Best Debt Consolidation Companies
Personal Finance Contributing Editor
Updated on 07/23/2018
Debt consolidation companies offer solutions to combine multiple debts–such as credit card bills, home loans, or other loans–into one easy-to-manage monthly payment. This debt relief solution may be helpful for consumers with many outstanding debts, especially if they have debts with high interest rates.
When combined with debt negotiation (also known as debt settlement), debt consolidation helps consumers save substantial amounts of money, develop a workable budget, pay off debt and save money for retirement. Debt counselors offer a variety of services in local offices, online or over the phone to help with a debt consolidation plan.
Compare Reviews for Debt Consolidation Companies
|National Debt Relief|
Read 27595 Reviews
Minimum debt required is $7,500. Most debt settlement cases are settled in 24-48 months. Debt is often reduced by as much as 50%. No upfront fees, with the final fee varying between 18-25% of enrolled debt.
|Freedom Debt Relief|
Read 12698 Reviews
Minimum debt required is $7,500. Track progress 24-7 via online Client Dashboard. Customizable monthly program deposit. Debt can be resolved in 24-48 months, and fees range from 15-25%. No-risk debt-relief consultation offered.
|Consolidated Credit Counseling Services|
Read 1092 Reviews
Reduce credit card payments by up to 30-50%. Offers free online financial education webinars and three debt solutions, including debt consolidation. Specialized credit counseling available for military families.
Read 1090 Reviews
Free personalized credit consultation and three service levels offered that range from $89.95-$129.95/month. One-time first-use fee charged 5-15 days after sign-up. Service is month-to-month and can be cancelled anytime.
|Accredited Debt Relief|
Read 320 Reviews
Minimum debt required is $7,500. Average debt settlement program takes 2-4 years. Multiple plans available, and no fees are required until settlement is reached. Money-back guarantee.
Read 26 Reviews
A credit restoration company. Changes to credit history are often seen in 45 days. A 90-day money-back guarantee includes a personal advisor and online system to track progress. Monthly fees range from $60-100.
|CountryWide Debt Relief|
Read 408 Reviews
$10,000 minimum required debt. Debt consolidation programs and loans take 12-60 months depending on affordability, and no fees are required until debts are settled. Flat 18% fee based on amount of debt owed at time of enrollment.
|Cambridge Credit Counseling Corp.|
Read 1959 Reviews
Offers credit counseling, debt consolidation and housing counseling. Average interest rate reduction is 64% with monthly payments reduced by around 25%. Debt consolidation takes around 48 months. Average initial fee is $40.
|United Debt Counselors|
Read 50 Reviews
United Debt Counselors is a debt settlement company that helps with credit card debt. They can reduce the interest you’re paying and may be able to negotiate a debt settlement this is much lower than your current balance.
|Century Support Services|
Read 380 Reviews
Settlement percentages average between 40%-60% of original debt. No upfront or hidden fees. Programs range from 24 to 48 months. No fee is collected until a settlement is reached. Access and authorize information 24-7 online.
|CountryWide Debt Consolidation Loans|
Read 16 Reviews
CountryWide Debt Relief has several options for debt relief, including debt settlement, debt consolidation and consumer credit counseling services. They help people facing financial hardships, including people facing bankruptcy.
|GreenPath Financial Wellness|
Read 376 Reviews
Minimum required debt is $10,000. Free counseling and financial education provided. Average monthly fee is about $36, and no fee is charged until debts are settled. Debts are usually paid off in 3-5 years.
|Pacific Debt Inc|
Read 494 Reviews
Minimum debt required is $10,000. Low monthly program payment and no upfront fees. Service fees vary between 15 and 25% of the total debt enrolled. Most results take 24-48 months.
|New Era Debt Solutions|
Read 89 Reviews
Average debt reduction is around 47% with debts settled in three years or less depending on the pace at which the program is funded. Fees range from 14%-20% based on the amount of debt at enrollment.
Read 7 Reviews
Minimum required debt is $10,000. No upfront payments and no fees until a debt settlement is reached, which typically takes 24-48 months. Debt reduction averages 15%-35% with low monthly payments and interest rate reduced to zero.
