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Unlike other debt relief companies, which may focus on one product or debt relief program , Accredited Debt Relief is a referral service. Accredited Debt Relief works with partners that offer four types of debt relief services. Depending on the program, you may be able to lower your monthly payment, decrease your interest rate, simplify the repayment process, settle for less than your balance or eliminate debts.

What are the benefits and risks of Accredited Debt Relief. What to expect after signing up with Accredited Debt Relief. Alternative methods to pay down debt. Want to learn more about Accredited Debt Relief? Debt settlement programs and debt management plans are generally only options for unsecured debts, such as credit card debt. Several reviews complain of poor, pushy or unresponsive customer service representatives. But most reviewers on Trustpilot say the service is polite, professional and helpful.

Because Accredited Debt Relief can help you determine which program is best for your circumstances, it may be less risky than working with a debt relief company that only offers one service. Even so, consider the pros and cons of a particular program before enrolling. Here are a few general benefits and risks to working with Accredited Debt Relief or trying one of the programs its partners offer:. Accredited Debt Relief can connect you with a variety of service providers depending on your situation.

If you stop making payments, you could wind up being sued by the creditor or debt collector. Accredited Debt Relief representatives are paid on commission and have a financial incentive to get you to enroll in a program. With debt settlement, you should only pay a fee once a debt is settled. The fee may be a percentage of the debt you enroll in the program or a percentage of your savings. Credit counseling organizations may charge you an enrollment fee and monthly fee for a debt management plan.

Debt consolidation might not have any ongoing fees, but some lenders could charge you an origination fee on your consolidation loan. Costs can vary depending on where you live and the type of bankruptcy, but you may have to pay for court filing and credit counseling. For example, a debt settlement program could take 12 to 48 months to complete.

As a result, you may incur late payment fees. And those late payments could hurt your credit. Accredited Debt Relief says, on average, clients will settle at least one account within the first three to five months. Other programs could take more or less time to complete. But a debt management plan might take three to five years to complete. Accredited Debt Relief has many positive reviews from past customers and could be a safe place to start your search for a solution to your debt-related problems.

You may be able to put in place some of the same tactics that debt relief companies use but save money by taking a DIY approach. Or you may be better off trying a completely different tactic. Consolidation involves taking out a new loan to pay off your existing debts. Debt consolidation loans are often personal loans. Accredited Debt Relief may refer you to a credit counseling company that offers debt management plans.

Credit counseling organizations are often nonprofits, and you can check to see if the organization is accredited by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling NFCC. You can also look for NFCC-accredited credit counseling organizations on your own and compare their debt management plans, pricing and reviews. You can hire a company to negotiate a settlement on your behalf, or you could negotiate and settle debt accounts on your own. While a do-it-yourself approach could take more work and discipline, it may be a worthwhile use of your time.

Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy are the two common types of personal bankruptcy that may be able to help you manage your debts. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy could restructure your debt and set you up with a more manageable monthly payment plan while allowing you to keep the personal property. Louis DeNicola is a writer at MagnifyMoney.

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You can email Louis at louis magnifymoney. Jamie Friedlander is a freelance writer and editor who covers personal finance and entrepreneurship, among other topics. You feel overwhelmed and are starting to think you might need the help of a professional. There are companies out there that can help you negotiate your debt, and these are called debt relief or debt settlement companies. For a fee, debt relief companies will attempt to negotiate your debts with your creditors on your behalf. What are the benefits and risks of Pacific Debt?

What to expect after signing up for Pacific Debt. Some unsecured debt, such as consumer finance loans, payday loans, medical debts not in collections and legal judgments might not be included. Free credit card interest rate calculator. Throughout the process, client care specialists can also help you with things like coping with debt collector calls and staying organized. By having your debts negotiated, your credit score will likely take a hit.

But if you can stay with the debt relief program, you will not need to file for bankruptcy and will be well on your way to becoming debt free in just a few years. Life after debt settlement could be difficult because your credit score will be much lower. There are no upfront fees. Participating in a debt relief program means you must stop making minimum payments on your accounts, which could lead to phone calls from debt collectors and ensuing stress.

