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Debt Settlement – What Is It All About?

debt settlementDebt settlement is a strategy for eliminating debt. It involves working with an agency to get creditors to settle your debt for a lower amount than what you owe. Before you apply for debt settlement, it’s wise to understand the ins and outs of it.

Debt Settlement – Pros & Cons

Pros:

Debt settlement may help you get out of debt quicker and for less than the total amount you currently owe. The representative from your settlement company will handle the communications with your creditors. This will relieve you from the responsibility of some difficult conversations.

Cons:

On the other hand, it is not a guaranteed strategy to get out of debt.  Your creditors are under no obligation to settle your debt for less than what you owe. And because debt settlement involves not paying your bills for a number of months, you may end up with additional penalties and interest, legal bills, and calls from collection agencies. In addition, it can be expensive, too. You may pay as much as 25% of the money you save to the settlement company. Additionally, the portion of debt that is “settled” can count as income, and you may be taxed on it.

Does Debt Settlement Affect Credit?

Most certainly. That’s one of the biggest drawbacks of a debt settlement plan. Regardless of whether your settlement arrangement is successful or not, your credit rating will be severely damaged for several years.

Should Debt Settlement Be My Option?

This is not a decision that you should make lightly when it comes to figuring out how to get out of debt. It is always advised to speak with a financial professional. An agency such as American Consumer Credit Counseling can offer free credit counseling sessions where you can work with professionally certified counselors to take stock of your finances, consider all your options, and choose the most advantageous path out of debt.

Do I Have Alternatives to Debt Settlement?

Yes! A Debt Management Plan is a great alternative to debt settlement. A low-cost DMP like the one offered by ACCC can help you create a budget you can live with while you pay down your debt as quickly as possible. Rather than paying multiple creditors each month, you’ll make one payment to ACCC, and we’ll pay all your bills on your behalf.

This simplifies your finances, makes it easier to stay current with creditors and gives us the opportunity to seek reductions in interest rates, fees, and payments that can help you pay your debt off more quickly. We’ll also guide you to educational materials and resources that can help you learn more about managing money and developing financial habits that will help you learn to live without debt.

Speak with a certified counselor at ACCC today to begin your debt management process. Call 800-769-3571. 

ABOUT AUTHOR / Dilini

Dilini is a Marketing Communications & Programs Associate at ACCC. To anyone, managing finances can be a real challenge! Any tips and tricks to help get through this are great! Dilini will share her experiences, tips, and tricks along the way through the Talking Cents blog. Stay tuned!

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