When looking at debt settlement programs, most consumers have the same question: “Does debt settlement affect your credit?” For anyone thinking about settlement as a way of getting out of debt fast, here’s a short primer on “Does debt settlement affect your credit?” that answers this question and others.
Does debt settlement affect your credit?
The short answer: yes. Debt settlement, also known as credit settlement, can have a major and adverse impact on your credit rating.
How does debt settlement affect your credit?
When you enter a settlement program with debt or credit card settlement companies, you typically must stop paying all your creditors for several months. This puts your accounts into arrears and makes your creditors concerned they might not collect any more money from you. When your past due payments are sizable, your debt settlement company will approach your creditors and offer to settle your debt for a lump sum payment that is less than what you owe. The fact that you stopped paying your bills for a number of months, combined with the fact that you didn’t pay back your debt in full, will have a severe and lasting impact on your credit rating.
Does debt settlement affect your credit over time?
Yes. It may take as long as seven years to rebuild your credit. In the meantime, your debt settlement credit impact may make it hard to apply for loans, rent an apartment, or qualify for a mortgage.
How does debt settlement affect your credit if your settlement offer is not accepted?
Sometimes even the best debt settlement offer does not work – your creditors are not obligated to settle your debt. In this scenario, your credit will still be negatively impacted because you stopped paying your bills for a number of months.
Does debt settlement affect your credit more than bankruptcy?
When comparing bankruptcy vs settlement, conventional wisdom suggests that bankruptcy affects your credit score more severely than debt settlement, but some experts suggest that bankruptcy may be more advantageous because you can begin rebuilding your credit more quickly.
Does debt settlement affect your credit more than debt consolidation?
Debt consolidation typically does not affect your credit score very much unless you are taking on lots of new debt.
Does debt settlement affect your credit more than debt management?
A debt management plan does not require you to stop making payments to your creditors, so your credit score will not be significantly impacted.
To learn more about debt settlement and the benefits of debt management, contact American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) for a free credit counseling session.