The fees for Pacific Debt are based on the total debt enrolled in the program. Fees range between No fees are collected upfront. All fees are paid when you make your monthly debt settlement payment. Fees are collected once a debt has been successfully negotiated, the consumer has agreed to the negotiation and the first payment has been made. In fact, Pacific Debt is ranked the top company based on lowest fees from U. On average, the program takes between two and four years, though it could be as quick as one year.

Although no savings are guaranteed as not all creditors will settle, Pacific Debt has negotiated with myriad major banking institutions. Generally speaking, customers have positive reviews about Pacific Debt and its services.

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  5. In addition, they have a 9. There are three complaints for Pacific Debt with the BBB, one about a consumer who stated no progress had been made after nine months in the program and another who believed there was confusion surrounding the fee structure for the program. Or maybe your total debt is just a few thousands dollars, and something you could realistically pay off in a couple of years. Whatever the case may be, there are other ways to pay down debt than working with a debt relief company.

    Debt consolidation involves combining all of your debts and paying them off in one monthly payment using a personal loan. Debt consolidation is particularly common for people with significant credit card debt, though it can be used for all forms of unsecured debt. It works like this: You take out a personal loan, also referred to as a debt consolidation loan. You then make monthly payments on the loan that are dispersed to your various creditors. You may be matched up to five differnet lenders after you fill out a short online form.

    A debt management plan involves working with a nonprofit credit counselor to organize and pay off your debt while also learning about good money habits. You simply make a payment to the credit counseling agency each month who will then disperse your payment to your various creditors. This method can often be a good decision for those whose credit score is too low to qualify for a personal loan with a good interest rate.

    Find a nonprofit credit counselor near you using this online database from the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. Many consumers are unaware that they can negotiate debts on their own. By negotiating their debts, consumers can often obtain a discount or a flexible payment plan. Debts can be negotiated once they are delinquent, though you will likely have the most luck if those debts are already with a collections agency. You can attempt to negotiate with a debt collector by starting with a low amount you could realistically pay off. From there, negotiation will likely go back and forth in a process that could take months, if not years.

    Bankruptcy should not to be taken lightly. There are two forms of bankruptcy: Chapter 7 , in which all of your debts are forgiven and you begin from scratch, and Chapter 13 , where you stick to a repayment plan. You might also want to consider filing for bankruptcy if you are at risk of losing your home this only works if you file Chapter 13 , want to guard your retirement savings or have experienced a significant life event like a major illness or job loss. Jamie Friedlander is a writer at MagnifyMoney.

    You can email Jamie here. Hannah Rounds is a freelance writer who covers consumer finance, investing, economics, health and fitness. She received her bachelor's degree in Economics from Furman University. Managing your money can be difficult. Of course, bad financial habits can also erode your financial security over time.

    No matter how you came upon your debt issues, you have options for managing them. A nonprofit such as Consolidated Credit can help you explore and pursue those options. Consolidated Credit is a not-for-profit company dedicated to helping people improve their financial lives. Since launching in , the company has helped 6. Although Consolidated Credit is based in Plantation, Fla. Consolidated Credit offers a wide range of services to help people struggling with debt.

    Some of its services include credit counseling, corporate financial wellness programs, counseling for first-time homebuyers and debt management plans. Its counselors are trained to help people better understand how to eliminate their debt as fast as possible. What are the benefits and risks of Consolidated Credit? What to expect after signing up for Consolidated Credit. It also shows other critical information about the company as a whole. Credit counseling, debt management plans, homebuyer counseling, reverse mortgage counseling, corporate financial wellness.

    Consolidated Credit may waive fees for high-need individuals. Unsecured debts credit cards, most personal loans, medical debts less than 1 year old. Debts in collections charge-offs may be allowed in the debt management plan. Some payday loans or cash advances can be consolidated. Once you enroll in a debt management plan, you must make the payments as agreed. Failing to make the payments could lead to more fees, penalty interest, or being sued. Consolidated credit does not allow Federal Student Loans, auto loans or mortgages into its debt management programs.

