Our Top Picks for Best Debt Relief Companies
- Accredited Debt Relief: Best for Quick Results
- Community Tax: Best for Tax Debt
- Freedom Debt Relief: Best for Small Debts
- National Debt Relief: Best Guarantee
- New Era Debt Solutions: Best Customer Service
Best Debt Relief Companies Reviews
- Programs can take as little as 12 months
- No charge until you've received results
- Multiple debt relief options available
- Cannot track progress online like some competitor platforms
- Not available in every state
Why we chose it: The burden of debt can feel like an ever-present weight on your shoulders, a weight you want to be free of as soon as possible. We selected Accredited Debt Relief for our top spot because the company can get you out of debt fast.
Though the timeframe will depend on your situation, Accredited’s debt relief program can take as little as 12 months to complete, faster than most other companies. Though Accredited cannot help with any secured debts with collateral attached, it can handle most unsecured debts such as credit cards and medical bills by negotiating with creditors to adjust the amount you need to pay back.
Accredited Debt Relief offers a free consultation online or by phone, which will set you up with a personalized option that best suits your financial situation.
If debt settlement isn’t the right path for you, Accredited can offer other options to help solve your debt issues. The company can pair you with one of its debt consolidation loan affiliates which can help you with credit card consolidation as well as other types of unsecured debt consolidation. Affiliate consolidation loans range from $1,000 to $100,000, and have APRs from 4.9% to 35.99%.
Accredited Debt Relief’s debt settlement program fees vary by state, and services are not available everywhere. While Accredited Debt Relief does charge a fee in line with other debt settlement companies, 15% to 25% of the debt you’ve enrolled in the program, it doesn’t charge you until your debts have been reduced.
Accredited Debt Relief is accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB). The BBB has given it the highest rating of an A+.
- Staff includes licensed tax practitioners, IRS enrolled agents and CPAs
- Free consultation
- Minimum debt required not disclosed
- Doesn't list prices online
Why we chose it: Community Tax has a team of professionals specializing in settling tax debt and finding solutions for issues with the IRS.
Community Tax is a debt relief company that helps its clients resolve IRS tax debt. The company says it has worked with over 100,000 customers and settled over $800 million in tax debt. Community Tax offers multiple services, including tax resolution, tax planning, tax preparation and bookkeeping.
Community Tax's experts give a free tax analysis and possible solutions to your tax problems. The organization does not disclose the minimum debt you must have in order to utilize its services, but generally speaking most tax relief companies require around $10,000.
Community Tax was founded in 2010 and is available in all 50 states. It offers bilingual services online and in person in English and Spanish. Educational resources are available in both languages as well.
Community Tax doesn't list prices for its services online. Its website has limited information available, but you can call in and discuss your tax challenges during a free consultation. It is a BBB-accredited business and holds an A+ rating.
- No upfront fees
- $7,500 minimum required debt for debt relief services
- Online progress tracker available 24/7
- Fees can amount to 25% of enrolled debt
- Not available in all states
- No live chat customer support online
Why we chose it: Freedom Debt Relief is an excellent option for settling smaller debts as its minimum required debt is $7,500, lower than most competitors. The company also offers a free consultation so you can find out if its services are right for you.
Like most debt settlement companies, Freedom asks you to deposit payments according to a custom plan into a dedicated account. After your account reaches a certain amount, Freedom then begins negotiating with lenders on your behalf.
On average, Freedom Debt Relief's plans take 24 to 48 months to complete. This can vary depending on factors such your level of debt, your creditors, and the amount you are able to save each month. Another useful feature is the company’s Client Dashboard, an online portal which enables you to track your progress 24/7.
Depending on your state, the cost of Freedom Debt Relief's services ranges from 15% to 25% of your enrolled debt. Freedom will not charge fees until you have made your first payment and it has negotiated with your creditors, coming to an agreement on the settled amount the creditors will accept. Freedom Debt Relief will disclose your fees upfront and will not increase them.
While a few other debt relief companies also have low amounts of minimum required debt, Freedom Debt Relief stands out as the top choice for several reasons. It has over 20 years of experience negotiating with creditors, which has led to over $15 billion in resolved debt. Freedom Debt Relief also offers a program guarantee that can amount to up to 100% if the total program cost is more than your total amount of debt.
