Many companies featured on Money advertise with us. Opinions are our own, but compensation and
in-depth research may determine where and how companies appear. Learn more about how we make money.

Key takeaways

  • BBB-accredited business with an "A+" rating
  • Can reduce your debt on average by 25%

A guide to debt settlement services

If you're on the brink of bankruptcy, you could engage a debt settlement firm. These companies can reduce your interest by negotiating a lower fee with creditors, making your payments more affordable.

Debt settlement firms run schemes that let you stop paying your lenders and make monthly payments into a secure trust instead. Once enough funds are in this account, they repay what you owe as a lump sum.

Critics of these schemes say there can be complications. Experian notes, "Debt settlement is a risky process with no guarantee of success."

Some consumer protection experts agree, pointing out that although these schemes reduce your debt, they negatively affect your credit rating. While waiting for your trust fund to grow, your lenders don’t receive their money. This triggers late payment notices, which the three major credit bureaus, Experian, TransUnion and Equifax, show for seven years on your credit report.

It's important to research debt settlement programs thoroughly. Like the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) states, "Do your homework. You're making a big decision that involves spending a lot of your money."

Despite criticisms of these schemes, there are trustworthy companies, including National Debt Relief, which has helped more than 400,00 people settle their debts. National Debt Relief has resolved more than $1 billion in unsecured debt since launching in 2009.

Read this review to see if National Debt Relief is right for you.

About National Debt Relief

National Debt Relief believes that it can reduce the amount of money you owe by up to 2530%. Like similar companies, it contacts creditors on your behalf to negotiate a debt reduction. Many lenders decide it's in their best interests, as partial payment is better than the nonpayment that would result from your bankruptcy.

National Debt Relief has negotiated settlements with thousands of creditors and offers free consultations.

Products and services

The National Debt Relief program is the company's flagship service, and if you apply, a certified debt specialist assesses your eligibility. The company will then agree on an affordable monthly payment with you, usually lower than your current loan repayments.

If you enter the scheme, you could clear your debt within two to four years, which, according to Experian, is standard for the industry. This time can vary depending on your debt's severity and payment plan.

Customer reviews

At the time of writing, National Debt Relief had over 35,000 reviews on Trustpilot and scored 4.7 out of 5.

Here's what two satisfied customers said in their reviews:

"Excellent Services! No lies or exaggeration! What they told me is what they are doing to help me. So far, everything they have done has exceeded my expectations. I am so happy I reached out to them for help. It was a very difficult decision, but I am not disappointed."

"Highly recommend National Debt Relief, great experience! We're so glad we made the decision to contact National Debt Relief almost four years ago. We've never had a negative experience with any of the staff; every interaction has been positive and helpful. The fact that we have settled almost $23,000 of debt in less than four years is miraculous to me. I have nothing but good things to say about National Debt Relief."

There were a few negative reviews, with some claiming it took them longer than expected to clear their debt. Others stated that they eventually paid more than their initial debt.

However, National Debt Relief is transparent about its chances of success and doesn’t guarantee it.


If National Debt Relief successfully negotiates an arrangement, it will charge you from 158% to 25% of your total debt. This is a standard in the industry and depends on where you live and how much you owe. However, it only charges if it successfully negotiates an arrangement. For example, if you owe $10,000, National Debt Relief may charge you $2,500 after reaching an agreement. However, if it has negotiated a 30% debt reduction, you'll save $500. In 2010, the FTC made collecting fees upfront illegal for debt settlement firms.

Unique features

  • Negotiators are all employees
  • Doesn't use third parties to negotiate
  • Member of the American Fair Credit Council
  • Certified by the International Association of Professional Debt Arbitrators
  • Experts at the Federal and State level
  • Over 10 years of experience
  • No hidden charges
  • Can adjust your plan
  • No cancellation fees

Who could benefit from using National Debt Relief?

On average, National Debt Relief's clients are in $25,000 to $30,000 debt, and the minimum amount to apply is $10,000.

National Debt Relief is for customers with severe financial problems and will ask for proof of this. It will also carry out a soft credit check. It negotiates unsecured debts, but not secured ones.

Here's what it can help with:

  • Medical bills
  • Credit cards
  • Personal loans
  • Repossessions
  • Gas cards
  • Business debt
  • Student debt
  • Overdrafts
  • Cellphone bills

And here's what it can't help with:

  • Lawsuits
  • IRS debt and back taxes
  • Utility bills
  • Auto and government loans
  • Mortgages or home loans
  • Child support
  • Insurance policies

The program is also unsuitable if you're still managing to make your payments. In this case, try debt management or debt consolidation.

What to know about the debt settlement industry

Although debt settlement programs can help people in debt, they have some drawbacks, including:

  • Negative effects on your credit score
  • Creditors may still contact you
  • Can take several years
  • Interest and late fees will accrue
  • Tax may be due on the amount forgiven (if over $600)


Debt settlement has helped many Americans, but should you decide to pursue this route, research the program thoroughly and choose one run by a trusted, well-established company.

Update: This article has been updated to reflect the current BBB rating for National Debt Relief. Information concerning current information and policies for NDB have also been updated.

Disclaimer: This story was originally published on February 11, 2022, on To find the most relevant information concerning National Debt Relief, please visit their website: