Thinking about debt settlement to pay off your bills and debt? When it comes to paying off debt, you have lots of options. But which one is right for your specific financial situation? If you’ve recently done your homework on debt settlement; how it works. the pros and cons, then you can skip to our review and comparison section below. If you’re still in the research phase, it may be beneficial to you learn more about debt settlement below.
What is Debt Settlement?
Here’s how debt settlement works in a nutshell. Third-party debt settlement companies offer to settle your debt with creditors at a discount. You’ll receive a lump sum amount to divide and pay amongst your creditors. This is provided your creditors are willing to negotiate. Some creditors will not accept the discount on your debt, which is not ideal. In this case, you’d still pay your debt settlement loan, plus payments to any creditors that do not accept the plan. The company you work with will charge a fee, based on the total amount of debt they save you.
All debt relief options come with their advantages and disadvantages. The right option for you depends on your financial situation and goals. Listed below are a few key advantages of this type of debt relief.
- Debt settlement companies negotiate your financial situation with creditors, often giving you better rates, terms, and even paying loans off in full for a discount of the total amount owed.
- It lowers the total amount of debt you owe
- It’s a reliable option to help you avoid bankruptcy
- It helps get creditors and debt collectors off your back
As with anything in the financial world, debt settlement comes with its disadvantages. For many people in sever debt, the disadvantages clearly outweigh the risks involved.
- Creditors are not guaranteed to accept your debt negotiation
- You can end up in further debt, if something comes up and you can’t repay the loan
- In the event your debt can’t be settled, you may still have to pay fees and charges
- Debt settlement could negatively impact your credit score
That said, you should consider alternatives. Here’s a few alternatives you can try before jumping in the deep end.
Debt Settlement Alternatives
If you’ve decided you still want to approach debt settlement companies, skip this section. However, if you’ve decided the risks simply aren’t worth it, here are a few alternatives that may be more beneficial.
- Credit Counseling (Preferred) – This is typically a free resource you can use to get your finances under control. The key is to find a legitimate non-profit credit counseling organization that doesn’t charge fees. Here’s how it works: a credit counselor will review your household budget, review your credit report, and offer solid advice on getting out of debt. Often, they will also recommend a debt management plan to help you get out of debt faster. Just beware of counselors that attempt to charge you fees for their services or education.
- Local Credit Unions – While credit unions typically don’t offer credit counseling, they can offer you a lower-interest loan to pay off all of your debts, leaving you with one monthly payment every month. The key here is to call each of your creditors and negotiate your debt payoff yourself. Most creditors are willing to negotiate if you plan on paying your debt off in one lump sum payment, and give you a discount for doing so. That, or they may reduce your interest rates. Each creditor is different in how they approach consumer debt payoff.