Is Bruins Capital a scam?
It appears so. Bruins Capital engages in bait-and-switch tactics, which falls within scammy territory. It sends out invitation-only mailers offering low-interest debt consolidation loans — yet the company’s online disclosure clearly states that it doesn’t offer loans.
Rather, Bruins Capital is a paid marketing lead generator targeting financially distressed consumers. It likely exists to drive potential clients to debt settlement companies, based on my research.
Debt settlement is not a debt consolidation loan, which is a legitimate personal loan that you can use to pay off your debt. Instead, debt settlement companies negotiate with your lenders to get them to accept a lower amount — which is risky and can damage your credit.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has issued an active alert for Bruins Capital. According to information in BBB’s files, Bruins Capital isn’t registered as a business in the State of Michigan and doesn’t have a physical address. The BBB considers this a red flag.
My experience with Bruins Capital
I called the company using the phone number listed on the Bruins Capital website: 888-211-3707. This number led me to a call center, and when I asked to speak with somebody at Bruins Capital, the agent refused unless I could provide an invitation code. When I asked what kind of products or services Bruins Capital offers — personal loans or debt settlement — the agent became irritated and refused to answer.
Debt settlement can ruin your credit score
Debt settlement involves paying a debt settlement company to settle your debt for less than what you owe. You stop making payments to your creditors and begin making payments to the debt settlement company for an agreed-on amount — money that is used to pay off your debt once it’s “settled.”
Debt settlement can put your credit at risk: If the debt settlement company fails to settle your debt, your accounts can go into collections or your creditors could sue you. Even if it is successful, your credit score is likely to be damaged and you could owe hundreds, if not thousands of dollars to the debt settlement company.
Because of the risk, high cost and questionable business tactics, we don’t recommend using Bruins Capital. Instead, we suggest comparing top debt consolidation loans from legitimate lenders or undergoing credit counseling if you’re having trouble paying your debts.
7 alternatives to Bruins Capital and debt settlement
Whether you’re making regular, on-time payments to your credit cards or worried about getting out of debt, there are alternatives to debt settlement to help you pay down your debt and take control of your finances.
1. Debt consolidation loans
Debt consolidation loans are a type of personal loan used to pay off multiple creditors. This option is best for people managing their monthly repayments but looking to roll debts into a single monthly payment.
These loans are offered through banks, credit unions and online lenders like Sofi or LightStream. Banks and credit unions typically require good to excellent credit, while online lenders are often more flexible — accepting credit scores as low as 300. Debt consolidation loans can help you save big on interest and potentially get out of debt faster.
Even if you have a lower credit score, some lenders with flexible criteria and competitive rates may be willing to give you a loan. See our list of editorial picks for the best debt consolidation loans for poor credit.
2. Balance transfer credit cards
Balance transfer credit cards are a form of refinancing that allows you to move your existing debt onto a new card with a low or 0% introductory rate. — so all your repayments go to paying off your balance instead of interest. Introductory periods range from six to 21 months, and all of your repayments go to paying off your balance, instead of interest, helping you to get out of debt faster.
Zero-interest balance transfer cards require strong credit, especially if you need a larger credit line to pay off other cards. But even bad credit borrowers may be able to secure a competitive rate for a shorter period. See our list of balance transfer cards for poor credit.
3. Home equity loan or home equity line of credit (HELOC)
If you’ve built up equity in your home, you may be eligible for a home equity loan or HELOC. These products allow you to borrow against that equity to use the money to pay off credit card debt and other high-interest loans. There are risks with these loans: you will be taking on more debt and, if you’re not able to repay what you borrow, your house is at risk of foreclosure. See our list of editorial picks for the best home equity lenders and rates and best HELOC lenders.
4. Credit counseling
Credit counseling organizations are typically nonprofits that can connect you with trained and certified credit counselors who review your accounts and budget to help you find a way out of debt on your own. It’s best for people who can pay their debts but need support with budgeting and creating a debt management plan.
5. DIY strategies
If you’d rather tackle your debt on your own, two popular do-it-yourself strategies for paying down your debt are the debt snowball method and the debt avalanche method.