Freedom Debt Relief provides services for Spanish speakers, but its services are not available in every state. While it is not accredited by the BBB, it boasts a rating of A+.
- Money back guarantee available
- No fees until accounts are settled
- Fees can amount to 25% of enrolled debt
- No mobile app
- Not available in every state
Why we chose it: National Debt Relief has a solid reputation and history that shows it is an excellent option, so much so that the company offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
Debt settlement isn’t always a sure thing. That’s why National Debt Relief offers a solid satisfaction guarantee. If the company can’t settle your debt, or you are unsatisfied with the process for any reason, National allows you to cancel the service without penalties or fees other than those associated with debt that has already been settled.
Additionally, National boasts a team of certified International Association of Professional Debt Arbitrators, and claims to have received over 75,000 five-star reviews from top review sites.
National Debt Relief is accredited by the BBB, and while it has accrued over 100 registered complaints in the past year, the company has resolved them in a timely manner and maintains an A+ rating on the site.
National Debt Relief doesn’t charge any upfront fees, and costs range from 15% to 25% of your enrolled debt. The company says that, on average, customers can become debt free in 24 to 48 months. However, National doesn’t offer a live chat feature or a mobile app, so to receive a free quote, you must fill out a form online or call.
- High customer satisfaction
- Transparent information on website
- Fees not charged until settlement agreement has been made
- Lack of transparency with fees
- Not available in three states
- Minimum debt not disclosed
Why we chose it: New Era Debt Solutions has some of the highest customer satisfaction ratings of all the debt relief companies we’ve reviewed.
New Era Debt Solutions averages 4.9 out of 5-star ratings on multiple online review sites. The company is BBB accredited with an A+ rating. Additionally, consultants, resources and services are all available in Spanish.
The company is also transparent about its statistics, listing average settlement amounts, percentages of clients that drop out before completing the debt relief program, and more on its website for potential customers to consider before signing up.
New Era employs debt relief attorneys and negotiators to help you get the best debt settlement possible for your unsecured debt. The company website notes that it takes an average of 28 months for customers to become debt-free through its program and that it doesn’t charge any upfront fees but collects only once a settlement agreement has been made.
New Era Debt Solutions operates in all states except for Maine, Oregon and Iowa. However, the website does not disclose fees and the minimum debt necessary for eligibility.
Other debt relief companies we considered
- Free consultation
- Helps with many kinds of unsecured debt
- Need more than $10,000 in unsecured debt
- Not available in every state
Pacific Debt Relief helps qualified applicants consolidate and reduce their debt by up to 50%. Pacific Debt Relief can help you settle multiple types of debt, including credit cards, medical debt, business debts, personal loans and more. To qualify, you must have a minimum of $10,000 in unsecured debt. However, Pacific Debt Relief is less accessible than competitors, as customers don't have an online account or portal.
- Tax relief services available
- No upfront fees
- Out-of-date website
- Debt relief services not available in every state
CuraDebt helps customers with the debt settlement of credit cards, personal loans, medical bills, business debts, some secured debts, back taxes and IRS debt. While CuraDebt’s tax debt relief services are available in every state except Pennsylvania, its other debt relief services are unavailable in 15 states.
CuraDebt doesn’t charge monthly or upfront fees. Its website states that its costs are 20% or less of the total debt amount on average. CuraDebt isn’t a BBB-accredited company but boasts an A+ rating on the site.
- Free consultation
- Over $1 billion in debt managed
- Recent legal trouble with CFPB for unlawful fees
- Doesn't list prices online
DMB Financial is a debt settlement company that will work with your creditors to help you restructure your debt and create a manageable time frame to repay them.
To learn more about DMB Financial’s debt settlement program, it offers a free consultation through one of its certified program consultants. However, DMB Financial doesn’t list prices for its services online.
The CFPB filed a lawsuit against DMB Financial in December 2020 for charging consumers unlawful fees, which resulted in a $5.4 million penalty. The BBB hasn’t accredited DMB Financial and has given it a rating of B+, much lower than our other picks.
Debt Relief Companies Guide
Before deciding on a debt relief company, grasp all the options available to you and how they work. This guide will help you understand debt relief to make the best decision.
What is debt relief?
