Cut down your unsecured debt by as much as 30% in as little as two years.
But before you take that drastic step, you may want to consider a debt settlement company. These companies can negotiate with your creditors to lower your debts for a much softer blow to your credit history.
We take a look at one legitimate company available to help you get out of debt without taking on a loan or filing for bankruptcy: the BBB-accredited National Debt Relief.
- Product name: National Debt Relief
- Service offered: Debt settlement with direct negotiations
- Minimum debt considered: $7,500 of qualifying debt
- Typical turnaround: 24–48 months
- Consultation fees: None
- Cancellation fees: None
- Service fee: 18–25% of total enrolled debt
- Types of debt accepted: Credit cards, personal loans, lines of credit, medical bills, collections and repossessions, business debts and some student loans; most secured debts don’t qualify
- Accreditations: International Association of Professional Debt Arbitrators, American Fair Credit Council, Better Business Bureau
- Ratings: A+ BBB rating, 9.4 Trustpilot rating
- Service limitations: Not licensed in Connecticut, Georgia, Kansas, Maine, South Carolina, Oregon, Vermont, West Virginia or New Hampshire
- Free resources or tools: Budget planner worksheet, debt relief calculator
- Customer service: Phone, email, live chat
What exactly is National Debt Relief?
National Debt Relief is a debt settlement service — it negotiates with your creditors to reduce the amount of debt that you owe for a fee. National Debt Relief is among the most recognized debt settlement services in the country, with high rankings from the Better Business Bureau and Trustpilot reviewers. It’s also accredited with top industry associations.
To qualify for National Debt Relief, you must have at least $7,500 in debt and a demonstrable financial hardship that you cannot recover from. Financial hardship includes a divorce, unemployment or loss of income, the death of a spouse and unpaid taxes. National Debt Relief uses proof of your financial hardship as leverage to negotiate with your creditors.
How much does it cost?
National Debt Relief typically charges between 18% and 25% percent of the total debt you enroll over two to four years. Your percentage depends on the amount you enroll and the state you live in.
What does this look like? To settle $10,000 of debt with an average interest rate of 15% over 36 months, you could end up with a total debt of $15,639.44 by the time you’re ready to negotiate. Your fee would likely fall between $2,815 and $3,910.
What are the benefits and drawbacks of National Debt Relief?
- No fees until you reduce your debt. You won’t pay National Debt Relief until after it negotiates down your debt.
- 100% money-back guarantee. If you aren’t happy with the way National Debt Relief reduces your debt, cancel without paying a penalty.
- Works with some student loans. Most debt relief companies don’t touch student loans. But some private student debt qualifies with National Debt Relief.
- Low minimum to enroll. You need only $7,500 in debt to enroll — not as much as you’ll find at other debt relief companies.
- Highly rated support. National Debt Relief gets top ratings for customer service across the board, from users and professional reviewers alike.
- No relief for secured loans. Got a mortgage, car loan or any other type of debt with collateral? National Debt Relief can provide suggestions, but it won’t take you on.
- Low debt-reduction average. National Debt Relief might not save you as much money as its competition.
- Not all debt qualifies. This goes for all debt settlement companies, but secured debt typically won’t qualify for debt settlement. Instead, your creditor takes your collateral.
- Damages your credit score. Meant as a last resort, debt settlement is a serious step that can damage your credit. To preserve your score, look into debt consolidation instead.
- Not available in all states. National Debt Relief is available in 41 states only.
How much could I save with National Debt Relief?
People who complete National Debt Relief’s program stand to save 50% of their debt — or around 30% after National Debt Relief’s fees — over a period of two to four years. The average savings of a National Debt Relief customer was around $6,296 between 2014 and 2016.
Is National Debt Relief legit?
Yes. National Debt Relief has been accredited with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) since 2013, which means it meets specific transparency standards. It gets an A+ rating from the BBB as well, based on some 180 user reviews. More than 3,000 Trustpilot reviews average a 9.4 out of 10, with 80% of those reviewers rating it “Excellent.” (In comparison, 15% thought it was merely “Great”).
Customer reviewers are mainly impressed with National Debt Relief’s quality customer service, which most report is helpful and patient, considering the situation. At least one customer was even able to start repairing their credit score. Negative reviews tend to have less to do with the drawbacks of National Debt Relief than debt settlement itself.
Is it safe to use National Debt Relief?
Yes. National Debt Relief’s website uses both McAfee and Norton security systems to protect your information from malware attacks and phishing.
Your information is secured with industry-standard SSL encryption.
You’re also eligible for 90 days of identity theft coverage worth up to $100,000 after you enter your information on the site. Simply go to the site and click the McAfee icon on the bottom of the page to sign up.
Beyond this, it’s accredited with trade organizations like American Fair Credit Council and the International Association of Professional Debt Arbitrators that set the standards for the debt settlement industry.
How do I sign up?
- Click the Go to site button on this page to be directed to National Debt Relief’s website. Then select the amount of debt you would like to settle and click Continue.
- Enter your contact information and hit Click Here To See If You Qualify For Debt Relief.
I’ve signed up. What happens next?
- Set up a payment plan. National Debt Relief works with you to set up a plan of how much you’ll pay into an account, from which it then pays your creditors and deducts its own fees.
- Start paying into your settlement fund. National Debt Relief asks you to make monthly payments into an escrow account that it can eventually use to pay your debt settlement costs. This monthly payment is typically lower than monthly payments on your debt. While you can stop making payments on your debt if it’s unaffordable, you’ll end up paying more in the end.
- National Debt Relief negotiates with your creditors. Once you have enough funds in your escrow account, National Debt Relief negotiates with creditors to settle your debt for a one-time payment. And it’s totally normal if it doesn’t work the first time.
- Authorize payments from your settlement fund. While it’s not a guaranteed outcome, if your lender decides to settle, National Debt Relief pays off your debt using your funds. It also deducts its fee from your settlement fund.
Three tips to make using National Debt Relief a smart move
- Don’t take on more debt. Qualifying for debt settlement is a clear indicator that you aren’t in a position to afford more debt.
- Stick to a budget. Take advantage of National Debt Relief’s free budget planner, and create a spending strategy to keep from missing payments to your settlement account.
- Keep in touch. Contact National Debt Relief’s customer service line whenever you have questions. If you have trouble staying on top of your monthly payments, let them know — it could help your case.
Debt settlement shouldn’t be taken lightly: It can affect your ability to get credit in the future and isn’t worth it unless you have plans to stay out of debt afterward.
But if bankruptcy sounds like your only other option, National Debt Relief is a legitimate way to get back on track without going that route.
Frequently asked questions
How does debt settlement affect my taxes?
It depends on your financial situation. Normally, the IRS counts debt forgiveness of $600 or more as taxable income. However, if your liabilities are greater than your assets at the time of debt settlement, you might not have to pay taxes. Consult a tax specialist if you aren’t sure about your situation.
What kind of account does National Debt Relief use for my settlement fund?
Your monthly payments go to an FDIC-insured trust account with Global Client Solutions, a company that provides account management services to the debt relief industry.
Can I continue using my credit cards while I’m in the debt settlement program?
Not if you want to settle your credit card debt. If you decide to stop making credit card payments (most people do), your creditor usually closes your account.