    However, it has foreclosure prevention services for people struggling with their house debt. All counselors are Certified Personal Finance Counselors. A consultation with a credit counselor at Consolidated Credit is free. Other free resources include ebooks, videos, webinars and in-person seminars. Consolidated Credit advertises that people with poor credit and people with huge balances are most likely to benefit from a debt management plan.

    If most of your debts are in collections, you may have to pursue debt settlement options. On the other hand, if you still have good credit, debt consolidation might be the right approach for you. Consolidated Credit offers free credit and personal finance counseling. During an initial 30 to 60 minute consultation, a Certified Personal Finance Counselor will analyze your debts, your budget and your credit score.

    If the counselor recommends a debt management plan and you choose to enroll, these are the fees you can expect. In certain situations, Consolidated Credit may waive the debt management plan fees for a limited or extended period of time. In addition to its debt counseling services, Consolidated Credit offers several services for current and aspiring homeowners. Its services include free home buying and mortgage readiness classes and information on home retention and foreclosure prevention for people struggling with their mortgage.

    Seniors looking for education and counseling about reverse mortgages may speak with a HUD certified counselor. Consolidated Credit also offers several free online resources for people looking for financial education. Its free eBooks and videos cover a range of topics including marriage and money, the financial costs of children and more. Consolidated Credit is not a debt settlement company. It will not help you negotiate for lower balances on your debts. Over the course of three to five years, you will pay off the entire balance that you owe.

    Consolidated Credit is a not for profit company, with a solid reputation. Although most online reviews of Consolidated Credit are positive, some customers have issued complaints. Many of the complaints stated that Consolidated Credit improperly managed a debt payoff plan, and the result of the mismanagement was negative marks on a credit report or late fees. That means all counselors are qualified to help you with your debt management strategy, and they have expertise in helping you with debt management services. In some cases, you may be able to pay off your debts faster using a DIY payoff plan.

    In other cases, your debt may be so overwhelming that bankruptcy or debt settlement makes more sense. Review these five options to see if one fits your needs better than a debt management plan. Debt consolidation loans allow you to refinance all your existing credit card balances into a single loan usually an unsecured personal loan. You may be able to explore personal loan offers from lenders using this tool from LendingTree.

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    After the promotional period ends, your interest rate will increase. Bankruptcy is the legal process that helps consumers and businesses resolve debt issues when they cannot handle their debt obligations. Most consumers will pursue Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

    If you cannot handle your debt load, you may want to speak to a bankruptcy attorney. Debt settlement is the practice of renegotiating the terms and balances of debts that are in or near default. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau CFPB warns that working with a debt settlement company may be risky — it can lead to higher fees, penalty interest rates and other problems. Settling debt is also likely to have tax implications.

    Hiring an attorney that specializes in debt settlement may lead to less risk. You can find consumer advocacy attorney by searching the database at the National Association of Consumer Advocates. People with debts in collections may be able to settle their debts on their own. Settling debts means negotiating the terms or balances of a loan. In general, collections companies will reduce the balance that you owe in exchange for a payment guarantee.

    If you wish to pursue debt settlement on your own, the CFPB advises you to learn about the debt in collections , create a realistic budget for paying off the debt and negotiate with collectors. Hannah Rounds is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Hannah here. Katherine Gustafson is a freelance writer in Portland, Oregon, specializing in content marketing, thought leadership, and grant writing for mission-driven changemakers, disruptive innovators, and dynamic nonprofits.

    She also does corporate work on business topics including finance, tech, accounting, and emerging trends. Credit card debt among U. Average non-mortgage debt in the U. With consumer debt rising, the credit counseling and debt relief industry is more necessary than ever. Organizations such as InCharge Debt Solutions may provide a lifeline for those who have borrowed more than they can repay.

    Launched in , InCharge Debt Solutions is a c 3 nonprofit organization that provides credit counseling, debt management services, bankruptcy education, housing counseling and financial literacy education. What are the benefits and risks of InCharge Debt Solutions? What to expect after signing up for InCharge Debt Solutions.