Debt relief comes in several forms but is the overall reorganization or settlement of your debt when you struggle to make on-time payments. Debt relief will assist you and make it easier to get out of debt, but you may face negative consequences depending on your debt situation.
Some signs that you may want to consider debt relief include:
- You’re late on or missing payments
- You’re having budgeting for your payments
- You’re not making any progress on paying off your debts
- Your debts continue to accumulate
- You’re considering bankruptcy
What is a debt relief program?
A debt relief program is a plan, usually created by a debt relief company, to help you pay off your debt. It can include debt consolidation or debt settlement, among other solutions.
How does debt relief work?
Debt relief can help you reduce, manage and pay off what you owe in several ways. You may need assistance creating an effective budget or a new loan that will give you better opportunities to help you pay back your debts. Some of the possible ways that debt relief can help solve your problems include:
- Canceling part or all of your debt
- Consolidating or refinancing your debt
- Altering the terms of your agreement
- Extending your repayment term
- Lowering your interest rate
- Introducing a grace period of no interest
While debt relief can be an excellent option, you should remember that many options may negatively affect your credit report and limit your opportunities to receive credit in the future.
The different types of debt relief
While there are several debt relief options, it's best to try to sort out what you owe and get out of debt by yourself. Two popular ways to pay off debt without getting aid from a debt relief company are the debt snowball and debt avalanche methods.
The debt snowball method requires you to pay the minimum monthly amounts on all your debts and allocate any extra money towards the smallest debt. Once you pay off that debt completely, put any extra money into the next smallest debt. This method will help you gain momentum as you cancel your debts individually.
Similarly, the debt avalanche method has you pay the minimum monthly payments on all your debts but put your extra money towards the debt with the highest APR. Like the debt snowball method, when you pay off the debt with the highest APR, you turn your sights to the next highest APR until you've paid all of the debts.
If these methods don't suit your financial situation, you should try a different type of debt relief, including debt consolidation, credit counseling, debt management, debt settlement, balance transfer credit cards, debt forgiveness or bankruptcy.
Debt consolidation is a type of debt relief where you combine multiple debts into one single debt consolidation loan. By consolidating your debts, you’ll likely only need to pay one monthly payment. Often, consolidation allows you to take loans and debts with high interest and pay them off with a lower-interest loan, allowing some relief and making repayment more manageable.
By consolidating your debt, you’ll end up paying the original amount you borrowed. Your credit score may be affected temporarily by a hard inquiry, but it will not affect your credit score long-term like other types of debt relief. Making on-time payments and paying off your consolidation loan over time is one of the ways to improve your credit score.
Debt consolidation is a great tool to get out of debt, and you can use it to reorganize your debts even if you’re not facing severe issues. However, if you are facing serious debt problems, this may not be enough of a solution. Debt consolidation works best if you have a good enough credit score to get a loan with lower interest than your other debts and have enough monthly income to cover the payments.
You can use credit counseling to do more than just repair bad credit. Credit counselors can also help advise you on the best ways to deal with your debt problems. If you cannot get a debt consolidation loan, a credit counselor can help you discover what options are available to you. Credit counseling services may also include educational workshops to help you learn how to manage your money and budget more effectively.
A credit counseling agency may help you set up a debt management plan. Your credit counselor may ask your lender to approve the plan, including a lower interest rate and waived fees. You’ll still need to pay the entire amount owed, but a debt management plan will likely save you money in the long run.
Once you’ve agreed to a plan, you’ll pay the credit counseling agency a monthly fee. Depending on your plan, the agency will distribute your payment to the lenders. Your credit counseling agency may also take some monthly payments as a fee.
In some cases, you may be able to speak with your lenders and come to an agreement that changes the terms of your debt or cancels part of your debt. Debt settlement is only an option when you can no longer make your regular payments on time.
When you can no longer pay your debts, the lenders lose money because they don’t receive any payments. A debt collector may strike a deal with you to receive some payments. If you’re unsure how to negotiate with debt collectors, you can employ a debt settlement company to help you.
Using a debt settlement company can help you reduce your debt, but it will charge you for its services, and there’s no guarantee it will save you money. Debt settlement companies often require you to stop paying your creditor, even if you have money to continue your monthly payments. The idea is that when your lender sees that you cannot make payments, it will negotiate the terms of your debt with the debt settlement company. But lenders do not necessarily agree to settle the debt.