Questions to ask when choosing a debt consolidation company
Do they offer credit counseling?
Before consolidating debt, the consumer should find a reputable credit counseling organization for advice on money management and debt relief. Some debt consolidation companies offer credit counseling services in-house. When choosing a credit counselor, there are numerous features to consider.
- Services and seminars: Aside from one-on-one consultation, credit counseling services often offer classes and seminars about building credit.
- Qualifications: Review the qualifications of certifications of the counselors and the agency to make sure they have the right credentials. Also, see if any substantial complaints are leveled against the counseling service.
- Security: Most credit counseling companies have access to a lot of information, and you’ll want to make sure yours is secure. Review a counseling company’s security policy before giving them your information.
- Fees: Getting a clear picture of any upfront or hidden fees is one way to make sure the debt relief service is right for you. Do not sign any contract without reading it first. The counseling service should put any verbal promises regarding price in writing.
- Planning: Credit counseling can help solve current problems, but having a good plan can help you in your financial future. Look for a credit counseling service that also helps avoid future debt problems by helping you come up with a financial plan.
Does the company help with a savings plan?
In addition to helping you with debt relief, many companies offer information and assistance with setting up a savings plan. Find out if your debt counselor can help you create a savings plan to stay out of debt in the future, and make sure to review important information before agreeing to a savings plan.
- Review contract: If you want a savings plan as part of your service, make sure it appears in your contract. That way, you can have the terms set in writing.
- Client success: It’s always a good idea to look for reviews and success stories before setting up a savings plan. A company with a track record of success means you will work with a more experienced agency.
- Extra service fees: Even if a savings plan is not part of your service deal, some companies offer assistance in setting up a savings plan at an additional cost.
- Savings resources: Debt relief agencies sometimes have robust educational resources that include classes, videos, podcasts, blogs and e-books. Many agencies offer these savings aids for free on their websites.
What qualities should you look for in a debt management service?
If you're in the market for debt consolidation, you may also want to look into debt management as well. Debt management includes learning how to pay off existing debt and stay out of debt in the future. There are a wide variety of debt management programs. Make certain when signing up for a debt management program that you understand the details, especially regarding customer support.
- Company history: Investigate the company’s history. Find out how long the company has been in operation and how many customers they have successfully helped in the past. Look for firms that are accredited and licensed.
- Specialized help: Consider choosing a company that specializes in your particular situation. Some companies specialize in debt settlement or might be better at working with customers with excess credit card debt, while others focus on personal or student loan debt.
- Customer support: You will likely want to work with a debt consolidation company with accessible experts. Look for providers with extensive phone hours or online support in case you need to contact someone. You can also find companies that offer continued support with savings or management plans after your debt is consolidated.
How do I pay for debt consolidation services?
Debt assistance agencies offer their services at many different price points. For your debt consolidation, debt settlement and other debt relief concerns, make sure you understand the pricing structure in advance and have all cost information in writing to find a payment plan that fits your needs.
- Flat fees and package deals: Some debt consolidation companies charge a flat fee for their services. These services are often available in tiered packages, charging a flat rate for each collection of debt relief services.
- Custom price: Some debt consolidation companies will work with you to create a unique payment plan to best fit your financial plan.
- Payment plans: Some debt consolidation companies offer payment plans instead of upfront payment. This method of payment may be the best option if you cannot pay for services directly out of pocket.
How do I know my information is secure?
When dealing with sensitive financial information, it's important to choose a debt consolidation company that will protect your information and keep your data private. Make sure you ask about a company’s information security before giving them your information.
- Encryption: Ask how the company communicates safely with its clients. You don’t need to know the specifics about a company’s encryption methods, but you will want to make sure your credit information is encrypted.
- Licensing: A debt consolidation company must pass several background checks, provide proof of accreditation and endure a lengthy application process before becoming licensed. Make sure your chosen debt consolidation company has gone through the proper channels to become licensed before you give them your information.
What qualifications should a debt counselor have?
