National Debt Relief offers a solution for debt by negotiating settlements with creditors. The company is accredited by the AFCC and IAPDA, and has received outstanding customer ratings.
National Debt Relief
National Debt Relief can help you negotiate with creditors to lower the amount of your unsecured debt. This company does not provide loans, but instead uses certified debt arbitrators to advocate on your behalf for lower payments, lower interest rates, and debt forgiveness measures.
You may want to consider National Debt Relief if you have significant unsecured debt that you cannot repay. You might be out of work because of an injury, job loss, or long-term disability.
Working with a debt relief service has long-term credit repercussions, so this program might not make sense if you have a short-term financial setback. If you are current on most of your bills and have good credit, consider cutting unnecessary items from your budget before pursuing debt relief.
In this article, I review the possible benefits and drawbacks of working with National Debt Relief to settle your debt.
Products & Services
With the National Debt Relief program, the certified debt arbitrator works directly with your creditors. While the company says you will not receive phone calls, texts, letters, or emails from collection agencies or credit card companies during this time, other sources report that creditors can still legally contact you unless you file for bankruptcy.
The arbitrator, who has training in financial negotiation, attempts to get your creditors to agree to a lump-sum payment. This amount will settle your past-due balance and close your account with that specific creditor.
While the arbitrator works to negotiate down your debt, you also make payments into a trust account. This bank account is guaranteed by the FDIC. Upon settling your debt, you can use this fund to pay the agreed-upon amount.
Debt consolidation involves taking a loan with a lower interest rate and using it to repay existing high-interest debt. Doing so can reduce your monthly payments and help you get out of debt.
National Debt Relief does not offer debt consolidation loans. However, when you schedule a consultation, a counselor will help you review potential debt consolidation options. They can also refer you to partner companies that provide debt consolidation.
Debt relief is an umbrella term for strategies to reduce debt. You can choose various methods for debt relief, including the National Debt Relief process outlined above. You can also try to negotiate with creditors independently, take out a debt consolidation loan, or file for bankruptcy.
Working with a debt relief company reduces the time you spend writing emails and talking on the phone with creditors compared to pursuing debt relief without professional help. Professionals have the knowledge and experience to efficiently and successfully negotiate with creditors. In addition to lowering your expenses, debt relief also consolidates your bills into a single monthly payment.
Credit Card Debt Relief
You may qualify for credit card debt relief if you owe more than $7,500 on your credit cards. Reducing these balances allows you to pay off your cards without years of costly interest. The process for credit card debt relief with National Debt Relief mirrors its standard debt relief process.
If you have substantial credit card debt, you may want to consider a credit card balance transfer. With this strategy, you transfer your high-interest credit card balances to a new card with a zero-percent interest rate, usually for a short introductory period. However, you must have a high enough credit score to qualify for a balance-transfer card, usually about 680.
Another company that offers debt relief services is New Era Debt Solutions. To learn more, read our in-depth New Era Debt Solutions review.
Rates and Terms
National Debt Relief does not report an annual percentage rate (APR) for its services. This company does not provide loans, but instead negotiates with creditors to lower your existing debt.
You must pay a fee of up to 18% to 25% of your total debt for this service, depending on the state where you live and the amount settled. However, National Debt Relief does not charge this fee upfront.
There is no credit score requirement to use National Debt Relief’s services. You may be able to work with the company if you have between $7,500 and $100,000 in eligible unsecured debt. Unsecured debt describes loans that do not have collateral such as a car or home.
Qualifying unsecured debts include:
- Credit card debts
- Personal loans
- Medical bills
- Private student loan debt
You cannot use National Debt Relief to settle:
- Secured debts, including auto loans and mortgages
- Federal student loan debt
- Federal and state tax debt
- Utility bills
- Expenses resulting from lawsuits
National Debt Relief does not specify the exact documents you must provide to sign up for its program. However, you should gather all relevant financial information, such as bank statements, tax returns, W-2 forms, and pay stubs, along with information about your debts.
In addition to income and expense documents, you must also be able to provide information that shows a legitimate financial hardship. For example, you might have become disabled or experienced job loss, making you unable to repay the loan as agreed.
To enroll with National Debt Relief, you must agree to stop payments to your creditors. Instead, you pay into a designated account that will be used to pay the balance when the company renegotiates your debts.
While stopping payments allows you to qualify for debt relief, it also has a negative impact on your credit score. This mark usually appears as “failed to pay as agreed” and stays on your report for up to seven years.
According to the company, most customers complete their debt relief programs in 24 to 48 months.
The process of debt relief starts when you request a consultation with a National Debt Relief representative. All representatives hold certification from the International Association of Professional Debt Arbitrators (IAPDA), an industry association that requires members to uphold certain standards and ethics. These individuals complete extensive training in debt relief measures and consumer protection laws.
