Before you settle debt, review all your options.
When you feel overwhelmed by bills, loans and other financial obligations, it's tempting to want to settle debt through a debt settlement program. You've probably seen the advertisements of settlement companies who promise to help you settle debt for a fraction of what you owe your creditors. But while the debt settlement process can sometimes be successful, it can also trash your credit rating and potentially leave you more deeply in debt.
What is debt settlement? It's a process where you hire a company to help you settle debt with creditors. You'll stop paying on your bills and loans for several months or longer, putting your accounts into delinquency. The theory is that this will encourage your creditors to settle debt obligations for a portion of what you owe. And while this works on occasion, it inevitably leaves the individual with a bad credit rating. How bad is debt settlement for your credit? For many people, it makes it hard to borrow money, get credit cards or even rent an apartment for many years.
Before you choose to settle debt through a debt settlement program, it's a good idea to identify all the other options available to you by consulting a financial professional like the ones at American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC).
Consult ACCC to learn how to best settle debt.
ACCC is a nonprofit organization focused on helping individuals like you get out of debt fast and stay out of debt for good. We provide free credit counseling, where certified and professionally trained credit counselors will help you take a clear look at your financial situation and identify all the options for paying down your debt, including the option to settle debt through debt settlement or debt consolidation. Then we'll help you choose the option that makes the most sense financially, and direct you to the resources you may need to make it work.
Settle debt more effectively through debt management.
For many consumers, we recommend an option to settle debt through debt management rather than debt settlement. What are the benefits of a debt management plan vs debt settlement? First of all, you won't stop paying on your financial obligations, so your credit rating won't take the same kind of hit. You'll simplify your finances by making one payment each month to ACCC, and our team will pay all your bills for you on time. And you'll save money by enabling us to contact your creditors to seek reductions in finance charges, interest rates, late fees and over-limit fees. This can reduce the total amount you owe so you can pad off faster – usually within 60 months or less. And when you settle debt through a debt management plan with ACCC, we'll help you understand and address the financial behavior and money habits that help to get you into debt in the first place.