Debt counselors who work for the debt consolidation firms should be qualified to practice in your state. It is a good idea to review not only the accreditation of a company but also an individual counselor’s qualifications to make sure you’re getting professional service.
- Certification: Your debt counselor should be certified by a reputable organization and the appropriate authorities like the National Association of Certified Credit Counselors (NACCC) or the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC).
- Education background: It’s fairly common to inquire about your counselor’s education background. Some companies also require that their counselors continue their education with seminars or in-house training.
- Employee compensation: Sometimes, counselors earn more money by selling additional services. This compensation model can lead some counselors to push services on clients that they may not need. Salaried employees will be more likely to have the consumer’s best interests in mind.
What types of debt consolidation counseling services are there?
Credit counseling is the most common form of debt counseling. Most credit counseling plans are designed to teach consumers basic principles of debt reduction and how to avoid future debt and credit problems.
Housing counselors help with mortgage debt and can also advise renters, people interested in buying a new home and seniors who want to take advantage of reverse mortgages. Housing counseling coupled with debt consolidation or even debt settlement can help people avoid foreclosure on their homes or people who want to take advantage of different government programs.
Federal law stipulates anyone considering filing for bankruptcy must seek counseling before filing. They are also required to complete an education course before filing. Sometimes, debt consolidation can help clients avoid bankruptcy.
Student loan counseling
Student loans are difficult to repay. Some debt consolidation offer counseling services that help with student loan debt in particular. The counselor will help the student evaluate and understand her repayment and assistance options to decide which type of debt relief option is best.
How to consolidate debt
Make a list of all your debts
The first step to taking control of your finances and consolidating debt is to make a list of all your loan and credit card balances. Write down your monthly payment amounts and interest rates so that you can focus on finding a debt consolidation loan with a lower interest rate than what you're paying today. Many debt consolidation companies specialize in credit card debt consolidation. If you have multiple credit card payments, calculate your average interest rate so you can measure that against a single, lower interest rate loan option.
Consider all debt consolidation options
When seeking debt relief, consumers who opt to consolidate their debt still have a handful of options to choose from. You can transfer all your debt to a single credit card, open a home equity loan or home equity line of credit (also known as a HELOC), take out a personal loan or tap into their savings. Each option comes with its own advantages and setbacks.
Choose between a secured vs. unsecured loan
If you've weighed your debt relief options and you decide to take out a debt consolidation loan, you'll need to choose between a secured loan or an unsecured loan. Most personal loans are unsecured loans–which means there are no assets at risk. While this sounds ideal for most consumers, not everyone will qualify for an unsecured personal loan. Personal loans usually top out at $10,000 but will vary based on your credit score and credit history. Larger personal loans will require better credit scores, and not every consumer will qualify for the debt consolidation loan amount he needs to consolidate all debt into one, fixed monthly payment. Home equity loans are secured loans that often come with lower interest rates but longer repayment periods–which means you'll accrue more interest over the life of the loan.
Find the lowest interest rates available to you
Getting a lower interest rate on a debt consolidation loan is possible if you have a good credit history. Getting a debt consolidation loan with bad credit certainly isn't unheard of–but higher interest rates could mean you aren't saving much money, which could defeat the purpose of consolidating your debt into one, easy payment. When you're choosing a debt consolidation loan provider, consider the full amount of interest you'll pay over the life of the loan. Opting for a shorter term would increase your monthly payments but will also reduce the amount of interest and fees you'll pay over time.
Expert reviews for debt consolidation companies
Cambridge Credit Counseling was established in 1996 and works to provide credit counseling, debt management programs and financial literacy education to clients across America. It is a non-profit company and specializes in credit, housing, reverse mortgage and bankruptcy counseling and debt reduction services.
Freedom Debt Relief is a credit advocacy and debt resolution company that has resolved over $4 billion in debt for its clients. Freedom Debt Relief has over 900 highly-trained professionals at their company. Their individualized approach first reviews every customer’s personal situation to determine whether they are the best fit for the company. If the company can’t help the consumer, they refer them to a more suitable agency.
