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Many people who are in debt often don’t realize that there are services designed to help them get out of debt. Not all of these debt relief services are legitimate, and some would try to take advantage of those in debt, especially if you have bad credit. However, the top debt settlement companies and debt consolidation services can legitimately help you get out from behind a mountain of debt.
We’ve done some digging to determine which are the best debt management companies around, including one of our top picks National Debt Relief. Read on to gain a better understanding of debt consolidation services, as well as to see an overview and definitive rankings of which debt relief companies are a good fit for whatever your credit status may be: bad credit, good credit, or average credit. Don’t trust just anyone to help you consolidate your debts; you deserve to know which are the best debt relief companies.
|Rank||Debt Relief Service||Best For||Cost||Expert Rating|
|1||Accredited Debt Relief||Overall Debt Relief||18%-25% of debt||★★★★★|
|2||Freedom Debt Relief||Affordability||15%-25% of debt||★★★★|
|3||National Debt Relief||Debt Settlement||18%-25% of debt||★★★★|
|4||Payoff Loans||Debt Consolidation||5.99%-24.99% loan rates||★★★★|
|5||CuraDebt||Runner-Up||20% of debt, $59/month||★★★|
Debt consolidation and debt settlement are two different services. Debt consolidation services help you get a loan that will consolidate all of your debt, so you are only making one payment a month toward all of your debts. They often will negotiate a better interest rate on the loan so you aren’t paying extra interest to consolidate. The best debt consolidation companies also provide debt management and education, so you can learn how to handle your own debt.
Debt settlement services work a little differently. (Check out our review of Accredited Debt Relief to see how the services differ.) Debt settlement services will try to help you negotiate with your debtors so that you can settle your debts for less than what you owe. This can be a dangerous option, since some debt settlement services can use some tricky schemes to try to settle your debt, so it is good to research who you are working with before you commit to a company.
Keep in mind that neither debt settlement nor debt consolidation will help your credit score immediately. If you are looking to breathe some life into your credit score immediately after handling your debt, you can either use some credit repair techniques to do it yourself or hire one of the trusted credit repair services to help, like the two top-rated companies Sky Blue Credit Repair and Lexington Law.
Picking a good company can be tricky, but the first thing you should do is figure out your credit score. If you have good credit, you are more likely to find a debt consolidation loan with a low interest rate. If you have bad credit, your interest rate will probably be higher. Here are the best debt consolidation services for each credit class:
People with bad credit have fewer options when it comes to debt consolidation, which can make it harder to find a good company. This is because while the loan services above for Good and Average credit will allow you to use a loan for any type of debt, debt relief companies for those with bad credit generally only approve those with large amounts of credit card debt. In general, the companies require at least $10,000 in credit card debt, although some require larger credit card debts, and some will work with people that have smaller credit card debts. If you have bad credit, it’s especially helpful to undergo loan counseling before signing on with any debt relief companies; loan counseling will help you better understand how paying off your debts through loan consolidation will impact your day-to-day financial situation. Here’s a good breakdown of the best debt consolidation services for people with bad credit:
Contact: (877) 729-0051 | accrediteddebtrelief.com
Best For: Overall debt settlement. If you are looking for debt settlement, Accredited is your best option.
Price: Accredited Debt Relief charges pretty much the same as its competitors, at 18%-25% of the debt settled. The only company that offers better pricing is Freedom Debt Relief.
Features: The company focuses mostly on debt settlement. (If you are looking for debt consolidation, try a company like National Debt Relief.) Accredited is one of the only debt relief companies to also offer debt management tools to help you understand your debt and do some individual work on your debt issues.
Other highlights: Accredited operates in more states than most its competitors. You can get debt consolidation help in 39 of the 50 states with Accredited.
Customer Service: One of the main highlights of Accredited is its customer service. Representatives are understanding and helpful. You can contact Accredited via phone, email or chat.
Contact: (844) 752-5316 | freedomdebtrelief.com
Best for: Affordability. Freedom’s low point of the percentage it charges is lower than most other debt relief company, which is especially good if you have a high amount of debt to settle.
Price: Freedom Debt Relief charges 15 percent to 25 percent of whatever debt is settled — which is cheaper than most debt relief companies on the lower end — and there are no monthly fees.
