loan amount in NM is $5100. The minimum loan amount in GA is $3,100.
(3) The full range of available rates varies by state. The average 5-year loan offered across all lenders using the Upstart platform will have an APR of 22.00% and 60 monthly payments of $25.03 per $1,000 borrowed. For example, the total cost of a $10,000 loan would be $15,018 including a $600 origination fee. APR is calculated based on 5-year rates offered in the last 1 month. There is no downpayment and no prepayment penalty. Your APR will be determined based on your credit, income, and certain other information provided in your loan application. Not all applicants will be approved.
(4) If you accept your loan by 5pm EST (not including weekends or holidays), you will receive your funds the next business day. Loans used to fund education related expenses are subject to a 3 business day wait period between loan acceptance and funding in accordance with federal law.
Are you eligible for debt relief? The criteria vary by provider, but you probably need to have at least $5,000 in total debt owed across all categories (taxes, credit cards, auto payments, and so on). Also, be aware that some "debt relief" is structured as a personal loan: you use the proceeds to pay off multiple accounts and consolidate what you owe into a single monthly payment. In that case, the ball is in your court and you won't necessarily get any financial coaching or have professionals working to renegotiate what you owe.
Which debt relief program is best for you? That depends on several factors, such as the type of debt you owe and how much, as well as your credit history and ability to qualify for a loan. Here are several features to keep in mind as you evaluate your options for debt relief:
TopConsumerReviews.com has evaluated and ranked the most popular debt relief programs available today. We hope this information helps you get out from under your mountain of debt and gain the peace of mind that comes from knowing you're on the right track financially.
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.
"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:
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 month.
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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