Debt Relief

Debt Relief

We Are The Solution
Get Control of Your Debt.
Get relief and regain financial peace of mind.

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What Is Debt Relief?

Debt relief refers to a variety of strategies for making debt easier to handle. What debt relief looks like for you may hinge on the types of debts you have and what you need help with most.

For example, you may need credit card debt relief if you’re struggling to pay off credit card bills. Or you may be interested in debt consolidation if you have several types of debt to pay off.

Credit counseling, debt management plans and debt settlement also fall under the debt relief umbrella. While the means are different, the end goal is similar. Debt relief is about helping people find a workable path for eliminating debt.

Types of Debt Relief

There are five major forms of debt relief. Though the methods and timeframe for each one varies, it’s best to allow 3-5 years to erase the debt completely and rebuild your credit.

Here are the five options:

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Credit counseling

Sometimes debt relief is as simple as building a budget to see where money comes and goes and cutting back where there is excessive spending. Unfortunately, only 40% of consumers work off a budget. Counselors from nonprofit agencies are experts at budgeting and provide this service for free.

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This is a last-ditch choice when the other four won’t work. However, if it’s going to take more than five years to pay all your bills with one of the other four options, this is a workable solution. You get a second chance, a fresh start, and hopefully, you’ve learned enough not to repeat mistakes again.

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Debt consolidation

Gather all your unsecured debts (i.e. credit card bills) and consolidate them into one monthly payment. If your credit score is good enough, you should lower both your interest rate and monthly payment.

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Debt management

A nonprofit credit counseling agency works with lenders to reduce (sometimes dramatically) the interest rate on your debt and lower the monthly payment to a level you can afford. Credit scores are not a factor for joining the program, but if you miss payments, any concessions you received could be terminated.

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Debt settlement

A company negotiates with your lenders to settle a debt for less than what is owed, which sounds too good to be true and usually is. Lenders are not obligated to settle and some won’t. Also, your credit report is damaged for seven years.

How Does Debt Relief Work?

Debt relief typically works this way:

you enroll your unsecured accounts into a debt relief program with a debt settlement company. You stop making payments to your creditors. You and your debt consultant come up with an amount that you can afford, and you put that money into a debt settlement savings account each month.

Negotiations begin with creditors when your debt consultant feels that you have saved enough to make an acceptable offer. At that point, your debt consultant would approach the first creditor about settling your account. This typically takes four to six months.

You continue to make your monthly payments into your debt settlement savings account as your accounts are settled one by one. You pay no fees to a debt settlement company until it settles a debt for you. If you can come up with money faster – perhaps by cutting expenses or selling things you don’t need – you can speed up the settlement process.

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What to Know Before You Apply for Debt Relief

Debt relief programs can help you get out from under your debt burden. But it’s a decision that needs to be made carefully. It isn’t necessarily a perfect solution and there may be some serious trade-offs to make.

Before getting started with debt relief, here are three important things to consider.

  • Interest

    Debt consolidation loans or lines of credit and 0% balance transfer offers can provide credit card debt relief. But consider the cost involved.

    Ideally, consolidating debt results in a lower interest rate. A lower APR means more of your monthly payment goes toward the principal so you can repay your debt faster. You also accrue less interest over your repayment period.

    If you’re interested in how to consolidate debt, first consider the rates you may qualify for based on your credit score. And, if you’re interested in something like a debt management plan, ask whether a rate reduction is a possibility when working out repayment terms.

  • Fees

    There may be fees associated with some debt relief options and it’s helpful to factor those in when deciding whether the cost is worth it.

    For instance, credit counselors may or may not charge a fee to help you create a budget and spending plan. With debt consolidation loans, there are loan origination fees and prepayment penalties to watch out for. If you’re using a 0% APR balance transfer credit card to consolidate debt, then you may pay a balance transfer fee.

    If you’re interested in a debt management plan, there may be a monthly fee required to enroll. And companies that negotiate debt settlement also can charge a fee for their services, sometimes as much as 15% to 25% of the amount settled or forgiven.

    Since fees can add to the total amount you have to repay, it’s important to know what you’re paying up front and how it can add up over the long term.

  • Scams

    When you’re interested in debt relief services, whether it’s credit counseling, a debt management plan or debt forgiveness, it’s important to ensure that the company you’re working with is legitimate. Otherwise, you run the risk of falling victim to a debt relief scam.

    You also want to understand the differences, as outlined above, among debt consolidation, debt management plans and debt settlement. Not all debt relief providers use these terms clearly enough for you to understand what you’re getting into unless you read or listen very carefully.

    As you compare debt relief companies, be aware of the following red flags:

  • Demands for fees that must be paid before services can be offered
  • Lack of transparency in explaining what the company does or provides
  • Requests for access to personal or banking information
  • Promises or guarantees that seem too good to be true

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) maintains a database of consumer complaints regarding debt relief companies and other financial services providers. You can check the database, along with the Better Business Bureau, to verify a company’s reputation.

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What kinds of debt can I settle with debt relief?

