Advantages of a Debt Reduction Service
Many people believe that a debt reduction service and a credit counseling agency are the same. In reality, these two types of organizations are different. A debt reduction service is oriented toward negotiating a lump-sum settlement with a consumer’s creditors. By contrast, a credit counseling agency’s mission is to provide debt management advice and effective programs geared toward enabling consumers to responsibly pay off their existing debt and get their finances in order.
The biggest benefit of a debt reduction service is that you can pay off your debt quickly if you have enough money on hand to cover the negotiated settlement. Otherwise, the disadvantages outweigh the advantages.
Disadvantages of a Debt Reduction Service
Using a debt reduction service is full of perils, because the industry is mostly unregulated. Many people who use these services are desperate and may be unaware that there are better alternatives.
There are several dangers of settling debts through a debt reduction service:
- Fraud is common, because some debt-settlement companies are scams. After they receive your money, they vanish. Some lack the experience required to negotiate effective deals.
- Failing to pay your bills on time destroys your credit scores, and settling a debt for less than your balance causes further damage.
- If you default on your bills, the chances of being stalked by debt collectors or having your wages garnished increase. More creditors are immediately suing when they learn that a debtor has started working with a debt settlement service.
- The Internal Revenue Service taxes you on the difference between what you owe and the amount you pay in a settlement. That causes additional financial problems for most debtors.
- The fees for debt settlement are high, often ranging from 14% to 18% of the total debt you want to settle. Consolidated credit counseling is a much more affordable alternative.
- Settlements take an average of two years to be completed. When you’ve been advised by the debt reduction service to stop paying your bills during that time so you can accumulate cash toward the lump-sum pay-off, the creditors may become impatient and pursue legal action, which makes your problems worse.
So a debt reduction service might provide a temporary fix to your financial problems, but the amount of money you contribute is much higher than other debt assistance programs. The consequences can be painful and inflict a larger, deeper wound on your financial future. The best alternative is to seek debt consolidation relief that educates you on how to manage your money and develops effective solutions for ending your debt cycles.
Choose ACCC as Your Debt Reduction Service Alternative
American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) is not a debt reduction service in the sense of debt settlement. We are a non-profit debt relief agency that’s accredited with the Better Business Bureau and a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC). We offer debt management programs that feature consolidated monthly payments and often can reduce your interest rates as well as reducing or eliminating late fees and over-limit fees. We also are approved by the Department of Justice to provide pre-bankruptcy credit counseling certificates for consumers who are considering filing for bankruptcy. Contact us today for more information about our programs.