Does national debt relief ruin your credit?
When you use a debt settlement company like National Debt Relief, you can expect a credit drop by as much as 100 points; however, the company states that if you're able to settle your debts, the credit impact is about half of what it would be if you were to declare bankruptcy.
Pros & Cons of debt settlement with National Debt Relief
However, debt settlement does go on your credit report. It won't leave as severe a mark as a bankruptcy would, but it will stain your report for seven years. Anytime you escape debt for less than you owe, there likely will be repercussions.
Negative impact to your credit score: Unfortunately, most types of debt forgiveness, including filing for bankruptcy, seeking a short sale for your home or applying for credit card forgiveness, will hurt your credit score.
However, a debt settlement does not mean that your life needs to stop. You can begin rebuilding your credit score little by little. Your credit score will usually take between 6-24 months to improve. It depends on how poor your credit score is after debt settlement.
While settling your debts for a reduced amount can help you pay off debt faster and regain your financial footing, it's not for everyone. "Debt relief should be your last resort, reserved just before taking the step toward bankruptcy," Camberato says.
National Debt Relief is accredited by the American Fair Credit Council and the Better Business Bureau, where it has an A+ rating. The company also has a customer rating of 4.7 out of five stars on Trustpilot, where only 5% of over 37,000 reviews rate the company three stars or lower.
Yes, you can buy a home after debt settlement. You'll just have to meet the lender's requirements to qualify for a mortgage. Unfortunately, that could be harder after you settle debt.
Warning: There could be tax consequences for debt forgiveness. If a portion of your debt is forgiven by the creditor, it could be counted as taxable income on your federal income taxes. You may want to consult a tax advisor or tax attorney to learn how forgiven debt affects your federal income tax.
While not as devastating as a bankruptcy, debt settlement will have a negative impact on your credit score if you work directly with your creditors, as the settlement may be reported by the creditor to each of the three leading credit bureaus.
Creditors don't want you to use the cards when you're having a benefit from a debt management program. But if there's a card that you can keep out of the program, you can do that. You can keep the card out and use it for emergencies.
Which is better debt relief or debt consolidation?
While consolidating debt can temporarily impact your credit score due to a credit inquiry and the new account, it generally has a less severe and shorter-lived impact than debt settlement. Your credit history remains intact, and as you make on-time payments on the consolidated loan, your score will improve over time.
For example, the National Debt Relief allows you to cancel the program at any time if they're unable to settle the debt or you aren't satisfied with their services. You won't be charged any penalties or cancellation fees, and you'll have your money back.
Summary: Ultimately, it's better to pay off a debt in full than settle. This will look better on your credit report and help you avoid a lawsuit. If you can't afford to pay off your debt fully, debt settlement is still a good option.
As with most other negative credit report entries, settled accounts stay on your credit reports for seven years.
It can be expensive.
Many of the companies we considered charge fees between 15% and 25% of the unsecured debt enrolled in the program.
Debt Settlement Program Disadvantages
Debt settlement companies can charge a fee for each credit card debt they settle. If you have 4-5 cards, they may only settle three of them, but get rejected by the others. Thus you will have paid a fee and the problem is still unsolved.
Persistence is key. Removing a settled account from your credit report isn't easy, but it is possible with some effort and persistence. If the original creditor or collection agency won't agree to remove the account, file a dispute with one of the three major bureaus.
A debt settlement company negotiates with your creditors. Often, it will require you to stop paying your creditors and make payments into a savings account. It will then use your money to pay your debt and collect the fees you owe.
Perhaps the most common debts that cannot be discharged under any circumstances are child support, back taxes, and alimony.
The writeoff: The debt settlement company pays the lender the settled amount, clearing the debt. The lender then writes off the balance that wasn't paid for as part of the settlement offer. Keep in mind that the amount of money the lender writes off is considered income for tax purposes.
How do you get debt erased?
Chapter 7 bankruptcy: This fairly quick legal process can wipe out your unsecured debts through what's called a “discharge.” Chapter 13 bankruptcy: Chapter 13 can also result in a discharge, but typically only after you complete a 3-5 year repayment plan.
- Opt for debt relief. One powerful approach to managing and reducing your credit card debt is with the help of debt relief companies. ...
- Use the snowball or avalanche method. ...
- Find ways to increase your income. ...
- Cut unnecessary expenses. ...
- Seek credit counseling. ...
- Use financial windfalls.
You can still use credit cards after you consolidate your debt. Consolidating credit cards means you move all of your debt to one account, which resets your credit limits. Once your credit card balance is zero, you can still use it as long as you don't close the account.
Lenders might not advertise it, but most of them have a minimum credit score required to get a loan. If your score is less than 670, you might be out of luck for a debt consolidation loan. Even if you're over 670, a problematic debt-to-income ratio (more on that below) or payment history could derail your loan.
Bankruptcy is a legal path where you file in court and work with a trustee to discharge or pay back some debts. Debt relief includes various programs or plans to get you out of debt without declaring bankruptcy. Either path can be right for you, but it is important to understand debt relief's pros and cons.