Table of Contents
- National Debt Relief can negotiate your outstanding debts with creditors, allowing you to pay less than what you owe.
- The debt settlement process has several drawbacks, including a lower credit score and the potential that the process doesn’t work out.
- National Debt Relief charges fees between 15% to 25% of the enrolled debt.
- Their average negotiation rate is 50%, meaning that if the process is successful, you can expect to pay around 50% of the initial amount you owe (excluding fees).
- Remember to consider other alternatives, like credit counseling and debt consolidation, before pursuing debt settlement.
National Debt Relief is a prominent debt relief company in the United States, having assisted over 500,000 individuals in the debt settlement process since their founding in 2009. They specialize in debt negotiation with the goal of reducing the amount of debt owed by clients.
How It Operates
National Debt Relief (NDR) guides clients through the process of debt settlement, which begins with defaulting on your debt(s). You’ll be asked to stash money aside in a separate savings account each month to accumulate a hefty lump-sum payment NDR can use as leverage when negotiating with your creditors.
Once your balance is solid, National Debt Relief will negotiate with your creditors to settle your debt for less than the owed amount. Once a settlement is reached, the creditor is paid from the savings account, and the remaining debt is canceled.
This process takes anywhere from 24 to 48 months.
Fees And Costs
By law, debt settlement companies cannot charge upfront fees for their service. However, once your debt is settled, you will get hit with a fee. On average, fees range from 15% to 25% of the total enrolled debt, although it varies by state.
National Debt Relief encourages clients to save for the fee each month when they set aside money to pay the lump-sum payment. If they aren’t able to settle your accounts, you won’t have to pay them.
That said, they have an average negotiation rate of 50%, meaning they usually save clients 50% on their debts, excluding fees. You can view past settlements at a variety of financial institutions for examples.
Eligibility And Types Of Debt
National Debt Relief’s program is ideal for people with high amounts of unsecured debt, like:
- Credit cards
- Medical bills
- Personal loans
- Lines of credit
- Business debts
- Certain student debts
Because they only work with unsecured debt, they can’t negotiate debts tied to an asset like a home or car. This means they can’t assist with mortgages or auto loans. They also can’t negotiate IRS debt.
Impact On Credit Score
The debt settlement process can, and likely will, lower your credit score. In some cases, this drops your score around 100 points or more. This is because all debt settlement processes begin with defaulting on payments. This will ding your payment history, which makes up 35% of your credit score. Late payments remain on your credit report for seven years, however, so it’ll eventually leave your report.
NDR is upfront about this — as they should be — and cautions clients about the risks associated with the process.
Reputation And Reviews
National Debt Relief is a reputable, trustworthy company, with accreditation from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and an A+ rating. Previous clients share rave reviews on several platforms, landing them 4.67 stars on BBB, 4.7 stars on TrustPilot, and 4.9 stars on Consumer Affairs.
Most importantly, they’re a member of both the International Association of Professional Debt Arbitrators (IAPDA) and the American Associated for Debt Resolution (AADR), formerly known as the American Fair Credit Council (AFCC). These two organizations have strict codes of conduct, holding member companies to high standards.
While National Debt Relief is an excellent company to pursue debt settlement with, it’s important to consider the potential drawbacks of the process in general before enrolling:
Damaged Credit Score
Because the debt settlement process forces you to default on your debts, your credit score will take a hit. If you have already missed payments to your creditors before enrolling in the program, you may notice a more significant drop in your score.
There is no guarantee the debt settlement process works. On average, 35% to 60% of cases are successful, according to the FTC. NDR doesn’t publish their personal success rates.
Forgiven debt is taxable, according to the IRS. That said, if you have more liabilities than assets at the time of settlement, you may not have to pay taxes on the forgiven debt. It’s best to consult a CPA or tax professional for advice regarding your personal situation.
If you’re unable to complete the program for any reason — whether it’s a change in goals or an inability to save a sufficient amount — you may be left with more debt than you started with. Late fees can accrue while you miss payments, which can grow your outstanding balance rapidly.
National Debt Relief’s process takes between 24 and 48 months. This is shorter than it may take you to pay off the debt in full, but it’s still a solid length of time to remain focused.
National Debt Relief offers a potential solution for those struggling with significant debt or teetering on filing bankruptcy. However, it’s essential to understand the terms and potential impacts before enrolling. Debt settlement should be a last resort option that is thoroughly thought through.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What Is Debt Negotiation?
Debt negotiation is a process in which an individual negotiates with a creditor to allow the debtor to pay a lower amount than the total debt owed, while forgiving the remaining balance. This process can be performed by a professional debt settlement company or the debtor themselves.
There are several benefits to this process, such as:
• Lower debt: If the process is successful, you’ll pay less than the entire balance you owe.
• Avoiding bankruptcy: Debt settlement is a viable solution if you’re pondering filing bankruptcy.
• Relief from creditors: Once you miss a payment, creditors will attempt to reach you in every way possible. If the debt settlement process is successful, however, your remaining balance will be forgiven and creditors will get off your back.
There are several downsides as well:
• Credit impact: The debt settlement process will likely lower your credit score, sometimes by 100 points or more.
• Tax implications: Forgiven debt may be considered taxable income by the IRS, meaning you’ll need to pay taxes on the forgiven balance.
• Lengthy process: The debt settlement process can take up to four years, and you’ll need to remain disciplined and focused while stashing away money during that time.
What Are Some Alternatives To Debt Relief Programs?
If you’re in a sticky financial situation, debt relief is a viable solution. However, it’s important to consider all the options available to you before pursuing one.
Credit counseling organizations are often non-profit organizations with a team of financial counselors trained to help you navigate tricky financial situations. They can help you make decisions about your debt before enrolling in a debt settlement program.
Debt consolidation is the process of borrowing a new loan at a lower interest rate than the debts you currently have. You’d use the amount of this new loan to pay off your original debts, then begin making payments on the new loan.
Through this process, you’re able to streamline payments to just one loan, as opposed to several, while potentially saving on interest. However, if you get hit with origination fees, it might not make a significant enough difference in your debt payoff.