This company claims to significantly reduce your debt — but watch out for its spotty online presence.
We review CuraDebt, a debt relief company that offers both debt settlement and tax relief programs, to help you decide whether it can help or hurt your financial situation.
- Free consultation. Free consultation by filling out a form on the site.
- Costs. 20% of enrolled debt or less, no upfront fees.
- Types of debt accepted. Unsecured debt or tax debt. No lawsuit debt or student loans, except in special cases. No utility bills, mortgages, car loans or government loans.
- Services offered. Debt relief, debt settlement and tax relief.
- Minimum debt considered. $10,000
- Typical turnaround. 36 months
- Ratings, accreditation and memberships.
- Ratings. No BBB ratings
- Accreditations. Not BBB-accredited.
- Memberships. AFCC, IAPDA, NetCheck, HonestE Online, US Chamber of Commerce.
- Direct or third-party negotiations. Not stated.
- Service limitations. Debt relief services not available in CO, CT, GA, ID, IL, KS, ND, NH, SC, VT, WA, WI, WV, PR and the VI. Tax services not available in CO, IL and PA.
- Free resources or tools. Online client account.
- Customer service options. Phone, email and live chat.
What exactly is CuraDebt?
CuraDebt is a debt relief company that provides debt settlement services for unsecured personal, business and tax debt. It’s older than most debt settlement companies and has a track record of higher settlement amounts — sometimes as high as 100%.
Debt relief and debt settlement
Like some other debt relief companies, its website makes it sound like it offers more services than it actually does by using different names for the same thing. Really, it offers a pretty standard debt settlement package: It negotiates with your creditors to reduce the amount of debt you owe for a one-time payment.
Qualifying debts typically include credit cards, personal loans, medical bills, lines of credit, business debts, collections and repossessions, IRS debt and back taxes. It works with some types of legal debts and student loans on occasion.
CuraDebt takes slightly different approaches to IRS debt and back taxes, including:
- Offer in compromise. Similar to debt settlement, CuraDebt comes to an agreement with the IRS to let you pay a reduced amount to resolve your tax liability.
- Installment agreements. Pay off your debt in smaller, more manageable monthly payments.
- Penalty abatements. These usually go along with an installment agreement and mean you don’t have to pay as many penalties.
- Currently non-collectible. The IRS stops collections if CuraDebt can help you prove you’re experiencing extreme economic hardships making it impossible for you to pay your back taxes.
- Collection statute expiration date. The IRS sets an expiration date on your owed tax debt — usually 10 years.
- Tax lien subordination. Use money from a personal asset to pay off your tax debt.
How much does it cost?
There are no upfront fees for CuraDebt’s services. Customers typically pay a fee of 20% of enrolled debt once they start to see results. Fees are included in your monthly payments to the program, which CuraDebt doesn’t get access to until after at least one debt settles.
Settled debt also is considered taxable income, so if you get a large settlement, it can shoot you up into a higher income tax bracket.
How much could I save with CuraDebt?
It depends on how much debt CuraDebt is able to settle. It claims typically cuts debts by around 50%, but states it has settled up to 100% of some clients’ debts in the past. When you factor in fees, this comes out to anywhere between a 30% and 80% savings.
What does this look like? Say you have $10,000 in credit card debt with an APR of 19% and sign up for debt settlement with CuraDebt. If CuraDebt is unable to settle your debt until the end of your 36-month program, you could end up with $17,603.83 in debt by the time the negotiation happens. With negotiation, you could save between $5,281 and $14,083. Not too shabby. Just remember that you’re going to have to pay taxes on settled debt.
Savings on tax relief
With tax relief, how much you save varies widely depending on what type of debt relief option is right for you. You might not save anything at all if you go for an installment program. You might save everything if your debt is considered currently non-collectible.
Benefits of using CuraDebt
- Higher savings. CuraDebt has been able to get some debts completely dismissed, meaning that you could only have to pay CuraDebt’s fees — cutting your debts by around 80% or more.
- Offers tax debt relief. Many debt relief companies don’t offer relief for back taxes you can’t afford to pay.
- Goes after the legality of your debt. CuraDebt takes a unique approach to negotiating your debts down by first looking for legal violations committed by your lender to get them to forgive them all.