Consolidated Credit has been in business for over 20 years and has helped over 5 million people eliminate debt. The company offers a wide range of debt assistance programs including debt management, credit improvement, avoiding foreclosure and bankruptcy plans. Consolidated Credit also offers a strong counseling and financial education component.
Established in 1961 as Michigan Credit Union League, GreenPath debt solutions has grown into a full nonprofit financial services organization. The company has offices across the country and helps more than 200,000 people annually.
CountryWide Debt Relief is a 30-year-old debt settlement company that educates its clients about options to avoid bankruptcy. The firm is a proactive company that negotiates with debtors, coordinates repayment and teaches clients about improving their credit scores.
Founded in 2002, Pacific Debt Inc. was created to address the rise of consumer debt in the United States. Since its founding, Pacific Debt has settled millions of dollars in consumer debt each month by offering counseling and solutions that put the customer first.
National Debt Relief helps consumers find relief from burdensome debt with their debt settlement services. They offer alternatives to bankruptcy along with educational resources for people who are considering filing for bankruptcy.
Century Support Services is a debt settlement company that was founded in 2012 with headquarters in Pennsylvania. Century Support Services helps consumers reduce their debt by negotiating with companies to forgive a significant amount of unsecured debt.
New Era Debt Solutions has been offering people debt relief options since 1999. It provides debt settlement programs for multiple types of unsecured debt, including credit cards, personal lines of credit, repossessions, judgments and private student loans.
Accredited Debt Relief works with several debt relief partners to help clients take control of their financial futures. Accredited Debt Relief reviews different debt relief programs and makes sure to match clients with the debt solution right for them.
This financial service company helps you settle your debt quickly by offering a selection of debt strategies catered to you. Professionals help you design a custom debt solution that meets your unique financial needs.
United Debt Counselors (UDC) is a debt settlement firm that helps people who have high credit card balances with high interest rates. UDC helps you combine all your debt into one bill with a lower interest rate, so you can pay off your debt earlier than if you did nothing.
Elite Financial Services is a debt settlement company that can help consumers eliminate debt in as little as 12 months. They only charge consumers a fee once they have successfully settled their debts, which can ease the financial burden of debt settlement.
Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada, Inc. is a nonprofit credit counseling organization that helps Canadians eliminate their debt responsibly. Their educational resources guide consumers to handle their current debt and learn money management skills that can prevent debt in the future.
Nonprofit Family Credit Management, a credit counseling agency has been in business for more than 20 years. The company has helped over 100,000 people get out of debt.
This company is a debt settlement advisor that can help you reduce the amount of money you owe. They work directly with creditors to get their clients lower overall payments so they can be debt-free in as little as 24-36 months.
- Credit advisors who are always available: You can contact CreditAssociates 24/7 to speak to an expert about your debt.
- Free debt consultation: If you aren’t sure whether or not you want to try debt settlement, you can start with a free debt consultation from CreditAssociates. They will give you a free savings plan that will give you a good idea of whether or not you want to move forward.
- No fees until debts are resolved: CreditAssociates doesn’t charge fees until all of your debts are resolved to your satisfaction.
- Free savings estimator: This free tool is available on CreditAssociates’ website and can give you an overview of how much debt settlement could potentially save you compared with debt consolidation or doing nothing.
- DebtApp: DebtApp from CreditAssociates is available on Apple and Android devices. This app allows you to easily track your progress, update your records and check on your account.
Clearpoint Credit Counseling is a non-profit, education-focused credit counseling firm committed to teaching consumers better money management skills. Founded in 1964, the firm offers budget, debt and housing advice. The company is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia and has more than 40 branches nation-wide.
Money Management International, founded in 1958, is a non-profit, full-service credit counseling agency in the U.S. Their services include professional financial guidance, credit, bankruptcy and housing counseling, as well as education and debt management services.
Debt Counseling Corp. is a not for profit debt consolidation company with a program to help clients manage their excessive debt. The company employs certified credit counselors and was founded in 1995.
