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Their teams have successfully negotiated settlements with some of the nation’s largest financial institutions, including Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Chase, and Capital One.
They also work with smaller companies to help reduce the amount you pay on your outstanding debt. The debt settlement process does come with inherent risk, however, and may not be right for everyone. Read our full review to decide if Accredited Debt Relief is the best option for you.
Debt Relief Process
Accredited Debt Relief offers several different programs for individuals struggling with insurmountable debt. They can help with debt management, debt consolidation, and bankruptcy, but primarily offer debt settlement services through their providers.
Going through the debt settlement process can help you reduce the amount of money you’re required to pay to your creditors, with trained staff negotiating on your behalf.
Instead of making multiple payments, you pay into one account each month for two to four years as the negotiations are underway. Typically, your creditors are then paid off with a lump sum of the money you saved during that period. Accredited Debt Relief says that successful clients pay about 50% of their balances before fees, and a total of 68% to 75% with fees included.
The downside of enrolling in a debt settlement plan is that it negatively affects your credit while incurring a certain degree of risk. While Accredited Debt Relief’s partners are negotiating a settlement on your behalf, you are required to stop paying on any of your outstanding balances.
This can result in having your accounts sent to collections or being personally sued. You may even incur additional debt from interest and fees accruing on your accounts.
Clearly, your credit score will suffer dramatically from these events, limiting your future access to credit cards and loans. But if you’ve already defaulted on your payments and have few other options, debt settlement with Accredited Debt Relief may be a viable choice for you. An independent debt counselor can help you weigh all of your options.
Accredited Debt Relief works with customers who are experiencing extreme financial hardship. You must truly be in need and be unable to meet your financial obligations.
You may even be on the brink of bankruptcy. In these instances, creditors are more likely to agree to a settlement of your debt so that they can avoid the collections process or run the risk of not receiving anything at all if you declare bankruptcy.
Accredited Debt Relief partners with debt relief companies across the country, so unlike other providers, you most likely qualify regardless of where you live. It doesn’t matter what type of debt you have; whether it’s from a large creditor or even just a store credit card, they can help you settle what you owe.
Before you get started on your application, consider talking to a non-profit debt counselor about your individual financial situation. Because this is such a huge decision, it’s helpful to get a professional opinion from someone who doesn’t have a vested interest in the outcome of your choice.
You can also apply directly online. Start off by filling out your basic information, including your first and last names, your email address, phone number, state, and the total amount of debt you owe. From there you’ll receive a quote on the services you’ll receive and the price you can expect to pay once your debt is successfully negotiated.
Between the secure online form and Accredited Debt Relief’s friendly staff, you never have to feel worried or embarrassed about your debt. They deal with this every day, and you are certainly not the only person who is overwhelmed by your financial obligations.
Once the Process Starts
After you enroll in Accredited Debt Relief’s debt settlement program, you’ll sign up all of your high balance credit cards, typically anything that’s over $500.
They do recommend that you keep one low balance card in case of a financial emergency, but otherwise you won’t have access to any of your other cards. This prevents you from incurring more debt and is used as part of the negotiation to show creditors that you’re serious about permanently getting rid of your debt problem.
You’ll then begin depositing a predetermined amount of money into an account. While the account is set up in your name, it’s separated from your other bank accounts so you’re not tempted to dip into it. You’re expected to make monthly contributions between two and four years and that is the money used to pay off your settlements.
You do need to be diligent about making those monthly payments. The point is to make it an affordable amount but if you think you’re going to have trouble one month, be sure to reach out and contact Accredited Debt Relief.
They say that they can make alternate arrangements if you let them know five business days ahead of your due date. But the more payments you miss, the longer the process will take because they use the final amount you save as part of the negotiating process.
Another important part of the process to realize is that any debt amount that is forgiven can be considered taxable income by the IRS. So when you complete the program, you might end up owing more in taxes because your income will be much higher. You can, however, apply for an exemption using Form 982.
Accredited Debt Relief is an accredited company with the Better Business Bureau and even has an A+ rating. It’s customer review ratings from the BBB are 95% positive, which is a great indicator of their success and trustworthiness.
The company also offers a no risk guarantee with their services. That means you don’t pay any fees until you actually get results through the debt settlement program. Plus, Accredited Debt Relief’s partners have a combined experience of more than 20 years with thousands of success stories to relate.
Another bonus is that Accredited Debt Relief is actively involved in corporate social responsibility. They donate money to a number of charitable organizations, including St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the Wounded Warrior Project, the Salvation Army, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and Father Joe’s Villages.
It’s nice to know that they show compassion to the greater community through a variety of worthy charities. Accredited Debt Relief is also a member of the American Fair Credit Council, the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, and the International Association of Professional Debt Arbitrators.
Is Debt Relief Right for You?
How can you tell if debt relief is right for you? It really depends on how dire your financial situation has become. If you can still afford your monthly payments, it may not be worth enrolling in a debt settlement program.
It might take you years to pay off those balances, but at least you’re making timely payments and keeping your credit score intact. On the other hand, if one minor financial emergency would throw you off kilter, then it might be worth considering settlement.
After all, at some point, your car is going to break down, or someone in your family will need an expensive trip to the hospital. If you’re not actively saving to prepare for those moments, it’s time to explore your options. Your goal should always be able to save money (both in a regular savings account and a retirement account) regardless of your debt obligations.
If you can’t do this, you’re setting yourself up for even more debt eventually in the future — probably when you least expect it. So start exploring your options. Can you save money on interest with a debt consolidation loan?
You’ll need decent credit to qualify but you can aggressively commit to paying off your total amounts owed over the course of a few years. Is it extremely unlikely you can ever manage to pay off your debts? Bankruptcy might be a viable option, but you could risk losing personal property to help offset what you owe.
Consider contacting a bankruptcy attorney to determine what type of bankruptcy you could qualify for and what the implications would be for you. Debt settlement could help you keep your home, car, and other possessions without the stigma of having a bankruptcy listed on your credit report for seven to ten years.