Essentially, credit-repair services work to remove negative items such as judgments, liens, foreclosures, bankruptcies, and late payments from your record. They do this by getting your report from all three agencies — Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian — and identifying disputable items in each. They then file disputes on this information, and stay in communication with the agencies until the item is removed.
Credit cards can be easy to get into trouble with because after you make a payment, unless you’re maxed out, you can use your credit card again. Low interest credit cards are no exception. Before you apply for a low rate credit card to consolidate other debts, make a free, confidential appointment with one of our Credit Counsellors and look at other debt consolidation options. To learn more about consolidating debt with credit cards, click here.
To “settle your debts” means to offer your creditors a one-time lump sum payment to pay off part of what you owe them. In return, they will write off what you aren’t able to pay back. It is important to speak with one of our Debt Settlement Specialists to find out if signing a debt settlement agreement with your creditors is a good option for you. There are long term consequences to your credit rating when you have debt written off against you. Get all the facts before you sign. To find out more of the pros and cons of consolidating debt using debt settlement services, click here.

If you've already fallen behind on your monthly payments or can no longer afford your minimum payments, we want to talk to you. If can't see any way to improve your financial situation without taking a drastic step like declaring bankruptcy, we may be able to help. What's more, we have years of experience with clients who face exacerbating circumstances like divorce, death in the family, unemployment, long-term medical issues and other problems.
After you’ve resolved the negative items on your credit report, work on getting positive information added. Just like late payments severely hurt your credit score, timely payments help your score. If you have some credit cards and loans being reported on time, good. Continue to keep those balances at a reasonable level and make your payments on time.
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Your account is then considered “settled” on your credit report. Debt settlement can have a negative impact on your credit score for a long time—typically seven years! Yes, seven years. In other words, if your credit score were one year old at the time of a settlement, it could be in the third grade and studying long division before it finally recovered.
Debt settlement companies also charge a fee for their "service." Most of the time, settlement fees cost between $1,500 to $3,500. Fraudulent debt settlement companies often tell customers to stop making payments on their debts and instead pay the company. Once their fee is accounted for, they promise to negotiate with your creditors and settle your debts. Sounds great, right? Well, the debt settlement companies usually don’t deliver on helping you with your debt after they take your money. They’ll leave you on the hook for late fees and additional interest payments on debt they promised to help you pay!
If you've already used up your free credit reports for this year, you can order your credit reports directly from the credit bureaus for a fee. The bureaus all offer a three-in-one credit report that lists all three of your credit reports side-by-side. The three-in-one credit report costs more than a single credit report, but less than the combined price of purchasing your three individual credit reports.

Happily, consumer protection laws now require credit card issuers to disclose the precise length of time that the "minimum payment plan" takes to work for each customer. When you get your next credit card bill, look for the box that says something like "If you make only the minimum payment on this balance, you will pay a total of 'X' dollars and take 'Y' years to pay off your balance."


One common way to get a lower interest rate on a loan is to add a co-signer who will also be responsible for the loan should you not be able to make payments. This makes your loan less of a risk, so your interest rate won’t be as high. This being said, you are putting your co-signer’s credit score at risk, so make sure you can meet your requirements.
If your debt is from student loans, you should consider student loan consolidation. Student loan consolidation allows you to combine multiple student loan payments into a single one. Under certain circumstances, such as extending your student loan term or reducing your interest rate, you can save money on student loan payments with student loan consolidation.
For example, if you owed $5000 on a credit card you could contact the issuer and offer to make a lump sum payment of $2500 to settle the debt. If you can prove that you are suffering from a serious financial hardship the credit card company might agree to settle for the $2500. You will need to have the documentation available to prove you really have a serious financial hardship including a list of all your debts, the amount you owe on each, the last time you were able to make a payment on them and any minimum payments.
We need a step change in its approach. Times, Sunday Times (2012)We hope this award signals the need for a step change by policymakers and the wider society. Times, Sunday Times (2014)We are going to need a step change. Times, Sunday Times (2006)Big companies are listening and are ready to make the kind of step changes that are needed. Times, Sunday Times (2009)We need a step change in how we challenge this but my worry is that brandishing a stick over people's heads is not going to work. Times, Sunday Times (2011)
You’re entitled to a free credit report if a company takes “adverse action” against you, like denying your application for credit, insurance, or employment. You have to ask for your report within 60 days of receiving notice of the action. The notice includes the name, address, and phone number of the consumer reporting company. You’re also entitled to one free report a year if you’re unemployed and plan to look for a job within 60 days; if you’re on welfare; or if your report is inaccurate because of fraud, including identity theft.

Additionally, the company makes it a bit difficult if you’re trying to pay your loan off early. If you want any extra payments to go toward the principal (and not interest), you’ll have to schedule your extra payment to occur on the same day as your normal monthly payment. There’s no other way to specify that you want extra payments to go toward your principal balance.
Before anything else, you first need to need to know if you qualify for the loan. Most lenders have a minimum FICO score – this represents their risk appetite. Even if you find what you believe to be the best company to get a loan from, you will have to look for other options if you do not meet their requirements. Therefore, if you have a relatively low FICO score, be realistic and expect higher APRs. On the other end, if you have an excellent FICO score, your options will be a lot broader.
If you've already fallen behind on your monthly payments or can no longer afford your minimum payments, we want to talk to you. If can't see any way to improve your financial situation without taking a drastic step like declaring bankruptcy, we may be able to help. What's more, we have years of experience with clients who face exacerbating circumstances like divorce, death in the family, unemployment, long-term medical issues and other problems.
Come-ons like these can be especially seductive for people seeking to buy a home and apply for a mortgage who have negative items in their credit reports. In order to qualify for a loan, they're told, they need to make their credit look better — mainly by neutralizing the bad stuff in their files at the national credit bureaus, whether it's accurate or not. But mortgage and credit industry experts warn that repair services can be far more harmful to homebuyers than they suspect — even getting them rejected on the spot.
Under federal law, credit repair companies are prohibited from requesting or requiring payments upfront until they can document that they have achieved actual improvements to a client's credit report or score. Up until then, consumers shouldn't have to pay a cent. The companies involved in the new settlements allegedly sought to evade this requirement by requiring payment of a sliding series of fees — an initial "consultation" charge typically costing $59.95, hundreds of dollars for a "set-up fee" and monthly fees of $89.99.
The debt settlement process can also relieve considerable stress for homeowners who are struggling with oppressive debt by taking over the communication process and stopping collection calls to the consumer. Even though a consumer’s credit score may suffer, chances are strong that it already took a hit anyway, and the damage would certainly be not as severe or long lasting as a bankruptcy.
You can learn more about debt consolidation laws to make sure you’re protected. If you decide to work with a debt settlement company it’s important that you choose one carefully. National Debt Relief is accredited by the Better Business Bureau with an A+ rating and belongs to the American Fair Credit Council, which is the watchdog of the debt settlement business. In order to be a member of this Council, we are pledged to treating our customers transparently, honestly, ethically and fairly.
While many people focus on the interest rates associated with loans, there are other things to keep in mind as well. If you want to make sure that you get the best deal, you also need to think of fees. Many loan companies try to hide the true cost of their loans by adding in fees at the end of the process. Always make sure that you check the terms of the loans to make sure that there aren’t any hidden fees.
Lower monthly payment: A debt consolidation loan can help you avoid missed payments and defaulting on issuer agreements, even if you need to choose a longer term length. With a debt consolidation loan that lowers your monthly payments, but not your interest, you will pay more in total but have payments that are easier to handle. That way, you’re less likely to be subject to additional fees and penalty APRs that come with missing a payment.
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