Debt relief is not for loans secured by collateral, like mortgages or auto financing. If you stop paying those secured creditors, they can foreclose on your home or repossess your car. However, debt relief can work with unsecured creditors. Here are the most common types of unsecured loans that you might be able to settle with debt relief:

  • Credit card debt
  • Unsecured personal loans
  • Medical bills
  • Private (not government-guaranteed) student loans
  • Peer-to-peer (P2P) loans

When attempting debt settlement, you could be dealing with the original creditor, a debt buyer, or a collection agency.

How Do You Qualify For Debt Relief?

There is no set standard for qualifying with Money Fit due to the credit counseling services provided is available, at no cost, to any individual seeking to improve their financial situation.

After the consultation, if you and your counselor decide to proceed with a debt management plan, the qualifications for our organization to be of assistance is that there are the following items in place:

  • There is an established hardship or need for the service.
  • The debt added to the repayment program must be unsecured.
  • You must show the ability to make one consolidated monthly payment.
  • There is a maximum amount of debt, however, generally, we advise and show consumers how to repay the debt on their own if that amount is under $1,000.
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How Does Debt Relief Affect Your Credit?

Debt relief has the potential to affect your credit reports and credit scores, although the actual impact depends on which option you choose and where your credit score was to start.

With debt settlement, you may need to be several months’ behind on payments in order to negotiate a payoff agreement. Most of the damage to your credit may already have been done, as late payments can be detrimental to your score.

A debt management plan may have a minimal impact on your credit if your creditors continue to report the account as paid as agreed. Credit counseling may have no impact on your credit at all. It could even help to raise your credit score if you’re able to reduce debts and make payments on time after working out a repayment plan.

Before opting in to any type of loan or credit card relief plan, read the fine print first to check for any mention of credit score impacts. It’s also helpful to monitor your credit reports and scores regularly to detect any changes to either one.

What Is The Best Debt Relief Program?

The best approach to achieving a debt-free life will usually lead the consumer through the following options:

  1. Try to pay on your own, including negotiating with your creditors and the use of consolidation loans/balance transfers
  2. Work with a nonprofit consumer credit counseling agency
  3. Consider if debt settlement might be helpful, particularly with collection accounts
  4. Speak with a bankruptcy attorney

Repaying your debt on your own is the best first step because you minimize the fees you pay to others. If you cannot negotiate lower interest rates and repayment terms with your creditors, a credit counselor should be your next stop. What support is there for this recommendation?

For individuals and households with a steady income who are dealing with or have already tried to work directly with their creditors but to no avail, nonprofit programs offer the best possibility for success in repaying 100% of their debts over the short term (within 5 years or less).

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Debt relief advantages and disadvantages


  • Repayment of debt is made with a low-interest rate, or the sum paid is lower than what one owed the actual amount to the creditor.
  • The debt can be repaid quickly in a short period, usually in 2 hours-4 years, under a good debt settlement program.
  • It prevents an individual or a company from falling into a debt trap wherein the pressure of paying a debt. More debts are taken to pay the previous debt owed, and thus sooner or later, the debt figures become a huge amount.
  • As mentioned above, there are four types of debt relief before we finally move into the last type, which is bankruptcy. Thus, the program typically protects an individual or business from getting bankrupt.


  • The main disadvantage of debt relief is that though some of the debt is written off, this also comes with lowering the credit score. That is because the late payments of the written-off amount are recorded at the credit rating agency, and thus the credit score is reduced.
  • This program comes with many hidden charges that need to be paid to the debt relief companies, which may be higher.
  • If the amount we settle or are forgiven is more than $600, this is taxable income, and we must pay tax on it.
  • The creditor can file a debt collection lawsuit against the debt seeker.
  • There is no guarantee the lender will be obligated to accept the settlement offer. In addition, some lenders do not like working with debt relief companies, and thus the debt seeker can be fined more late charges and penalties on the existing debt.

How much do debt relief programs cost?

Common debt relief program charges work out to 15% to 25% of the total debts enrolled in a program. This means that, if you sign up for a debt settlement program with $10,000 in credit card debt, you may end up paying $1,500 to $2,500 to get it resolved.

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What Is The Difference Between Debt Relief And Debt Consolidation?

Debt Relief

  1. Negotiate for a lower total outstanding and repay it in a pre-agreed timeframe
  2. Late payments and non-payment records may hurt your credit score
  3. Nil charges when you initiate it on your own and negotiate with the lender
  4. You can settle debts for less than what you actually owe and escape collection proceedings, such as creditor lawsuits.

Debt Consolidation

  1. Combine all your loans into one single loan with a lower rate of interest and attractive repayment tenure
  2. Helps improving your credit utilization ratio and thus your credit score
  3. Various charges and fees included similar to a new loan
  4. Depending on the length of the restructured loan term, you could end up paying more in total interest over time than what you originally owed

Is it good to do a debt relief program?

Debt relief programs aren’t for everyone. They are a solution for serious debt problems, not a get-out-of-jail-free card for people who just don’t want to pay what they owe. Consider both the pros and cons of debt relief before committing to a program.

Debt relief may be a good solution if you can’t afford the minimum payments on your debt or if your debt is creating hardship for your family. It can be a better solution than bankruptcy if you don’t want a public filing, if you have a previous bankruptcy, or if you don’t want a bankruptcy court taking total control of your finances.

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Struggling with Debt Relief

Call the Debt Relief Helpline to speak with a debt counselor. We help you resolve your debt faster for a fraction of what you owe.