Features: Freedom Debt Relief reviews show that services are really what give this debt settlement provider an edge. Not only does this company offer the traditional consolidation, reduction and bankruptcy options, but it also has credit counseling services and some guides on how to manage debt yourself.
Time frame: Like all the other debt settlement programs, it generally takes between 24 to 48 months for Freedom’s debt settlement program.
Other highlights: Freedom Debt Relief has good customer service, as well as solid online tools and a dedicated personal advisor to walk you through the debt settlement program.
Available states: Like National Debt Relief, Freedom only offers debt settlement in 34 of the 50 states,which is the max number of states that allow debt relief.
Customer Service: Exceptional customer service that is available every day of the week is another benefit to working with Freedom Debt Relief. Many other debt relief companies only operate Monday through Friday, but Freedom Debt Relief also has Saturday and Sunday hours that run into the evenings. You can contact them by phone or email, whichever works best for you.
Price: National Debt Relief is one of the more affordable debt consolidation services. First, it doesn’t charge a monthly service fee like most other debt consolidation and settlement services. Instead of fees, however, they charge 20 percent of whatever you end up saving by using their services. So if your debt is $10,000, and you end up paying only $9,000, they would receive $200. On the plus side, you can get a quote and a consultation for free with National Debt Relief.
BBB Rating: A (Also accredited by both the American Fair Credit Council and the International Association of Professional Debt Arbitrators.)
Features: National Debt Relief has the most features of any other debt consolidation and settlement service that we saw. It includes a free quote, no monthly fees, flexible payment schedule, services for secured and unsecured loans, professional advisors, self-help tools, mobile access to their site and budget planners. They also allow you to have a co-signer, which is important for most people who are stuck in debt.
Guarantee: One of the reasons we like National Debt Relief is because of their 100-percent money back guarantee. This apparently is fair game if the debts consolidation service doesn’t work for you or if you are not completely satisfied with the service, although we did not test to see how easy it is to get your money back with the guarantee.
Customer Service: The site also has a comprehensive customer service program, including access to a representative by phone, chat, email and social media. Although not always the speediest, the customer service answers to our questions were always helpful and informative.
Best for: Debt consolidation. Payoff deals in debt consolidation loans, and is one of the best at it, but if you are looking for debt settlement, Payoff is not the right choice.
Price: Payoff Loans range from 5.99% to 24.99%, depending on the lender and your qualifications for the loan.
Loan Amounts: You can borrow from $5,000 to $35,000 to pay off your credit card debt.
Features: Payoff concentrates more on debt consolidation than other loan companies. Its main concern is helping you pay off your debt, so it offers things like flexible payments, financial guidance and low starting rates.
Customer Service: Payoff is known for its great customer service, walking you through every step of the debt consolidation process. You can reach out to Payoff through online chat or a personal member advocate.
Contact: (877) 781-4170 | curadebt.com
Best for: Approval. CuraDebt is not one of the best debt relief companies, but if you aren’t approved by any of the companies above, you can apply to CuraDebt as a backup. It generally approves people who couldn’t get approved with other debt relief companies.
Price: CuraDebt is a little more expensive than National Debt Relief. They charge a $59 monthly fee plus 20 percent of what you save on the initial debt. It’s a little cheaper for debt settlement; there is no monthly fee, but they still charge 20 percent of what you save on the initial debt.
BBB Rating: N/A (Accredited by both the American Fair Credit Council and the International Association of Professional Debt Arbitrators.)
Features: CuraDebt was founded in 1996, which means it has been in business for more than a decade longer than National Debt Relief. CuraDebt offers most of the same features that National Debt Relief does, including free quote, flexible payment schedule, services for secured and unsecured loans, professional advisors to offer counseling, and self-help tools. One of the things that CuraDebt doesn’t offer that National Debt Relief does is the option of having a co-signer. They also don’t offer mobile access to your account. If you are having issues with identity theft wrecking your credit score and leaving you in debt, it might be a good idea to check out an identity theft protection service to help before you do debt consolidation. Check out our Lifelock review to learn more about identity theft protection.
Guarantee: CuraDebt doesn’t offer a money back guarantee.
Customer Service: CuraDebt only offers phone and email customer service options, which limits your options. It can be difficult to get an answer, but the customer service representatives are usually helpful and friendly, according to CuraDebt reviews.
