If you are having trouble paying your bills, you should consider debt settlement, which can also be considered as a form of negotiation that results in the overall improvement of your financial condition. Debt settlement is when you attempt to reduce and negotiate down the principal on your outstanding unpaid bills, late fees, and other debts. If successful, you can eliminate anywhere from 40-60% of the outstanding balance. All forms of debt can be settled, including credit card, medical, and more. The creditor will then forgive this amount that you didn’t pay, thereby assisting you with getting back in control of your financial future over a reasonable period of time. Find more information below, as well as details on which credit card issuers offer settlement programs.
It can assist with reducing your credit card debt, payday loans, past bills that you owe on car loans, or other expenses. It can even provide a consumer with settlement on any unpaid personal loans that they may have. Some of the many benefits of debt settlement include the following:
Allows you to avoid bankruptcy: If someone is successful with the debt settlement process, you can eliminate a large percentage of your unpaid bills and debt burden. This will then allow the individual to pay off the remaining balance on their bills, and do it somewhat comfortably, over a usually extended payment period. they will not have the threat of bankruptcy hanging over them.
To start this process, you can negotiate directly with a collection agency or your creditors. The primary goal is to try to settle your debts for only as much as you can afford to pay. Or you can use the services of a third party, such as a debt settlement company or credit counselor. If you settle your debts this way, out of the court process, then you will not need to file for bankruptcy protection.
Single payment: You will have to make just one, single monthly payment to the settlement company instead of paying multiple bills to different creditors each month. This simplifies the individuals bill paying process and reduces the risk of further delinquencies. The monthly payments made are accumulated into a trust account that will be used to pay off your creditors when the negotiations are complete. This will help you avoid the stress of paying various debts at different interest rates at a different times. You will also not longer need to deal with several different creditors at the same time.
Stop unfair collection practices: It will allow you to avoid unfair harassment and collection practices by debt collectors if you negotiate a settlement. They will stop calling as the amount that you owe will be greatly reduced and the clock on when the money is due will be “reset”.
Eliminate extra fees and charges: The debt settlement company should be able to eliminate late payment fees and charges, if you have any. Any over-the-limit fees on credit cards or bills can also be greatly minimized, if not eliminated by way of the settlement process.
Avoid legal actions or a lawsuit: Creditors or debt collectors can file a lawsuit against you, get a judgment order, garnish your paycheck or wages, or place lien on your property. You should be able to avoid such legal actions and lawsuits if you're in a settlement program. Click here for more information on collectors.
While the process may vary slightly based on your approach, in general debt settlement companies will offer a program to those who need help, and the companies will negotiate with your creditors or collection agencies. The companies will typically charge you an upfront fee for their services, but you can also find companies that you only need to pay if they save you money, so they in effect work on a contingency basis.
Whether you decide to use a credit card debt settlement program or try to use a program that settles other debts, such as personal loans, you will need to stop paying your creditors. However only due this one you are told to by the company you are working with. Instead, any monthly payments you make should be sent directly to the settlement company, which will then deposit the funds into a trust account in your name.
After enough funds are accumulated in the trust account, debt settlement companies will proceed to negotiate with your creditors, collection agencies and attempt to stop all collection efforts.
You can settle medical bills, credit card debt and bills, store/gas cards, personal and payday loans, etc. Debts that can’t be settled normally include alimony, tax debts, mortgages, child support, car loans and federally insured student loans.
Find tips for how to do this. You do need to know that negotiating with a doctor or a hospital is usually easier than negotiating with other types of lenders. This is the case as medical care is a service and medical providers and hospitals are more reluctant to sue you, and they are more willing to come to terms with you. Find ways to settle medical debt. More.
How much will I need to pay for settlement
Regardless of the type of account being settled (whether medical, payday loan, or credit cards) debt settlement companies typically charge about 25-35% of the balance that is eliminated under these programs. The fees are based on factors including :
About how long will it take to settle my debts
No matter what type of debt or expense you are trying to settle, it usually will takes 2-4 years to complete the program. The exact amount of time it takes to complete the program will depend upon your total debt amount, your total income. any fees that couldn’t be waived, and other factors.
Can creditors sue after settlement?
No. After you compete negotiation and proceed with a debt settlement program,, collectors and creditors can’t come after you for the balance and can’t sue you in most states. It is illegal in most states such as Texas, Arkansas, Georgia, Michigan, Washington and many others. Make sure this is documented as part of the agreement agreed upon.
What credit card issuers offer programs?
Many companies offer debt settlement programs to consumers who ask for them. If you enter into a program on your own you may be able to save money as you will not need to pay a third party. Find examples of Bank of America debt settlement programs and how they are helping people across the country. Discover Card, JP Morgan Chase, and Citibank also make programs available to customers who need help. Or click here to find a list of the programs from all the major issuers.
It is possible you may owe taxes on your debt
After you go through a debt settlement process, or if you go for credit card settlement, creditors will forgive a substantial percentage of what you owe them. The amount that is forgiven, which is then known as cancellation-of-debt (COD) income, may be taxable as per IRS guidelines. However, if the debt is settled because of a protest, you usually will not need to pay taxes on that amount.
How does debt settlement affect my credit score
There will be an impact, but it is less than many alternatives such as filing bankruptcy or never paying a bill. When you stop paying creditors and accumulate funds to eventually settle the debt, some of your outstanding accounts may be charged off by the creditor. What this means is that the creditors may no longer consider your unpaid bills as collectible. The creditor may even decide to sell off your account to a collection agency who will then try to collect the debt from you.
It is important to note that when the debt settlement companies start negotiating with your creditors and on your bills, the creditor at that point can’t send it to a collections agency and agree to accept a partial payment. The creditor will then report your account status to the various national credit bureaus, such that it appears on your next credit report as "Settled charge off".
A “Settled charge off" will impact your credit score much less negatively than a bankruptcy filing on your credit report. So the bottom line is that a credit card debt settlement, or the settlement on any other bill or debt, will almost always hurt your credit score for the time being. However, it is a shorter term impact as after the account is paid off in full, your credit scores will improve gradually if you keep making timely payments towards your bills and liabilities. It is easier to repair your credit from these programs than it is using some alternatives.
Pros and Cons
Like all options and most things in life, there are various pros and cons in debt settlement, and various things to consider. Read more on some of these items. Or click here to compare a debt settlement program vs. debt consolidation options, as they do have their differences.
How can I repair my credit after debt settlement?
You have several options. They include:
Debt settlement programs are a solid option that you should explore and they can provide an easy way to get out of debt, including credit card and medical. They are not always perfect, as there are a few restrictions to credit card debt negotiations. You need to try to make sure that you deal with any of the debt settlement companies (BBB certified) that are reputable and that can negotiate to offer you the best deal and save you the most money.
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