The best debt settlement service could change your life. Money is a fickle mistress, one day taking you out for a delicious meal, the next asking for your last penny and leaving you hungry and in debt. However you got to this place, know that now is your chance to make a positive change as the best debt settlement company for you could be about to change your life.
A debt settlement company does as the name suggests. You go in with a list of all your creditors and the company will help you manage that debt. Of course this can mean serious damage to your credit rating but in the short term it's a way out of the proverbial hole.
But before we get into all that, know that you can easily call a debt settlement company for a chat. That's a free, no obligations talk. So you can get a feel for how it all works, what your options are and if this is the move for you.
Debt settlement shouldn't be mistaken for debt consolidation or balance transfers. Both of these are there to get all your debts into one manageable payment. These generally involve a company paying off all your debts so you simply pay that company instead. If you're beyond that point it's time for debt settlement.
The end result could be a more manageable payment and even represent some of your debt going away, but it's a gamble as you may end up similar to where you started. In most cases overall debt will be reduced considerably and restructured so you can manage.
To find the best debt relief for you, one of the best options out there is National Debt Relief which does exactly what its name suggests. Get a free check, avoid bankruptcy and don't worry about upfront fees. With an average reduction rate of around 50 percent this is a great option.
How we review
To choose the best debt settlement companies we look at each individual product and apply a set of testing parameters to make sure the end result is clear and comparable to other offerings. So in the case of debt settlement, points are awarded or deducted on:
- What it offers (features and flexibility – range of payback dates)
- Whether or not it's accredited/regulated by appropriate third parties
- Transparency of the terms and conditions
- Average amount of savings
- Knowledgeability of the debt advisor the reviewer spoke to (secret shopper)
- Customer service – taken from user reviews
- User reviews – from reputable sources
- Awards – from reputable sources
- Ease of use – website/app
How to choose the best debt settlement company for you
When deciding which is the best debt settlement company for you it's important to know what will happen. That company is there to help you and since you may be in the line of fire once you stop paying your debts, it pays to have a good company as your intermediary with the creditors.
When you stop paying your creditors on time that could mean they send debt collectors. Many debt settlement companies will let you change your address to theirs so that they can totally handle all parts of the settlement. The company will also negotiate the debt, ideally cancelling some of it.
So you'll want to take a look at the company's history of how it has reduced rates, or not, in the past for others. Another factor is customer ratings as that helps to show just how the company works with its clients in terms not only of success but also that nice-guy factor.
Fees are another area you'll want to take into account as if these are too high you may end up breaking even rather than losing debt, once you've paid the company off. Length of program can be a factor too, especially if you're in a rush.
Look out for accreditation from the AFCC and IAPDA for even more peace of mind when picking the best debt settlement company for you.
The best debt settlement companies
National Debt Relief is one of the best debt settlement programs for those with large amounts of debt. While there isn't a strict minimum requirement, the AFCC accredited company generally deals with clients who have at least $20,000 of debt.
National Debt Relief claims that is has an average reduction of around 50 percent. Despite this nice big chunk taken off debt, the fees charged are average for the industry, between 15 and 25 percent.
Despite not giving you a single point of contact, the company's customer service is highly regarded. In a way more points of contact can be better as it means less wait time to speak to someone or to get a reply.
You can enjoy a free call to get an initial idea of what your options are in your particular situation. You may find you're sent away to get a debt consolidation loan or to contact a credit counselling service instead. Either way it's a very transparent company with excellent advice that you can rely on.
Freedom Debt Relief has been helping settle debts for over 17 years and currently claims to settle a mind-boggling 50,000 account every month. The average minimum debt requirement is relatively low at $7,500 and as such this company specialises in credit card, store card and loan debt.
A knowledgeable staff help to steer you right with IAPDA-certified consultants able to help you over the phone. That way you can assess if debt settlement in general is right for you before making the choice of who you want to help with it specifically. This should help those struggling to meet minimum monthly repayments to avoid bankruptcy.
Accredited Debt Relief isn't a debt settlement company in the usual sense but rather a broker for them. The company will look into your financial situation so it can best set you up with the debt settlement agency, or agencies, for your needs. This works well for those with lots of different creditors that could benefit from being addressed by different specialist companies.
You need to have a minimum of $7,500 of debt and must hand over your high balance credit cards, keeping just one for emergencies. Settlements begin from as little as four months, depending on what you owe. The fact this service is only available in 32 states is one of the few negatives.
Guardian Debt Relief works by negotiating settlement agreements with creditors directly once your new settlement account has enough funds. As such this operates on a minimum of $7,500 of debt and usually charges around $200 per month plus around a 20 percent fee. That sounds a lot but when you consider this company manages to reduce large debts by about 50 percent, and smaller debts by 30 to 40 percent, you could still stand to save a lot of money.
New Era Debt Solutions specialises in smaller debt amounts with a minimum requirement of $750. While you will get your own dedicated case handler, which makes communication solid, it can mean waiting around a bit with the average case lasting around 38 months. Fees are charged between 14 and 20 percent but the average saving is 47 percent, meaning you could end up paying back around 30 percent less than you would be right now.
If you want to save more it will cost you more which is why Pacific Debt Relief not only gets you maximum debt settlement but it does so while charging more than the competition. For that cost you can enjoy a personal case representative who will deal with you throughout the process. The minimum debt requirement to work with this service is $7,500 in total with at least $750 of debt in each account. Fees start at a reasonable 15 percent and go up to 25 percent, making it more than most. But with an average debt relief of around 50 percent it could still save you a lot of money.
DMB Financial has been round for 14 years and in that time it's managed to save an impressive $1 billion in debts for clients, despite only being available in 26 states. The AFCC and IAPDA accredited company charges an average fee of 21.5 percent, putting it above the average for these services. But thanks to links with some of the most well known providers it gets results and does so with friendly and helpful staff that have worked hard to get this company an excellent reputation.
Premier Debt Help is all about quick results with some of its programs running just 12 months. Of course it will depend on the amount of debt, but with a minimum of $5,000, it should be available to many. The company is national and charges average fees despite the potential speedy turnaround. Debts covered include credit cards and larger loans. Whatever your debt, the company will have an initial chat to discuss if debt settlement is the right option for you.