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Enrolling in a Debt Management Plan to Help Your Monthly Budget

Enrolling in a Debt Management Plan to Help Your Monthly Budget

Enrolling in a debt management plan
Signing up for a debt management plan may give you more breathing room in your monthly budget, but will it hurt your credit? Not as much as you may think. Using a debt management plan to pay off debt won’t hurt your credit score, but it may make it difficult to qualify for new credit.

Debt management plan: Protecting your credit score
When you enroll in a debt management program, you write a monthly check to a credit-counseling agency and the agency pays your creditors. A debt management plan usually lasts three or four years. A notation stating that you are paying an account through a credit-counseling agency appears on your credit report and remains until the account is paid in full. Paying an account through a credit counseling agency will not hurt your credit score.

Debt management plan: Qualifying for new credit
Participating in a debt management plan could make it difficult for you to qualify for additional credit, and some debt management plans prohibit consumers from applying for new credit anyway.

Some creditors may see that a person is in a debt management plan and decide that they have all the debt they can handle. Other creditors might view participation in a debt management plan as a positive step, a sign that a consumer has taken responsibility for and is serious about paying off debt.

The more a creditor bases a lending decision on a consumer’s credit score, the less a consumer’s participation in a debt-management plan is likely to matter. A typical creditor uses the FICO score. They don’t look at notations on the account. Paying off a big chunk of debt on your own or with the help of a debt management plan will give your credit score a boost.

Debt management plan: Late payments hurt your credit score
What will hurt your credit score? Not debt management plans. Instead, being 30 or 60 days late with any payments can adversely impact your credit rating. Those negative marks hurt your credit score and can mar your credit report for up to seven years.

Debt management plan: Choose wisely
It is very important to choose a debt management plan carefully. If the agency administering the program misses or is late with a payment, it is your credit record that gets impacted. Enrollment and monthly fees for debt management plans vary widely. Some companies may charge several hundred dollars for their services, while others charge monthly fees of $20 or less.

With a debt management plan, a consumer usually gets reduced interest rates, lower monthly payments, no more late fees and fewer calls and letters from creditors. Debt-counseling agencies get their operating money by receiving a percentage of each client’s payments back from creditors.

If you are current on your bills, you may want to try negotiating new payment amounts and lower interest rates with creditors on your own. You never know what kind of deal you may land. And you may be able to make real headway on your debt by simply tightening your belt for a few months and freeing up more cash for debt payments.

Debt management plan: Monitor your debt counselor
If your situation is more serious or you just feel plain overwhelmed, you may want to talk to a debt counselor. If you decide to sign on for a debt management plan, be sure to monitor your credit bills carefully. Is the agency paying your bills on time as promised? You need to be vigilant and look at your statements regularly.

If you discover a problem with bills paid through a debt consolidation company or credit counselor, report the company to a local consumer protection agency or state attorney general‘s office. You can also file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. For more ideas on how to monitor these companies, see some of the suggestions by the FTC on Debt Management Plans.

Examples of Debt Management Companies

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How Debt Management and Debt Settlement Companies Can Simplify Your Financial Life?

How Debt Management and Debt Settlement Companies Can Simplify Your Financial Life?

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Debt management or debt settlement companies can often save you time and trouble when it comes to debt consolidation. A benefit of using a debt management company is the ease of the transition from having many, smaller debts to having one larger one. That being said you need to closely review any company you plan to work with to ensure that they are doing what you agree to.


The process of debt consolidation can be tricky and intimidating and often not something for you to try, if you are not financially savvy. Debt management or debt settlement companies can often save you time and trouble when it comes to debt consolidation. A benefit of using a debt management company is the ease of the transition from having many, smaller debts to having one larger one. A debt settlement company will take over paying all your creditors. You have to make one simple payment every month.

The idea of debt consolidation is simple. The many smaller debts you carry are covered by one large loan. These are typically unsecured loans such as credit cards, personal loans, store credit cards, and bank overdrafts. The benefits of debt consolidation are that that you can negotiate one interest rate for this loan and you can negotiate the amount of the payment. Often, during the negotiation process, you can often reduce the amount of the debt.

Pros of Debt Settlement
• Avoid bankruptcy – By using a debt management company to consolidate your debt, you will can reduce your debt burden and pay off your bills more comfortably. You can protect assets, such as your car and your home, using debt settlement.
• Make One Easy Payment – You will make one payment to consolidate your debt each month to the debt management company. They will disperse the funds to the creditors. This one payment on your consolidated debt simplifies your bill paying enormously.
• Avoid Harassment – Debt collectors are notorious for their ruthless tactics. A debt management company eliminates a debt collector’s ability to hound you for payment on your consolidated debt.
• Avoid Lawsuit – Debt settlement companies can help you get a hold of your consolidated debts and get them settled in reasonable manner. This can help eliminate the possibility of a lawsuit against you.

