Before you make that decision, however, it is important to know if debt settlement affects your credit. Debt settlement is a debt resolution strategy that allows you to reduce the amount you owe in exchange for a lump-sum payment.
You may consider using debt settlement as a solution for your credit card debt. Unfortunately, debt settlement can hurt your credit score. Debt settlement can hurt your credit score is not your only option when you can' t make.
Debt settlement typically consists of four main steps:. In some cases, a debt settlement company can negotiate with your creditors to reduce the amount you owe by anywhere from 30 to 50 percent.
However, debt settlement should rarely be your first choice for resolving financial problems. If you are not already behind on your payments and are not experiencing clear financial hardship, your creditors will be unwilling to settle for less than the full amount you owe. For debt settlement to work, two basic things have to happen. First, your creditors must be willing to negotiate with you to settle your debt for a deep discount.
Second, you must be able to demonstrate that you can actually uphold your end of the settlement agreement and pay the newly agreed upon balance. Not all of your debts can be handled with debt settlement. For instance, debt secured by collateral does not qualify for debt settlement. Almost every financial decision you make affects your credit score in some way. When you choose debt settlement to get out of financial trouble, there will be a negative impact on your credit score. This is an unavoidable side effect of debt settlement.
There are some things you can do to lessen the hit your credit score will take, however. For instance, if you are settling credit card debt, it is permissible to ask your credit card company about whether it will report your agreement as a settlement to the credit bureaus. The policies for reporting information to credit bureaus vary from one credit card company to another.
The credit card company is under no obligation to honor your request, but it never hurts to ask for this special consideration. If it is granted, your credit score will not take as much of a nosedive as you might think. In any event, if you have come to the point of needing debt settlement, your main priority is to get out of debt as quickly as possible and begin re-building your credit.
Even if your credit scores have to take a hit for that to happen, it is better to fight your way back to financial independence rather than continue to be enslaved to credit card debt. To understand how debt settlement lowers your credit scores, it is good to have a bit of review about how credit scores work.
Your credit score is a number ranging from , which creditors use to evaluate how well you will potentially be able to repay your bills. If you feel that debt settlement is the best or most appropriate choice for you and you want some assistance in pursuing debt settlement, Bovee has tips for choosing a company wisely:. A lawyer may bill by the hour, have a flat fee per creditor, or charge a percentage of debt or debt eliminated.
That shows lenders you are capable of paying your debts on time. Popular Courses. In fact, if your balances are approaching your credit limit, this could hurt your credit score, even if you are making your payments on time. One of them is to keep your credit balances down, sometimes as low as 30 percent or less of your available credit limits. The answer is, it depends. At ACCC, consumers can learn how to settle with credit card companies most successfully and explore a variety of options in addition to credit settlement.
Some banks have hardship programs that may be able to help. But be certain you can afford any reduced payment options your bank may offer.
Creditors may be likelier to take a lump-sum offer, which gives them money immediately, rather than taking a chance on payments that might not come. At NerdWallet, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence.
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