This method involves paying off your smallest debt first. After this debt is paid off, you use the extra money for the next smallest debt, and so on, until all of your debts are paid. Each time you pay off a debt — moving up your list from smallest to largest — you’ll have a larger payment amount to go toward the next debt in line.
While this method has the potential to result in paying more interest than with the avalanche method, knocking out your smallest debts in a shorter period can keep you motivated to continue.
This method is like a debt acceleration plan that involves paying off your biggest, highest-interest debts first. You’ll make the minimum payments on all of your debts and put any leftover cash toward the highest interest debt. After the highest debt has been paid off, you move on to the next highest debt, dedicating any extra cash to paying it down as quickly as possible.
While this method can help you save on interest, it takes more time than the snowball method to pay off your first large debt. Choose this method if you believe you can stick to it without becoming discouraged.
6. Debt relief companies
Debt relief can involve lowering your interest rates, forgiving a portion of your debts or consolidating all your debts into a single loan.
Legitimate debt relief companies have existing relationships with creditors that allow them to negotiate stronger rates and terms on your behalf. But it doesn’t come cheap: These services charge steep fees up to 25% of your debt, and it can take several years before your debt is paid off.
Consolidated Credit and National Debt Relief are two companies that are highly rated by past customers. See our list of editorial picks for the best debt relief companies for legitimate help in restructuring your debt to make it more affordable.
Bankruptcy is a legal process that works by wiping out some or all of your debt, depending on the type of bankruptcy you file for. It’s designed as a last resort for those who struggle with debt and don’t think they can ever pay off.
There are three types of bankruptcy you can file for depending on your specific circumstances. Unlike debt settlement, Chapter 7 bankruptcy protects you from being sued, called or harassed by your creditors and discharges all of your consumer debts — though not student loans.
Bankruptcy takes a big hit to your credit score and affects your ability to get new loans for a stated period of time. But debt settlement can be equally damaging to your credit score in many ways, and you can’t discharge your debt or get legal protection from your creditors.
What is Bruins Capital?
Information is hard to come by for Bruins Capital online. Bruin Capital’s website advertises a mailing address of PO Box 136, Rochester Hills, MI 48307, though when the BBB attempted to send mail to that address, it was returned “no such number.” The BBB also discovered that Bruins Capital isn’t registered as a business in Michigan.
What people say about Bruins Capital
I couldn’t find any customer reviews for Bruins Capital online as of publishing. Its BBB profile does not have a business rating (NR). There are no customer reviews and two complaints filed with the BBB over the past three years, with no details about the nature of the complaints.
The closest thing I can find to a customer review about Bruins Capital is a 2021 Reddit discussion in which a person mentions getting an offer in the mail from the company for a loan with a rate that “seems too good to be true.” Another user replied that when they contacted the company to be removed from its mailing list, they were asked for their Social Security number — another red flag.
Getoutofdebt.org published a copy of a Bruins Capital mailer showing a generous loan amount for an unbelievably low rate of 3.09%. Yet, Bruin Capital’s website states that the company is not a lender. The article’s author warns, “There has been a rash of loan mailers used as the bait to get people to call and then flip them into some other debt relief solution.”
Is a debt consolidation loan a good idea?
A debt consolidation loan from a legitimate lender like LightStream, Marcus or Upstart may be a good idea if you qualify for a low rate and are disciplined in paying it off.
Say you’re paying off a total of $20,000 in debt across four credit cards with an average 24% annual rate. It will take you more than 35 years of minimum payments to get rid of your debt. In that time, you’ll pay a whopping $39,332 in interest alone.
If you consolidated your cards into a debt consolidation loan at a 10% annual rate and paid $500 a month, your debt would be paid off in just over four years, with only $4,429 in interest paid — a savings of $34,903 over your credit cards.
As always, confirm with your lender how much you can save with a debt consolidation loan at a specific APR. Lenders can calculate how long it will take to pay off your loan and how much interest you’ll pay, helping you to decide if a debt consolidation loan is the right choice for your debt and goals.