Compare Reviews for Structured Settlement Companies
Structured settlements are legal settlements where a defendent pays a specified settlement amount to a plaintiff in installments over time. For instance, if you win a $50,000 settlement, you may receive $1,000 a month for 50 months or $1,000 a year for 50 years, depending on the terms of your structured settlement. Structured settlement payments can also result from other annuities of various types. Instead of receiving a settlement over the course of many months or years, many people prefer one lump sum which can then be spent or invested immediately.
Sometimes, a recipient of a structured settlement will seek out a buyer to purchase all or a portion of their payments. A structured settlement company, sometimes called a factoring company, then pays the consumer a discounted lump sum in exchange. This system can benefit the consumer by allowing access to money up front, and can also benefit the company that purchases the settlement at a discount. Because some predatory companies take advantage of less knowledgeable consumers, it is important to know what to look for when choosing a settlement company.
Top 9 Best Rated Structured Settlement
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Fairfield Funding purchases structured settlements and annuities. Backed by a 100 percent guarantee, Fairfield works to get you the best price, needed cash in as few as five days, no interest advances and fast closings.
|Read 47 Reviews|
Peachtree Financial Solutions has helped tens of thousands of people reach their goals. As a leading purchaser of structured settlement payments, it can buy all or some of your future payments so you can take the next big step.
|Read 71 Reviews|
J.G. Wentworth Structured Settlements has been purchasing future payment streams for more than 20 years. With a best price guarantee and customized transactions to fit your needs, J.G. Wentworth can help you get the cash you need.
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SenecaOne is a structured settlement and annuity purchasing company located in Bethesda, Marlyand. It offers payment plans customized to the recipients, giving them control of how much or how little they sell.
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Annuity Transfers is a Texas-based structured settlement company. The company offers personalized service that walks the customers through the process and the financial implications of their sales.
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Woodbridge Structured Funding is a California-based structured settlement company. It goes beyond the basics with its guaranteed highest price on a buyout, offering $500 if you get funded by the competition.
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Stone Street Capital is a structured settlement company in Bethesda, Maryland. It offers quotes via phone, making the process of getting cash quick and painless. The company personalizes every quote to meet specific needs.
Oasis Financial is a structured settlement company headquartered in Illinois. In addition to purchasing future payments, Oasis offers pre-settlement funding to provide cash during personal injury or accident lawsuits.
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Annuity.org is a company that buys annuities and structured settlements for consumers who prefer a one-time lump sum instead of smaller payments over time. The company is a partner of Pennsylvania-based CBC Settlement Funding.
The ConsumerAffairs Research Team believes everyone deserves to make smart decisions. We aim to provide readers with the most up-to-date information available about today's consumer products and services.
What should you consider when choosing a structured settlement company?
What is the purchase price?
Before you sell your structured settlement, get quotes from several companies to see how much you can reasonably expect. Then, as you consider the quotes, keep in mind that the purchase price or lump sum they offer might vary considerably due to the time-value of money involved in the quote. “Time-value” refers to the idea that money available now is worth more than money available later, because if you have it now, you can invest it and earn more off of it. Companies consider several factors when determining the purchase price of a settlement.
- Duration of the settlement: A dollar now is worth more than a dollar in the future. How soon the total settlement will be paid out in full makes a difference in the purchase price. Buyers mostly prefer payments that will be made sooner to lessen their risk, and will often pay less for a settlement that will not pay out completely for many years.
- Timing of the payments: The sooner the payments being sold will be received by the purchasing company, the higher the purchase price will be. For instance, payments that come monthly may be more attractive than payments that come annually or bi-annually. If your payments are spaced out widely, you might consider selling some but not all of the payments at once.
- Total amount of the settlement: Obviously, the total value of the settlement affects the price you can sell it for today. Structured settlements of lower value may not be easy to sell for a lump sum.
Are there surrender charges or fees?
Depending on the initial plan setup, surrender charges and fees must sometimes be paid when selling or transferring a structured settlement. Surrender charges are imposed by the company that owns the structured payments as a way to recoup the money spent in creating the plan in the first place.
- Legal fees: Generally, since a structured settlement is a legally-binding agreement, you will need to appear in court in order to sell your payments to a company. Some companies pay the associated court fees, while others require you to pay any court costs or legal fees yourself.
- Broker fee: A company may charge a fee if it needs to hire a broker, or act as a brokerage itself, in order to secure the funds for the lump sum payment. Often, this fee is worked into the final payment amount.
- Other fees: There can be other fees associated with the sale of a structured settlement including recording, filing, administrative and miscellaneous fees. These fees are usually deducted from the payment amount and do not have to be paid upfront by the consumer.
What is the discount rate?
The discount rate offered for a lump sum payment on a structured settlement is similar to the interest rate that consumers pay on a standard consumer loan. The company buying the settlement wants to do so at a discount in order to turn a profit. For example, if you have a $100,000 structured settlement, a company may offer you a 20 percent discount rate, meaning you will receive 20 percent less than the value of your settlement, or $80,000. The lower the discount rate, the better it is for the consumer, because that means you will receive more money.