People with good or excellent credit can usually be approved for a great debt consolidation loan that should help them pay down their debt quickly. It’s also much easier for people with superb credit to find one of the best companies to work with. Most loan companies offer lower interest rates with higher loan amounts to people with good or excellent credit, giving them more options than those with average or bad credit. Even if you have good credit, it’s a smart idea to make sure you go through loan counseling and understand exactly how the process to pay off your loan will work — after all, you don’t want to do anything that might put your good credit score at risk. Here are a few of the best online loan companies that offer debt consolidation loans for people with good credit:
Best For: Refinancing student loans. SoFi offers refinancing to those with lower credit scores (650 and above), which makes it easier for people to get financing.
Interest rates: The interest rates depend on the kind of loan you are applying for, but student loan refinancing interest rates are generally: Fixed: 4.25 percent to 7.75 percent APR. Variable: 2.97 percent to 6.15 percent APR.
Loan types: SoFi is best known for student loan refinancing, but it also offers actual student loans for your (or your child’s) education. In addition, it also offers mortgages and personal loans.
Unemployment protection: SoFi offers up to 12 months of protection from paying on your loan if you become unemployed. This is a great feature, although some lenders offer a longer period if you’re unable to pay due to unemployment.
Customer Service: SoFi is best known for its customer service skills and making loans accessible to a wider range of people.
Best for: Upstart debt consolidation is a good option for those who can’t get approved for a personal loan. Upstart looks at a wide range of factors to approve you, and it is known for approving those with 40 percent to 50 percent debt-to-income ratio, which is very uncommon for a loan company.
Price: Interest rates for loans from Upstart range from 8.36 percent to 29.99 percent, which is pretty standard for a loan.
Loan length: Upstart has a shorter loan length period than many banks, at 3-5 years, although that is still a good amount of time to pay off your loan.
Loan amount: Your loan amount will depend on your financial history and what you are using your loan for. Loans for paying off credit card bills will tend to be lower, while business loans will tend to be higher. Upstart’s loan amounts range from $1,000 to $50,000.
Criteria: An Upstart loan review determines who is eligible for a loan using a range of criteria, which include your credit score, years of credit, education, area of study and employment history.
Having average credit usually puts you in a better spot than people with bad credit, even if you’re not in as good a place as you would be if you had really great credit. With average credit, you have more options for debt consolidation loans that won’t restrict your qualifications based on debt amount or type of debt. That being said, you won’t be able to work with the top companies, and you will probably have to pay a higher interest rate on your debt consolidation loan than those with good credit. As we advised those who have either bad or good credit scores, it’s very important to take advantage of loan counseling before making a decision or committing to working with any debt relief companies. You want to make sure the terms are going to be in your best interest and that you fully understand how the process to pay off the loan will work. Here are a few online loan companies that offer debt consolidation loans to people with average credit:
Interest rates: Prosper’s rates fluctuate depending on your credit and other factors that it uses to determine your eligibility for a loan. The APR ranges between 6.73 percent and 35.97 percent. There is also an origination fee, which ranges between 1 percent and 5 percent. Prosper’s late fee is $15 or 5 percent, whichever is greater, and the check-processing fee is $15.
Loan qualifications: Unlike some other online loan services we review, you need at least a good credit score (instead of average), proof of income and a low (30 percent or below) debt-to-income ratio to get approved for a loan by Prosper.
Loan amounts: The maximum loan amount for Prosper is $35,000, which is in line with most other online loan providers, while the minimum loan amount is $2,000, which is not the lowest minimum among online person loan providers, but still makes Prosper a good option for those who are just looking for a quick, low-cost loan.
Partial loans: Prosper does offer partial loans. If your loan is at least 70 percent funded before the 14 days are up, you can choose to take the 70 percent of your loan or cancel the loan and apply again.
Interest rates: PersonalLoans.com connects applicants with a variety of lenders based on their financial information, so interest rates vary widely depending on the lender and your own financial information.
Loan qualifications: Since PersonalLoans.com works with a variety of lenders, it can be easier to get approved if you have average credit since lenders decide who they want to work with.
Loan amounts: The maximum loan amount for PersonalLoans.com is $35,000 while the minimum loan amount is $1,000, which is probably the lowest you can get with a personal loans service.
Customer Service: You can get in touch with PersonalLoans.com via phone or email.
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