- Action plan: The firm offers an action plan tailored to the consumer’s specific needs to help lower consumers’ interest rates and monthly payments.
- Accreditation and licensure: Debt Counseling Corp. is a licensed 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization and is accredited by BSI for ISO 9001:2008. The company is also licensed by the New York State Department of Financial Services.
- Fees and payments: Debt Counseling Corp. charges a combined monthly fee that includes a service charge and a debt repayment amount payable to the company, who then pays the consumer’s creditors.
- Free debt analysis: Debt Counseling Corp. provides free debt analysis for clients before they choose to enroll in their service. Once enrolled, program participants are eligible to continue free debt counseling.
- Education: Debt Counseling Corp. offers an online library, newsletter and free in-person seminars for those consumers who live near their home office.
- Best for: consumers with excessive credit card debt and those living paycheck to paycheck.
InCharge is a 501 (d) (3) non-profit organization offering free and impartial debt relief solutions to consumers struggling with debt. In business since 1997, InCharge’s Certified financial counselors have helped 1.2 million people with credit card debt and people facing bankruptcy and foreclosure.
7 Steps to 720 is an education and information company devoted to helping individuals reach their highest possible credit scores. For a one-time fee, 7 Steps to 720 provides several tools that make it possible for individuals to reach credit scores of 720, even if they’ve had financial problems in the past.
- Information topics: The firm has a wealth of information and referrals across a broad spectrum of money-management and debt related topics, including credit scores, credit reports, credit cards, bankruptcy and FICO.
- Additional services: 7 Steps to 720 provides additional information and referrals to appropriate attorneys and other credit-related services.
- Credit expertise: 7 Steps to 720 provides straightforward answers to some of the most common questions people have about how credit scores are determined, what credit scores mean and why they are important. Members have access to tutorials that explain how to read credit reports and fix errors that may harm credit scores.
- Step-by-step lessons: Online video lessons from 7 Steps to 720 provide step-by-step instructions to help members understand credit rating systems and how consumers can improve their credit scores within just a couple of years. 7 Steps to 720 also hosts accessible action guides for using credit cards strategically to improve credit as quickly as possible.
- User forum: 7 Steps to 720 provides a user forum where members can discuss lessons from the website and share additional tips for improving credit scores.
- Fee: The one-time fee includes step-by-step lessons, action guides and a user forum on a secure portal.
- Best for: for people looking for specific tactics to improve their credit score and to learn how to manage debt.
Information in this guide is general in nature and is intended for informational purposes only; it is not legal, health, investment or tax advice. ConsumerAffairs.com makes no representation as to the accuracy of the information provided and assumes no liability for any damages or loss arising from its use.
Compare Reviews for Debt Consolidation Companies
|Midland Credit Management||Read 199 Reviews|
Dedicated to helping consumers resolve past-due debt. Discounts and payment plans available. Full account history available online. An interactive wizard provides tools and resources.
|Family Credit Management|
Read 306 Reviews
Debts are typically paid off within 5 years of program start date. Fees are based on a sliding scale with no hidden charges. Choose a due date with your credit counselor. Receive monthly statements and 24/7 online account access.
|Ovation Credit Services|
Read 320 Reviews
Monthly credit monitoring offered. No-risk refund policy with a first-work fee of $89 and a recurring $59 monthly payment that can be cancelled anytime. Results are often seen in first 90 days.
|Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada|
Read 58 Reviews
Reduce credit card payments by up to 30%-50%. One-time set-up fee and nominal monthly fee. Most clients are debt free within 3-5 years making 36-60 monthly payments through a debt management plan.
|Elite Financial Services|
Read 28 Reviews
Minimum required debt of $5,000 required. Unsecured debts are settled in as little as 12-36 months depending on the monthly repayment amount. Free debt analysis. No fees until debts are settled.
|Global Client Solutions|
Read 15 Reviews
Third-party payment processor provides real-time access to account balances and a bank account to save, track and disperse funds for debt relief purposes.
Read 6 Reviews
Offers in-house debt relief services and counseling for those with $10,000 or more in unsecured debt. Fees generally assessed at 20% of debt enrolled. Does not assist with debt from home and auto loans or federal student loans.
