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Consolidated Credit
Minimum debt
$3,000
Typical turnaround
36 to 60 months
Fees
Up to $79 a month

Our verdict

Potentially lower your monthly payments by as much as 50% and be out of debt in 36 to 60 months.

Consolidated Credit’s debt management plan (DMP) could be a good option if you’re struggling to manage your credit cards and other unsecured debt. Calling is free, and you could potentially lower your monthly payments by as much as 50%. It charges a flat fee set by your state, which can’t exceed $79 monthly — much cheaper than a debt settlement program.

The company claims it can lower the interest rates on your credit cards by up to 10%, reducing the time to pay off debts by half. But the program could temporarily negatively impact your credit and ability to borrow until your debts are paid off.

Best for: People who can afford monthly credit payments but want help getting out of debt faster.

Pros

  • Highly rated by thousands of past customers
  • Debt management generally less risky than debt settlement
  • Credit scores can significantly improve after doing the program
  • Few complaints with the Better Business Bureau
  • Monthly fee can be rolled into the program
  • Bilingual services available for Spanish speakers
  • Lots of free educational resources
  • Available in all 50 states and territories

Cons

  • Can temporarily negatively impact credit score
  • Will have less access to credit during the program
  • Debt consolidation loans not offered

In this guide

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What is Consolidated Credit, and how does it work?

Consolidated Credit is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping individuals get out of debt with free resources, credit counseling and debt management. To get started, the company offers a free debt and budget evaluation to determine the best options for your situation.

After the analysis, you’re given strategies for getting out of debt, which may include credit counseling or a debt management plan (DMP). If you choose the DMP, Consolidated Credit negotiates with your creditors to lower or eliminate the interest charges on your debts and to stop penalties.

Your accounts are closed, and you’ll make a single monthly payment to Consolidated Credit, which pays your creditors for you. For this service, you’re charged a fixed monthly fee, which can’t exceed $79. This fee is rolled into your monthly payment.

What makes Consolidated Credit shine?

Consolidated Credit stands out for its free credit counseling services and debt management program, which comes highly rated by past customers. Unlike debt settlement, which charges fees up to 15% to 25% of the debt settled, Consolidated Credit charges a monthly flat fee for its services. This fee is regulated by your state and can’t exceed $79 a month — although an average monthly cost is about $40, according to the company.

The company also stands out for its track record and reputation. Since 1993, it’s helped over 10 million people get out of debt and offers a plethora of financial literacy resources. It also has a high Better Business Bureau customer rating and just a handful of complaints over the past three years — which is exceptional for a financial services company.

Where Consolidated Credit falls short

As far as debt relief providers go, Consolidated Credit doesn’t have any glaring negatives, except that enrolling in any debt management plan can cause your credit score to dip temporarily. And some customers have complained about significant drops in their credit scores right after enrolling in the DMP. It’s important to consider this — especially if you need a good credit score to buy a car or secure an apartment in the near future, for example.

And there’s also the monthly fee to consider — which can be as high as $79 a month. But this is still cheaper than some other options, including debt settlement. But if you’d rather not pay this fee or prefer to pay to your creditors without enrolling in a DMP (which results in your accounts being closed), you may want to consider a low-interest debt consolidation loan instead.

How much can I save?

Consolidated Credit claims that its debt management program can potentially reduce your total credit card payments by up to 50% by negotiating the interest rates on your debt down to 0% to 10%. Because you’re paying less in interest every month, more goes to paying off your principal balance. With this program, the company states you could be fully out of debt within 36 to 60 months.

How much does it cost?

Consolidated Credit’s debt management program costs are governed by the Uniform Debt Management Services Act, which means fees are capped. The fees for its DMP program are limited to $79 a month. But the company claims that the average cost for clients is around $40 per month.

Will Consolidated Credit hurt my credit?

Debt management programs, like the one offered by Consolidated Credit, can have a temporary negative impact on your credit score. While some customers of these programs have reported initial credit score drops by as much as 200 points after enrolling, others report drops of five points or less.

This is because debt management causes your credit accounts to be closed by your creditors. This increases your debt utilization ratio (30% of your credit score), which is seen as a negative. But as your accounts are paid down, you should see your credit score progressively improve.

Consolidated Credit product details

Free quote or consultationYes
ServicesCredit counseling, debt management.
Minimum Debt$3,000
Average turnaround36 to 60 months
FeesUp to $79 a month
Types of debtCredit cards, store cards, gas cards, unsecured personal loans, unpaid medical debts, some payday loans.
AccreditationsBetter Business Bureau (2012), Association of Credit Counseling Professionals (ACCPros)
Direct or third-party negotiationsDirect
State availabilityAvailable in all states

Debt settlement vs. debt management

Debt management involves negotiating your credit cards’ interest rates down to make the payments more affordable, but payments to creditors don’t stop. Conversely, debt settlement involves stopping payments to your creditors and negotiating a lump-sum payment for less than what you owe.

Debt management is best for people who can make payments but are struggling to keep up. On the other hand, debt settlement may be better for people who are very behind in their payments or already have accounts in collections.

Before you sign up with a debt settlement company

Debt settlement companies typically charge 15% to 25% of a customer’s debt for their services. Not all companies are transparent about these costs or how it can negatively affect your credit score. Depending on the company you work with, you might pay other fees for setting up new accounts or third-party settlement services, which can leave you in a worse situation than when you signed up.