    While the organization offers a range of services, the rubber meets the road in its debt management plans that help customers get out of debt within five years. InCharge works with people throughout the U. Most of its services are provided over the phone and processed remotely, so location is not a concern. Not everyone qualifies; your financial situation must indicate that debt management is appropriate for you.

    The debt management program comes with a few fees, which fall well within the recommended limits for the industry. The fee is not the same for each borrower. Fees are decided on a case-by-case basis based on various factors such as the level of debt and the state in which the participant lives. The fee will be calculated at the point in the initial intake session at which the credit counselor decides that the caller is a good match for debt management.

    The program typically gets participants out of debt in three to five years. InCharge Debt Solutions has a good reputation and confidence-inspiring business credentials. The organization has an A-plus rating with the BBB despite some complaints against it on the site. There have been no complaints registered against the company with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. And the company has overwhelmingly positive reviews on outside review sites. The organization presents a Client Bill of Rights to let its customers know what they can expect. These rights are as directly stated on its website:.

    Doing so requires completing a credit counseling session usually between 25 and 60 minutes with the InCharge Debt Solutions team, which can be done online or over the phone.

    Why Filing Bankruptcy May Be The Best Thing You Ever Do - Part 1

    Fill out this online form to start the process or contact the company by phone at to speak with a certified credit counselor. This payment program is designed to repay the debts in five years, though some participants choose to contribute more and pay it down faster. The average participant in the program becomes debt-free in three to five years.

    A debt management plan like that offered by InCharge may not be the right option for you. Debt consolidation involves combining all your debt payments into one payment with a single interest rate, usually a lower one than the average of all your rates. It also requires that you find a card with a limit high enough to accommodate all your debt, if possible. The latter option, more likely to be available to those struggling with debt , involves getting a loan to pay off all your consumer debt so that you can service all of it as one lump sum. After inputting some information, the tool could reveal loan offers for which you may qualify from up to five different lenders.

    Dealing with your debt on your own, DIY do-it-yourself style, is an option for those with the organization to oversee each step and the determination to see the process through. There are a series of steps you should take to set yourself up for DIY debt relief success: You are legally allowed to demand information about the debt from the debt collector — a process known as validation — and the debt collector is then barred from contacting you about the debt until that information has been supplied. There are various philosophies on what to pay next. One popular approach is the debt snowball method , which involves paying off debts in order of size, starting with the smallest, to get early wins and build momentum.

    Another is the debt avalanche method , which prioritizes paying debt with the highest interest rates first. Try this handy calculator to see the difference between these two repayment methods. Bankruptcy is a last resort for debtors. In the case of Chapter 7, after all proceeds from asset sales — if any — go to creditors, your debt is discharged and you are relieved of having to pay more. Chapter 13 is more focused on restructuring your debt on to a payment plan so that you can pay it off over a given period.

    Those wishing to declare Chapter 7 bankruptcy must meet certain criteria on their income and expenses. Either their income must be below the median level, or their income plus expenses must put them in the correct range to qualify. Not all assets will be liquidated in bankruptcy. Some assets — or portions of assets — are considered exempt from the process. Katherine Gustafson is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Katherine here. This site may be compensated through a credit card partnership. Looking for a balance transfer credit card to help pay down your debt more quickly?

    This guide will show you the longest offers with the lowest rates, and help you manage the transfer responsibly. It will also help you understand whether you should be considering a transfer at all. If you think it will take longer than 15 months to pay off your credit card debt, these credit cards could be right for you.

    It is almost always better to pay the fee than to pay a high interest rate on your existing credit card. You can calculate your savings including the cost of the fee at our balance transfer marketplace. These deals listed below are the longest balance transfers we have in our database. Each credit card company has their own criteria, and you might still be approved by one of the companies listed below. After the intro periods end, a This provides plenty of time for you to pay off your debt.