Read 98 Reviews
Free online service that lets consumers compare rates on monthly bills to reduce the cost of living. They work with over 500 service providers on services such as home loans, credit cards and insurance.
Read 10 Reviews
Specializes in settlement and negotiation for those with at least $5,000 in debt from credit cards, payday loans or medical bills. Also offers support for those facing collection calls. No fee charged until settlement reached.
|American Consumer Credit Counseling||Read 7 Reviews|
Offers management of debt through 4-5 year program. Includes credit lines, personal loans and credit cards. Is a non-profit agency and charges a $39 enrollment fee plus a $5-$50 monthly fee. Also provides debt counseling.
|CareOne Credit Counseling|
Read 60 Reviews
Connects customers with at least $2,500 in unsecured debt to providers of debt consolidation and management. Program duration depends on the amount of debt. Also offers customer counseling for debt reduction and relief.
|ClearPoint Credit Counseling Solutions||Read Reviews|
Offers 3-5 year debt management programs for those whose debt is 15-50% of their annual income. Fees are assessed based on state laws, but do not exceed $75 per month. Also offers credit and debt counseling.
|Consumer Debt Solutions||Read Reviews|
Provides a directory of financial resources and connects customers to debt consolidation and management firms. Associated programs are 3-4 years and can reduce payments up to 50%. Fee structure based on state law.
|Credit Solutions of America|
Read 165 Reviews
Offers credit repair services for customers in several states. Month to month contracts start at $49/month and give customers a way to remove negative items from their credit report. Improvement takes around six months.
Read 5 Reviews
This debt settlement company helps clients eliminate debt in as little as 24-36 months. They use state-of-the-art software and a team of experts to negotiate your debt with your creditors to reduce the amount of money you owe.
|Homesavers USA||Read 18 Reviews|
Helps homeowners avoid foreclosure by helping with refinancing and managing mortgages. Works with banks and other lenders to create payment plans. Also provides access to legal professionals. Licensed in Texas.
|InCharge Debt Solutions||Read Reviews|
Nonprofit company. Offers consolidation programs for unsecured debt with monthly fees of $25-$50. Programs last about 4-5 years with no minimum debt amount. Also offers debt management plans and credit counseling.
|Meredian Financial Corp.||Read 25 Reviews|
Debt counselors can help you create a debt management plan. Fill out a form to get connected to a credit counselor and find out if you qualify.
|Money Management International|
Offers debt management programs and credit counseling. Debt should be 15-50% of customer's annual income, and programs take 3-5 years. Fees are up to $75/month and are based on state laws.
|Preferred Financial Services||Read 7 Reviews|
Preferred Financial Services is a debt settlement company that helps consumers reduce credit card debt by negotiating with creditors. They are based in Andover, Massachusetts and work with thousands of clients across the country.
|7 Steps to 720, LLC||Read Expert Review|
Provides customers with support for repairing their credit and improving their credit score. Three month course offers step-by-step guide through informational videos and blog posts. Course costs $1,000.
|Debt Counseling Corp.||Read Expert Review|
Nonprofit company. Offers debt management plans for those facing bankruptcy due to unsecured debt. No minimum debt. Program lengths vary. Also offers credit counseling for student loan debt and mortgage foreclosure.
|1st Financial Group||Read Reviews||Out of Business|
First Financial Group is a financial services organization that focuses on helping clients. They are headquartered in Clearwater, Florida and specialize in protecting current assets, investment goals and tax reduction.
|Clear Debt Solution||Read 10 Reviews||Out of Business|
Clear Debt Solution is a debt relief services company. Though it continues to offer support to pre-existing clients, the company is no longer accepting any new business.
|Debt Relief Network||Read 22 Reviews||Out of Business|
This company is no longer operational.
|Debt Settlement of America||Read 16 Reviews||Out of Business|
Debt Settlement of America is a debt settlement company that specializes in helping individuals with financial hardships avoid bankruptcy. They help with debt settlement and debt negotiation.