Where it falls short
- Lacks transparency. It’s difficult to get basic information from both its website and staff.
- Sketchy site. It is extremely unclear from its site what kinds of services it offers or how they even differ. And good luck getting an estimate on its rates. Its site also has these annoying spammy-looking popups asking you to get a quote. Bypass those pop-ups by clicking anywhere else on the page.
- Short-staffed. CuraDebt’s customer service representatives weren’t able to take the time to answer even the most basic questions when we called. It looks like we’re not the only ones either: Others have complained that CuraDebt was unresponsive when they had questions or wanted to withdraw from the program.
Compare other debt relief providers
What does the Internet have to say about CuraDebt?
It’s not rated by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) but it does have over 20 reviews on the BBB website, 91% of which are positive. It gets a pretty meaningless 7.7 out of 10 on Trustpilot based on two reviews, both of which said it was “Excellent.”
One customer was unhappy with the tax relief option CuraDebt decided to go with. Many others were displeased with the patchy customer service, causing more than one to call it a scam. CuraDebt isn’t always able to settle client’s debts — that’s one of the risks of debt relief companies. The difference is that it seems particularly difficult to withdraw from one of CuraDebt’s programs.
Is CuraDebt actually located in the United States?
Yes. You might have heard some rumors floating around online reviews and forums that CuraDebt is licensed in California but mostly operates out of Caracas, Venezuela. CuraDebt is actually located in Hollywood, Florida and has offices that you can visit in person.
Is it safe to use CuraDebt?
Its site uses SSL security to encrypt your information. CuraDebt does allow third-party data collection, but you have the option of opting out. Its web security is also verified by Trust Guard, which performs periodic vulnerability scans of the site.
It’s not accredited by the BBB. It is, however, a member of the American Fair Credit Council (AFCC) and a certified member of the International Association of Professional Debt Arbitrators (IAPDA), which set and protect industry standards.
How do I get started?
To qualify for CuraDebt’s program you must be 21 or older, have verifiable income, more than$10,000 in unsecured debt — meaning no collateral — excluding payday loans. If you meet these three requirements, you’re ready to get started.
Steps to sign up:
- Go to CuraDebt’s website and select information about your debt and how CuraDebt can reach you.
- Enter your contact information and click Free Consultation.
- CuraDebt will get in touch to give you a free consultation and tell you how to continue from there.
I’ve signed up. What happens next?
CuraDebt’s programs differ depending on what type of debt you have.
If you’re settling debt, CuraDebt guides you through setting up a trust account that only you have access to, where you make monthly payments throughout the duration of the program. While you’re making your deposits, the CuraDebt team starts working on identifying violations that your creditor committed to use as leverage in the negotiation process.
After this, CuraDebt begins to contact your creditors to negotiate your debt down or have it completely dismissed. Once it’s settled your debts, it will ask you for permission to withdraw the settlement from your trust account.
If you sign up for the tax relief program, CuraDebt first reviews your case to see what type of tax relief you might be able to qualify for. It then takes steps to make sure your taxes are compliant with IRS regulations by filing any missing returns or correcting mistakes. Once it’s clear you’re compliant, it contacts the IRS to get you the tax relief you agreed on in the first step.
Tips for making CuraDebt a smart move
- Don’t stop paying off your debts. Make an effort to at least make your minimum monthly payments. Not only will your debts pile on late fees and skyrocket due to interest, you could also be vulnerable to a lawsuit if you fail to make repayments for a few years.
- Don’t take on additional debt. With debt settlement, this isn’t much of a possibility — your credit score will be too damaged for you to qualify anyway. But you might be able to if you owe back taxes. Concentrate on paying off the debts you have first.
- Stay connected. Keep an eye on your debt balances, your personal account and your CuraDebt trust account. If you have any questions, make sure to contact customer service by phone or by email as soon as possible.
Debt relief should be treated as a last resort, but if you’re set on enrolling in a debt settlement company, CuraDebt has an attractive record. It’s insufficient customer service, weak online reputation and suspicious website set off some of our alarm bells, however.
If you haven’t already, you might want to read more about debt relief before settling on this company to make sure you know what you’re getting into. Our guide on debt relief companies is a great place to start.