    There are several other perks that make this card great: This is a basic balance transfer deal with an above average term. With this card, you also have the ability to earn cash back, and there is no late fee for your first missed payment and no penalty APR. Hopefully you will not need to take advantage of these features, but they are nice to have. You have only 60 days from account opening to complete your balance transfer and get the introductory rate. You can provide the account number for the account you want to transfer from while you apply, and if approved, the bank will handle the transfer.

    If you think it will take longer than 2 years to pay off your credit card debt, you might want to consider one of these offers. The longest offer can give you a low rate that only goes up if the prime rate goes up. There is also no balance transfer fee. Just about anyone can join Unify Financial Credit Union.

    The deal is you get the prime rate for 3 years with no intro balance transfer fee. In order to be approved for the best balance transfer credit cards and offers, you generally need to have good or excellent credit. If your FICO score is above , you have a good chance of being approved.

    If your score is above , you have an excellent chance. However, if your score is less than perfect, you still have options. Your best option might be a personal loan. You can learn more about personal loans for bad credit here. There are balance transfers available for people with scores below The offer below might be available to people with lower credit scores.

    However, it will still be better than a standard interest rate. If you use this offer to pay down debt aggressively, you should see your score improve over time and you will be able to qualify for even better offers. That way you can apply with more confidence.

    14 key considerations for when filing bankruptcy -

    If you use your credit card at an ATM, it will be treated as a cash advance. And there is no grace period, so interest starts to accrue right away. A cash advance is expensive, so beware. If you do not make your payment on time, most credit cards will immediately hit you with a steep late fee. Once you are 30 days late, you will likely be reported to the credit bureau. Late payments can have a big, negative impact on your score.

    Just automate your payments so you never have to worry about these fees. Most balance transfer offers are from the date you open your account, not the date you complete the transfer. It is in your interest to complete the balance transfer right away, so that you can benefit from the low interest rate as soon as possible.

    With most credit card companies, you will actually lose the promotional balance transfer offer if you do not complete the transfer within 60 or 90 days. Just get it done! Your goal with a balance transfer should be to get out of debt. If you start spending on the credit card, there is a real risk that you will end up in more debt. Additionally, you could end up being charged interest on your purchase balances. In other words, you lose the grace period on your purchases so long as you have a balance transfer in place.

    Credit card companies make balance transfer offers because they want to steal business from their competitors. So, it makes sense that the banks will not let you transfer balances between two credit cards offered by the same bank. If you have an airline credit card or a store credit card, just make sure you know which bank issues the card before you apply for a balance transfer. The calculator will show you which cards offer you the most savings on interest payments. But you might feel more comfortable with a single fixed monthly payment, and a single real date your loan will be paid off.

    A lot of new companies are offering great rates on loans you can pay off over 2, 3, 4, or 5 years. You can find the best personal loans here. Use our calculator to see how your payments and savings will compare. It depends, some credit card companies may allow you to transfer debt from any credit card, regardless of who owns it. Though, they may require you to first add that person as an authorized user to transfer the debt.

    Just remember that once the debt is transferred, it becomes your legal liability. Most banks will enable store card debt to be transferred. Just make sure the store card is not issued by the same bank as the balance transfer credit card.

    Other Considerations for Filing Bankruptcy

    Here is a simple test. Divide your credit card interest rate by You can use that simplified math to get a good guide on whether or not you will be saving money. And if you want the math done for you, use our tool to calculate how much each balance transfer will save you. With all balance transfers recommended at MagnifyMoney, you would not be hit with a big, retroactive interest charge.

    You would be charged the purchase interest rate on the remaining balance on a go-forward basis. But all balance transfers recommended by MagnifyMoney do. Many companies offer very good deals in the first year to win new customers. Or your cable company could offer a big discount on the first year if you buy the bundle package. Credit card companies are no different. These companies want your debt, and are willing to give you a big discount in the first year to get you to transfer.

    But, if you neglect making payments and end up with a balance post-intro period, you can easily fall into a trap of high debt — similar to the one you left when you transferred the balance. Balance transfers can be easily completed online or over the phone.

