Advertised typical savings around 5% to 10% less than other companies
Out-of-date accredited badges on website
What is Accredited Debt Relief and is it legit?
Accredited Debt Relief is an arm of Beyond Finance, which offers debt settlement, and operates under both names. Both offer direct negotiations with creditors to reduce your balance in exchange for a one-time payment.
And both are accredited with the International Association of Professional Debt Arbitrators (IAPDA), a trade organization that sets standards for the debt relief industry. Its debt specialists are IAPDA-certified.
Beyond Finance is also accredited with the American Fair Credit Council (AFCC) — though Accredited Debt Relief is not. We noticed that Accredited Debt Relief advertises that it’s BBB-accredited on its website, even though it’s not. Beyond Finance is BBB-accredited, however.
Accredited Debt Relief reviews and complaints
BBB customer reviews
4.61 out of 5 stars, based on 160 customer reviews
BBB customer complaints
4.8 out of 5 stars, based on 3,354 customer reviews
Customer reviews verified as of
20 October 2020
Accredited Debt Relief gets mostly positive customer reviews. But most are reviews from customers who have just signed up for debt relief services — not from people who have completed the program.
This speaks well for the quality of customer service. But reviews skew more negative if you look for customers who have been in the program for a period of time. Some report they defaulted on their loan. Others state that the company wasn’t upfront about how and when it deducted fees.
How does Accredited Debt Relief work?
Accredited Debt Relief works by negotiating down the balances of the credit accounts you enroll in exchange for a one-time payment. Here’s how the process generally breaks down.
Free consultation. A debt specialist helps you decide if debt settlement is the right choice for you. If you’re facing financial hardship but you can still afford to make payments toward settling a lower balance — they’ll help you enroll.
Monthly deposits. Start making deposits into a savings account each month toward debt settlement. Generally, you have to save up between 40% and 50% of each account before negotiations can begin. Usually this takes four to six months.
Negotiations. Once you have enough money saved up, Accredited Debt Relief reaches out to your creditors and begins negotiating down your account. Once it’s settled, it’ll deduct the settlement amount plus a fee from your savings account.
The whole process takes between 12 and 48 months, depending on how quickly you can save and how much debt you have. Usually, it takes between three and six months between each negotiation for customers to save enough for the next settlement.
How much does it cost?
Accredited Debt Relief charges a fixed fee of 15% to 25% of your enrolled debt at the time of settlement.
For example, if you enroll $10,000 of credit card debt with an APR of 16% in a two-year program, you could expect to owe $13,742.19 if no settlements are made during the program. You might have to pay around $2,061 to $3,436.
How much could I save with Accredited Debt Relief?
Debt settlement savings generally range from 20% to 30% of your enrolled debt, at the time of settlement and before taxes. The IRS treats most settled debt like taxable income unless you’re financially insolvent at the time of settlement. If you aren’t exempt, you could end up saving almost nothing, depending on your tax bracket.
Debt relief companies typically charge a percentage of a customer’s debt or a monthly program fee for their services. And not all companies are transparent about these costs or drawbacks that can negatively affect your credit score. Depending on the company you work with, you might pay other fees for third-party settlement services or setting up new accounts, which can leave you in a worse situation than when you signed up.
Consider alternatives before signing up with a debt relief company:
Payment extensions. Companies you owe may be willing to extend your payment due date or put you on a longer payment plan if you ask.
Nonprofit credit counseling. Look for free debt-management help from nonprofit organizations like the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.
Debt settlement. If you can manage to pay a portion of the bill, offer the collection agency a one-time payment as a settlement. Collection agencies are often willing to accept a lower payment on your debt to close the account.
Frequently asked questions
Call customer service at least five business days before your payment is due if you think you’re going to have an issue making it. A customer service team member will discuss your options to get you back on track.
By creating a separate account, you’re distancing your debt settlement funds from your daily spending. This makes it easier to save and, by extension, complete the program.
Yes — enrolling in any debt relief program could have a negative effect on your credit score. However, it will likely help improve your credit in the long run — as paying off your debts will help lower your debt-to-income ratio.
Anna Serio is a trusted lending expert and certified Commercial Loan Officer who's published more than 1,000 articles on Finder to help Americans strengthen their financial literacy. A former editor of a newspaper in Beirut, Anna writes about personal, student, business and car loans. Today, digital publications like Business Insider, CNBC and the Simple Dollar feature her professional commentary, and she earned an Expert Contributor in Finance badge from review site Best Company in 2020.
Accredited Debt Relief offers direct debt settlement services to customers struggling with large amounts of debt. Its fees are relatively standard compared to other debt relief providers. But it has programs as quick as 12 months, where other debt settlement companies usually start at 24 months.
That doesn’t mean you’ll be able to settle your debt that quickly. It all depends on how quickly you’re able to save money for the settlement. It also boasts slightly lower savings for customers than most debt relief companies. To save more, consider other options.
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