Consider alternatives before signing up with a debt settlement company:

  • Payment extensions. Companies you owe may be willing to extend your payment due date or put you on a longer payment plan.
  • Nonprofit credit counseling. Look for free debt-management help from nonprofit organizations like the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.
  • DIY debt settlement. If you can 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.

How to qualify for Consolidated Credit

To qualify for Consolidated Credit’s debt management program, you’ll need to meet these general requirements:

  • US citizen or permanent resident
  • The ability to make the monthly program payments
  • Minimum debt of $3,000

How the debt management process works

The debt management process typically involves these steps:

  1. Debt assessment. Your income, expenses and debts are analyzed to determine the best debt repayment options.
  2. Negotiation. The credit counseling agency negotiates with your creditors to reduce the interest on your credit cards and other unsecured debt.
  3. Payment consolidation. After enrolling, you send a single monthly payment to the debt management agency, which pays your creditors according to the plan.
  4. Monitoring and review. This involves reviewing your monthly statements to ensure that your bills are being paid on time and that you’re satisfied with the service.
  5. Completion. Once your payments are completed, the agency should assist you in reestablishing credit.

Once you speak to a certified counselor at Consolidated Credit, they’ll work with you to come up with a debt relief plan specific to your particular needs.

How Consolidated Credit compares to other companies

Name Product Costs Money-back guarantee: Requirements
Consolidated Credit
Not rated yet
Consolidated Credit
Fees regulated by client's state of residence, can range from$0 to $69 with an average monthly fee of $35. No upfront or contingency fees.
Debt must not be payday loans or secured loans.
This debt settlement alternative can help you find a path to financial freedom.
Accredited Debt Relief
Charges and fees vary by the company you're ultimately connected with
Must be at least 18 years old and a legal US resident; additional terms may apply based on services and products used.
This A+ BBB-rated service offers free consultations to lower your monthly payments help you get out of debt faster.
Freedom Debt Relief
Not rated yet
Freedom Debt Relief
Monthly payment based on enrolled debt, no upfront fees
Must have at least $7,500 in unsecured debt, have a hardship is preventing the ability to pay creditors, and live in a serviced state.
Freedom Debt Relief works to help people with unmanageable, unsecured debt get back on their feet.
Pacific Debt
Not rated yet
Pacific Debt
15%–25% of total debt enrolled. Fees vary by state of residence.
Reside in a state where PDI’s services are available and have $10,000+ of debt to enroll
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Consolidated Credit reviews and complaints

BBB accredited Yes
BBB rating A+
BBB customer reviews 4.91 out of 5 stars, based on 236 customer reviews
Trustpilot Score 4.8 out of 5 stars, based on 8,954 customer reviews.
Customer reviews verified as of 23 January 2024

Consolidated Credit gets overwhelmingly positive customer reviews on Trustpilot and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website. Most positive reviews mention highly effective debt management solutions and courteous and knowledgeable customer service agents.

Negative reviews claim trouble logging in to the site and higher-than-expected fees. Always read over your agreement carefully to make sure you understand how much your specified debt relief program costs and how it will affect your credit score.

Is Consolidated Credit legit?

Yes. Consolidated Credit is a legit organization. It is a Certified ISO 9001 company through the Bureau Veritas Certification, and it’s a member of the Financial Counseling Association of America (FCAA) and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. Every counselor at Consolidated Credit is a certified personal financial counselor, and to date, they’ve helped more than 10 million people get out of debt.

Risks to debt management

Some of the potential risks and drawbacks with debt management include:

  • Credit score impacts. Enrolling in a DMP may initially lead to a minor or major decrease in credit scores.
  • Debt restrictions. DMPs are designed for unsecured consumer debts, such as credit cards and medical bills. Student loans and secured debts, like mortgages or car loans, are not eligible.
  • Potential impact on future borrowing. While completing a DMP can have a positive impact on your financial situation, it may affect future borrowing or the ability to obtain new credit.
  • Creditors’ discretion. While creditors may agree to reduce interest rates and waive certain fees, participation is voluntary for them. Make sure your plan will work with all your eligible debts.

If you’re considering a DMP, weigh the potential risks against the benefits and carefully review the terms and conditions of your DMP.

Frequently asked questions

Do you lose your credit cards with debt management?

Yes. When you enroll in a debt management plan (DMP), some or all of your credit accounts will be closed. This is because you’re required to make a single monthly payment to the DMP, which is used to pay your creditors according to the plan.

Will debt management hurt your credit score?

Typically, yes. It can hurt and help it. Since the goal is to pay off and close credit accounts, your score might decrease slightly because your credit utilization ratio will be lower since you’ll have less access to credit than before. But it can also improve your credit score in the long run by getting your personal finances back on track.

Is it smart to pay off debt with a debt management plan?

If you can make your monthly debt payments — but just barely — a debt management plan can be a smart move. By lowering your interest rates, you can cut your debt obligations significantly and get out of debt faster. While your credit score may dip temporarily, you’ll save money on interest and your credit score should improve over time.

What if I enroll in debt management when I’m being sued?

Sometimes, enrolling in a debt management program will convince your creditors that you’re serious about paying them back, and they’ll drop the lawsuit. But there’s no guarantee it will work. It might be worth setting up a consultation to learn your options and seek a legal expert’s advice.

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