    Why you should care

    After logging in to your account, you can navigate to your balance transfer and submit the request. If you rather speak to a representative, simply call the number on the back of your card. For both options, you will need to have the account number of the card with the debt and the amount you wish to transfer ready. You will be charged a late fee by missing a payment and may put your introductory interest rate in jeopardy. Many issuers state in the terms and conditions that defaulting on your account may cause you to lose out on the promotional APR associated with the balance transfer offer.

    To avoid this, set up autopay for at least the minimum amount due. Balances can only be transferred between cards from different banks. Many credit card issuers will allow you to transfer money to your checking account. Or, they will offer you checks that you can write to yourself or a third party. Check online, because many credit card issuers will let you transfer money directly to your bank account from your credit card. In most cases, you cannot. However, if you transfer a balance when you open a card, you may be able to.

    Some issuers state in their terms and conditions that balance transfers on new accounts will be processed at a slower rate compared with those of old accounts. You may be able to cancel your transfer during this time. Yes, it is possible to transfer the same debt multiple times. Just remember, if there is a balance transfer fee, you could be charged that fee every time you transfer the debt. You can call the bank and ask them to increase your credit limit. However, even if the bank does not increase your limit, you should still take advantage of the savings available with the limit you are given.

    Transferring a portion of your debt is more beneficial than transferring none. Yes, you decide how much you want to transfer to each credit card. No, there is no penalty. You can pay off your debt whenever you want without a penalty. You literally pay nothing to transfer your balance and can save hundreds of dollars in interest had you left your balance on a high APR card.

    Check out our list of the best no-fee balance transfer cards here. However, those cards tend to have shorter intro periods of 15 months or less, so you may need more time to pay off your balance. At least two months before your existing intro period ends, start looking for a new balance transfer offer from a different issuer. Bankruptcy Code in an attempt to make it more difficult for some consumers to file for Chapter 7.

    Some celebrities even filed for Chapter 7 before the code change went into effect. When White first began studying bankruptcy, she too was surprised at the number of people who not only qualified but would benefit from filing. As of May, consumer debt levels were predicted to reach an all-time high by the end of , according to consumer lending company, LendingTree. A crop of Americans with improved credit scores and the chance to increase their incomes could drive further economic growth.

    Should I Declare Bankruptcy? Decision Factors

    If Upsolve and other bankruptcy advocates can move the needle on the number of Americans who file for Chapter 7, the whole country would likely reap the benefits. The three-point shot has become too easy. The Mongolian use of these drugs is among the highest on the U. New research suggests that artificially intelligent machines are more capable of developing their own prejudices and biases than previously thought. Care workers in Denmark are reporting increasing rates of harassment, raising thorny ethical questions. An online defamation law may be silencing free speech — or minimizing the ill effects of social media.

    With Netflix ramping up its European offerings, traditional broadcasters on the Continent could turn to drastic solutions. But why is bankruptcy a good choice to eliminate your debts? Bankruptcy provides an automatic stay. When you file bankruptcy your creditors are notified and all actions against you stop. This includes wage garnishments , lawsuits and collection proceedings.

    That means all parties are on an equal playing field. You have the confidence of knowing your bankruptcy payments, as long as you complete them, will result in the elimination of your debt. Bankruptcy deals with all of your unsecured debts, with a few exceptions. That means you can eliminate not only credit card debt but payday loans, tax debts, lines of credit, and unpaid bills. Upon your discharge, your debts are eliminated. When bankruptcy might not be best Bankruptcy is not a cure all for all your financial problems. Bankruptcy does not deal with secured debts like your mortgage or car.

    If you are behind on your mortgage payments or car loan you are still at risk of having these assets seized by your creditors. However, filing for bankruptcy can improve your cash flow by eliminating your need to make payments on your credit card debt and other unsecured debts. This can make it easier to keep up with your mortgage and car loan payments.

    If you have any non-exempt assets you would lose these when you file bankruptcy. However, if you have significant equity in your home beyond the seizure limits for a home set by Ontario exemption laws or investments, bankruptcy may not be your best option.