Getting some of your debt settled sounds great, but it has drawbacks. The IRS often considers settled debt to be income, so you will probably need to pay taxes on whatever amount you don’t need to repay.
Also, your debt collector will likely inform the credit bureaus that you can’t pay your entire debt back, resulting in a stain on your credit report for years. Debt settlement will make it more challenging to receive a line of credit or a loan in the future, so you should only consider it if you’ve exhausted all other options.
“Debt settlement may well leave you deeper in debt than you were when you started,” the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has warned. “Most debt settlement companies will ask you to stop paying your debts in order to get creditors to negotiate and to collect the funds required for a settlement. This can have a negative effect on your credit score and may result in the creditor or debt collector filing a lawsuit while you are collecting settlement funds.”
The FTC also warns: “Debt settlement programs can be risky. If a company can’t get your creditors to agree to settle your debts, you could owe even more money in the end in late fees and interest.”
Balance transfer credit cards
If you’re unsure how to pay off credit card debt, you should consider getting a balance transfer credit card. Balance transfer credit cards are special credit cards that allow you to transfer the debt you’ve racked up on other credit cards all into one place. Depending on the company and card you use, this may assist you in paying off your debt.
While some companies will charge a fee to transfer your current debt onto one of their cards, others will waive any transfer fee. It’s also possible to find cards with a grace period that will charge 0% APR for anywhere from six to 21 months. The terms will differ as some companies charge interest on new purchases, and others won’t. Some cards may also have rewards programs that will allow you to earn points or cash back.
Transferring your existing credit card debt to a balance transfer card is an excellent way to consolidate credit card debt. It can provide some time to get your finances together, but you’ll still need to make the minimum monthly payments even if you are not accruing interest. Failing to make on-time monthly payments may result in a disqualification of your grace period or loss of benefits.
Debt forgiveness is when a lender removes all or some of the debt you owe. To have your debts forgiven, you must meet certain eligibility requirements depending on which type you apply for. Debt forgiveness may be available for unsecured loans such as personal loans, medical bills, student loans and credit cards. Like debt settlement, the IRS may consider your forgiven debts as income and require you to pay taxes.
Filing for bankruptcy isn’t something to take lightly. You can use bankruptcy to help with your debt problems, but it will come at a significant cost. Most individuals file for either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Each chapter has different ways to deal with your debt.
If you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a bankruptcy trustee will sell assets that you own and give the proceeds to your lender. Some assets are exempt and cannot be sold, such as the clothes and tools you need for your job. Once the trustee sells all of your nonexempt assets, you won’t have to pay off any more of your debt. While you may not need to pay off all of your debt, Chapter 7 bankruptcy can remain on your credit report for up to 10 years, making it difficult to get any other forms of credit.
Unlike Chapter 7 bankruptcy, filing for Chapter 13 will allow you to hold on to more assets. Chapter 13 will require you to create a payment plan that you’ll follow to pay off all of your debts over several years. Even though you’ll eventually pay off all of your debts, the bankruptcy will remain on your credit report for up to seven years.
How to apply for debt relief
As debt relief comes in many different forms, applying for debt relief will depend on which option you decide to pursue. If you decide to get assistance from a debt relief company, your debt relief will depend on your eligibility for one of their programs. You can also try to get debt relief by consolidating your debts, speaking directly with your lender or declaring bankruptcy.
Debt Relief Companies FAQ
How does debt relief affect your credit?
What do debt relief companies do?
What does it take to qualify for debt relief?
How do you choose the best debt relief company?
How We Chose the Best Debt Relief Companies
We analyzed the top debt relief companies available to support our recommendations. To decide which companies were best, we considered the following:
- Costs: We considered debt relief companies that provide the best services for the money, rather than the cheapest options.
- Transparency: Our picks are transparent about their practices and their results.
- Services and offerings: We chose companies that give you options, depending on the type of debt you have and how you can settle it.
- Third-party ratings: We looked at trusted third-party rating sites to determine how satisfied previous customers are.
- Customer support: We considered the accessibility and support each company offers its customers.
- Accreditation: Our picks are accredited by the Better Business Bureau or have received high ratings.