Debt settlement services can be an attractive option for those looking to address their debt. With a little help from a third-party negotiator, they can settle their debts for a fraction of what they originally owed, allowing them to get out of debt much sooner and with more money in their pocket. But is a debt settlement service the right choice for everyone? Here are the pros and cons of using a debt settlement service.
Lower Total Debt
The biggest benefit of using a debt settlement service is that it can significantly lower your total debt. A debt negotiation company can negotiate with creditors to reduce the amount you owe. There is no guarantee that the creditor will agree to lower the debt, but a debt settlement company will have more leverage when negotiating than an individual will. This could result in your debt being reduced by as much as 50-75%.
For those struggling to keep up with their payments, filing for bankruptcy is often seen as the only way out. However, a debt settlement service can help those in debt avoid the financial and personal impacts of filing for bankruptcy. Through settlement, individuals can settle their debt without filing for bankruptcy, allowing them to avoid the negative impacts it can have on their credit score, budget, and reputation.
Improve Credit Score
Though a debt settlement may have a negative effect on your credit score initially, after you’ve successfully paid off the negotiated debt amount it is likely to gradually improve. This is because the creditor has removed the debt from your credit report and it no longer appears as an unpaid debt. This helps your debt-to-credit ratio, which is an important factor in determining your credit score.
Before a debt settlement service begins negotiating with creditors, they often require an upfront fee. This fee can vary depending on the company and the amount of debt you have, but it is usually around 15-20% of the total debt. This money is non-refundable, meaning that if the company is unsuccessful in negotiating with your creditor, you will not be able to recoup the cost of the fee.
When a creditor agrees to lower your debt, they may also impose a penalty fee on top of the amount you owe them. These fees can be quite expensive and can result in your total debt being higher than when you started.
Impact on Credit Score
Though declining to make payments can have a serious impact on your credit score, a debt settlement may also have a negative impact as well. When a debt settlement company successfully negotiates with a creditor, the creditor may note “settled” or “paid as agreed” on your credit report, signaling to future lenders that you settled your debt with a third-party company.
Debt settlement services can be a great way to reduce your debt and avoid bankruptcy. However, it is important to be aware of the potential risks associated with using a debt settlement service. Before entering into a debt settlement agreement, it is important to weigh the pros and cons, and make sure it is the right choice for you.