• Debt consolidation negatively affects your credit score.
• During debt settlement, some of your accounts will get charged off. Debt consolidation can negatively impact your credit score. Debt consolidation can be repaired through time and careful use of credit in the future.
• Fees
• Some unscrupulous debt management companies will charge exorbitant fees for their services. Often, you will be asked to pay a percentage of your monthly payment to the debt settlement company in fees.

Points to remember:
• Choose a reputable non-profit debt management agency for debt consolidation. Make sure you toughly investigate the company you decide to use. You need to make sure you choose your debt management company wisely.
• Learn the fee structure for debt consolidation up front.
• Before you agree to a debt management plan, understand the impact this will have on your credit rating.
• Stop using your credit while you’re trying to repair your debt. Create a budget and stick to it.

Related Articles:

Examples of Debt Management Companies:

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Debt Consolidation: How To and Pros and Cons

Debt Consolidation: How To and Pros and Cons


Are you unsure of how to consolidate your debt and whether debt consolidation is the right approach for you? When you consolidate your debt, you take out a loan to pay off several other debts. This allows you to consolidate the money you owe into one payment and manage your debt more effectively.

Although credit is much harder to come by during these challenging economic times, there are still a number of ways that you can potentially consolidate your debt, such as:

• Credit cards debt consolidation: If you can pay off the balance during the introductory rate period, consolidating your credit cards makes a lot of sense. Make sure to read the fine print carefully before you take any action. Sometimes there are fees associated with the transfer. Also make sure you know when those promotional interest rates end.

• Home equity loans: If you are a homeowner with some equity established in the property, a home equity loan may be the perfect solution for you to consolidate your debt. While they are not as easy to obtain as before, the terms of a home equity loan are very favorable from lenders, with payments that are usually tax deductible. The terms of the line are variable or fixed and can often extend for 30 years. The only clear downside to consolidating your debt in this manner is that your collateral against the loan is the property you own.

• Retirement funds: Considered to be an option of last resort, the interest is rarely tax-deductible, though you are paying interest to yourself instead of the bank. If you are unable to pay it back to the fund within a specified period, you may incur taxes and penalties from the IRS.

• Whole life insurance: If you have a whole life policy that pays an annuity premium to you, you can borrow against its value. You have the option of paying or not paying it back, however if you do not repay the loan, it will be deducted from the total value, thereby of the premium, thereby lessening what those who inherit the value of your policy will receive.

• Credit union: Credit unions generally have lower fees and lower interest rates on loans. It is worthwhile to find out if you can join one.

• Nonprofit consumer credit counseling agency: “What they often will do is, rather than consolidating debt, you pay them a fixed amount and they pay it out to your creditors. It’s a kind of discipline that can be helpful. It’s enforcing a change in spending habits. For the person who is serious about getting out of debt, that’s a solution.”

• Primary lender: In the same way that you might approach your primary lender about a loan modification, you might also consider using the same tactics in this case to renegotiate the terms of your loan so that it is more favorable to you.

Should You Consolidate Debt?
Whether or not you choose to consolidate your debt is a personal decision that specifically depends on your financial situation. Debt consolidation offers many pros and cons:

Pros of Debt Consolidation
Debt consolidation should potentially save you money through lower interest payments and the likelihood of fewer late fees due to the reduction in the number of payments to distinct lenders. Debt consolidation should also help you to rebuild your credit score if you can keep up with the monthly payments due under the revised terms. Debt consolidation should also make it easier for you to organize your finances.

A debt consolidation loan could be helpful if you ran up your credit cards while you were in business school, or if you have a number of high interest student or car installment loans. This will allow you to roll this high interest debt into one manageable payment.

Cons of Debt Consolidation
Debt consolidation is not the right answer in every case. Debt consolidation does not provide a remedy for credit problems. You may have a difficult time finding a fair and reasonable interest rate. If the rate on your new loan is not any better than the rate you pay on your current loans, consolidating your debt would not make much sense.

It can also take longer to pay debts off. When you consolidate debt, you still end up owing the same amount of money. The main difference is usually the length of the term. This could leave you paying more in interest if the term is really long. The best way to combat additional interest payments is to pay down the principal on top of your monthly payments, but doing this may be beyond your means.

You should contact a financial advisor or accountant to evaluate the pros and cons of debt consolidation and whether the option is right for you.

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