Make sure you thoroughly research and carefully choose a reputable and accredited debt settlement agency to ensure fair treatment and to protect your financial well-being.
Q: What is debt settlement or credit settlement?
A: Debt settlement, also known as credit settlement, is a method used to negotiate with creditors to settle your debt for less than the total amount owed. It involves stopping payments to creditors and making regular payments to a credit settlement company who will negotiate on your behalf to reach a lower settlement amount.
Q: Does debt settlement work?
A: Debt settlement can work in some cases, but it is not guaranteed. Creditors are not obligated to settle your debt, and if you stop making regular payments, they may impose penalties, involve collection agencies, or even take legal action against you, which could lead to further debt accumulation.
Q: How does debt settlement affect your credit?
A: A Debt collection settlement effort has a significant impact on your credit. Regardless of whether the settlement is successful or not, your credit rating will be severely damaged for an extended period. This can hinder your ability to obtain new credit cards, loans, car financing, or mortgages in the future.
Q: Is debt settlement a good idea?
A: Generally, debt settlement is not advisable. There are alternative strategies, such as debt management plans, that can be just as effective in paying off debt quickly while also helping you improve your credit rating instead of causing further harm.
Q: What should I do before considering credit settlement?
A: It is recommended to seek advice from reputable financial professionals like American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) before committing to any credit settlement arrangement. ACCC, a nonprofit organization, provides free credit counseling and affordable financial services. Their experts can help you explore all available options, understand the potential consequences, and make an informed decision about managing your debt.
Q: How does debt management compare to credit settlement?
A: Debt management plans, recommended by ACCC, are an alternative to credit settlement. With a debt management plan, you continue making payments to your creditors through a trusted agency like ACCC. This approach helps you avoid damaging your credit rating and simplifies your financial life by consolidating your payments into one monthly installment. Furthermore, debt management plans often involve negotiating reduced interest rates, late fees, and monthly payments with your creditors, allowing you to pay off your debt more efficiently. Most consumers on a debt management plan can achieve debt freedom within approximately 60 months.