During this session, the representative will explain your debt relief options and the associated terms and conditions. To schedule this consultation, you complete the online form on the National Debt Relief home page. You must enter:
- Your name
- Your phone number
- Your email address
- The amount of debt you have (range selected from a pull-down menu)
Note that when you complete this online form, you agree to receive debt relief and consolidation offers from third-party lenders and partners. This contact may include autodialed phone calls and up to seven daily text messages.
In addition to marketing calls, you can still receive calls from creditors when enrolled in a debt relief program. National Debt Relief does not prevent companies from collecting your debt, and creditors may take legal action when you discontinue payments.
You can access National Debt Relief services in 42 U.S. states. This program is not available in Connecticut, Georgia, Kansas, Maine, New Hampshire, Oregon, South Carolina, Vermont, or West Virginia.
The screening process for new clients of National Debt Relief takes just a few minutes to make sure you meet the appropriate criteria.
If you decide to move forward with a debt relief plan, you can access information about your progress on an easy-to-use customer dashboard. Unlike most competitors, however, National Debt Relief does not have a mobile app.
After signing up with consumer credit services, you can call a designated toll-free customer service line for existing clients. Dial 888-660-7427 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern standard time, Monday through Friday, to reach a representative.
New customers can call 800-300-9550 to speak to a debt relief expert. You may prefer this route to submitting your information on the National Debt Relief website. This line is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to midnight EST as well as Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. EST.
When I dialed this toll-free number at about 10:15 a.m. EST, I was greeted with a recorded menu that prompted me to press 3 and speak to a customer service representative. A friendly voice answered the phone in less than a minute.
I asked about the expected credit score decrease associated with this type of service and was immediately transferred to a sales representative. Unfortunately, he advised that he could not answer my question directly but could guide me through the 10-minute free consultation, which I politely declined.
You can also send a message to [email protected] for email support. An inquiry I sent at 1:27 p.m. EST on September 21 received the immediate automatic response in the screenshot below.
While I did receive a response from a representative about 24 hours later, he did not answer my question directly. As you can see in the second screenshot, the National Debt Relief customer service team may strive to get you on the phone and begin the consultation before addressing possible concerns.
In addition to live and online customer service, National Debt Relief offers financial planning resources. You can access free budget planning worksheets as well as an interactive calculator designed to help you take action against debt.
Awareness of the risks and potential advantages of debt settlement allows you to make a clear decision that fits your individual situation. If you’ve decided that debt relief is the right route for your finances, National Debt Relief is one of the few companies with valuable industry accreditation from the AFCC and IAPDA. It has outstanding customer ratings across the board, which may provide peace of mind about signing up for their services.
On the other hand, debt relief can have a serious impact on your credit score. You might have misgivings about stopping payments on your bills. If you have concerns about your ability to access a mortgage, car loan, or other types of financing within the next few years, consider other options such as debt consolidation before moving forward with a debt settlement plan.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is debt relief legitimate?
Debt settlement companies like National Debt Relief offer a legitimate way to reduce debt. This company has accreditation from the American Fair Credit Counsel (AFCC), an industry organization to uphold ethics and standards for credit counselors such as those at National Debt Relief. Make sure to work with a debt relief company that holds similar accreditation.
How much does it cost to use National Debt Relief?
National Debt Relief charges a fee of 18% to 25% of your total settled debt. For example, if you use this service to settle $30,000 in unsecured debt, the fee would range from $4,500 to $6,000. In addition, remember that fees and interest continue to accrue until the company reaches a debt settlement agreement with creditors.
Can you cancel National Debt Relief?
On its frequently asked questions page, National Debt Relief says you can cancel at any time without penalties or fees. In fact, the company offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee, which means you can ask for your money back if you’re not happy with the debt relief program for any reason.
Does National Debt Relief lower your credit score?
You will likely see a decrease in your credit score of up to 100 points if you use a debt service. Often, the debt relief plan includes stopping payments on debt to provide a basis for negotiation. National Debt Relief reports that most customers who stick to the plan see their scores improve over time, in addition to becoming debt-free.
Is debt settlement really worth it?
Debt settlement can work if you stick to the plan. However, it’s a good idea to calculate the total fees before moving forward. Some people find they can actually save money by filing for bankruptcy and experience comparable credit damage as with debt settlement. The decision to enter debt settlement, file for bankruptcy, or pursue other relief options depends on your personal situation.
Does settling debt have tax consequences?
If your creditors forgive more than $600 in debt, you may have to report the amount in question as income. However, you can show the IRS proof that you owed more than the value of your assets when you settled the debt.