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Debt Relief Agencies

How to Narrow Down Your List of Debt Relief Agencies

When it feels like your debt problems are spiraling out of control, it's good to know that there are debt relief agencies that are ready to help you. The only problem is, there are so many debt relief agencies advertising on the internet and TV. How can you narrow down the list and choose the agency that can best meet your needs?

Three Types of "Debt Relief"

When evaluating debt relief agencies, it's important to recognize that there are three broad types of "debt relief":

  • Debt settlement, whereby a company acting on your behalf tries to negotiate with your creditors to "settle" your debts for one lump sum payment that's less than what you actually owe.
  • Debt consolidation loans, whereby you borrow money and use the funds to pay off your creditors.
  • Debt management programs, whereby you make one consolidated payment to a debt relief agency each month and the agency in turn pays your creditors. Often these programs can lower the interest rate that you pay on your debts.

Debt settlement and consolidation loans involve significant risks, and it's best to be very wary of debt relief agencies promoting these approaches. Agencies typically charge hefty fees for negotiating and administering a debt settlement solution; some creditors may refuse to participate; and settlement can do substantial damage to your credit rating. Consolidation loans often come with steep interest rates attached, and this approach can easily result in your having even more debt than you do now. Debt management programs are a more prudent way to ease the strain of your debt burden, and debt relief agencies that offer these programs are your best bet for true, lasting relief.

Choosing a Debt Management Service Provider

For genuine debt relief, a debt management program is preferable to settlement or a loan. But how can you choose among the debt relief agencies that offer this type of service?

There are two main criteria to keep in mind:

  • The quality of the customer service that the agency provides. To identify reputable debt consolidation companies that treat customers fairly, check with the Better Business Bureau. Customer reviews, if you can find them, are another good source of information about a particular debt consolidation firm that you're interested in.
  • The costs of the debt management program. Debt relief agencies vary in the enrollment and monthly maintenance fees they charge, so this is a good way to compare different debt management programs.

Choose ACCC for Low Costs and Outstanding Service

American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) has been helping individuals and families solve their debt challenges for more than two decades. As one of America's leading nonprofit debt relief agencies, our low-cost debt management program has made personal debt consolidation possible for thousands of consumers nationwide. Our commitment to meeting our customers' needs is evidenced by the glowing credit counseling reviews and debt consolidation reviews that we've received over the years, and by our A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.

American Consumer Credit Counseling is a non-profit credit counseling and debt management center for individuals and families who want to settle credit card debt and learn to live life debt free. In our free counseling sessions, our certified credit counselors help consumers make a debt reduction plan for eliminating credit card debt over a period of time – usually five years or less. After reviewing a client’s financial situation, counselors work with consumers to find the best path to credit card debt elimination. This may involve providing education about credit card debt and bankruptcy, comparing debt consolidation vs chapter 13 bankruptcy or debt settlement services, and answering basic debt reduction and debt consolidation questions, such as “what is credit counseling?” and “how can I protect my credit score?”

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