- Understand the rate: Consumers who aren't comfortable with financial formulas should consult a professional or friend who does. Quotes and the explanation for rates can be confusing and a good account executive at any company will take the time to help the consumer understand the full transaction. You also need to stay aware of the standard discount rate in your region at a given time, so you'll know if quotes are reasonable or if the company is taking advantage of you.
- Negotiate the rate: The quoted discount rate is not set in stone. When reviewing quotes, consumers should feel comfortable negotiating a better rate with each company. While there are standard rates at any given time, the purchaser will likely push to get the highest discount while you should strive for the lowest.
- Shop around: The discount rate is one of the features of a structured settlement purchase that will vary widely from company to company and state to state. Be sure to shop around for the lowest discount rate in order to keep as much of your money as possible.
Does the company have good customer service?
When considering a company to purchase future payments, you should be sure the company provides access to customer service. The process can be difficult for those with little financial, tax or legal knowledge, but access to customer service can help reduce fear and stress related to the transaction.
- Customer service hours: Keep in mind that customer service hours vary based on time zones. For example, if you live on the West Coast and the company buying the payments has East Coast hours, you may find yourself frustrated at 2:00 p.m. when you can't get ahold of anyone.
- Online chat: Being able to get help instantly without having to wait on hold can be an advantage as you try to understand and keep track of a transaction. Online chat gives consumers an opportunity to get answers immediately.
- Dedicated representative: Some companies provide a dedicated service professional for their clients for the duration of the transaction. This can help to avoid repeated explanations of the situation to multiple members of the staff and may reduce the stress of a complicated financial transaction.
What is the company's reputation?
In order to avoid scams, consumers should do their homework and research companies who offer to purchase structured settlement payments. Researching a company's reputation is not difficult and is an important step towards a successful transaction.
- Number of denials: A judge can deny the contract for the purchase of a structured settlement if they feel that the settlement is not in the best interest of the consumer, or if they feel that the purchasing company is trying to take advantage of the consumer. Companies who offer the most professional service should have a low denial rate.
- Dollars purchased: The amount of structured payments purchased by a company can be a good indicator of their health and stability. Generally, the higher the total dollars purchased by a given company, the longer they have been in business and the more transactions they have completed successfully.
- No history of bankruptcy: Avoid any structured settlement company with a history of declaring bankruptcy. These companies may not be financially sound and may put you at risk. You can find out about a company's legal history by requesting court documents in the state in which they are registered. Many states offer a free searchable index of court documents on the Internet.
- Customer reviews: Unbiased customer reviews can warn of potential problems. Reviews not located on the company's website are a good source.
What types of structured settlement companies are there?
A structured settlement broker, also known as an annuity broker, is a professional with specific training in structured payments. Brokers can aid in the whole process of obtaining an advance or full payout against the settlement.
Direct-funded companies have their own sources of capital and are therefore free to make decisions on the purchase of settlement payments. Other companies must use a third party to guarantee funding which can lead to delays.
Who uses a structured settlement company?
Consumers with structured settlements
Anyone can be awarded a structured settlement in a lawsuit, though the term most often refers to those who have been awarded a settlement after a personal injury legal case. They are often paid monthly or annually in installments.
Those who have annuities
An annuity generally refers to structured payments made for reasons besides a lawsuit, such as inheritances, survivor benefits and some retirement plans.
People with lottery or contest winnings
Jackpot winnings are often set up as structured payments for tax purposes. Sometimes winners can choose between a lump sum payment or a structured payment plan.
Peachtree is one of the largest companies in the structured settlement purchasing industry, located just outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They have built their award-winning reputation on customer service.
- Easy-to-use website: The Peachtree website is organized by consumer goals. Consumers can follow the standard process without having to first learn complicated financial terms.
- Online chat: Peachtree offers a chat feature on its website for instant answers to questions.
- Dedicated service representative: Peachtree offers consumers a single representative for the entire process of purchasing structured settlement payments. Consumers can save time and frustration by having one representative who is familiar with their application.
- National coverage: Peachtree has experience with purchasing structured settlement payments in all fifty states.
- Best for: consumers with structured settlements, annuities or lottery winnings.
Fairfield Funding is a company that purchases annuity payments and structured settlements. This enables Fairfield Funding's clients to access lump sums of cash instead of waiting for payments that are spread out over months or years. The company has several features that make it a good option for those who would prefer lump sums of money over regular payments.
- No hidden fees: Fairfield Funding provides upfront information about any fees that clients need to pay, so there aren't any unwanted surprises after reaching an agreement.
- Educational resources: The company's website has a Financial Resource Center that helps clients make informed choices about selling settlements for lump sums of money.
- Fast quotes: In most cases, Fairfield can review annuity documents to offer a quote within just a few minutes.
- Quick payments: Depending on the situation, many clients can receive their lump-sum payments within just 45 days of submitting the required paperwork.
- Customer services: The company's customer services include helping clients pay off liens, negotiating with credit card companies and writing letters on their behalf.
- Best for: consumers who want to sell their annuities or structured settlements for lump-sum payments.
J.G. Wentworth is a nationally recognized purchaser of future payments thanks to their popular television ad campaigns and slogan, "It's my money and I need it now!" Located in Radnor, Pennsylvania, J.G.Wentworth has been in business for over 25 years and has serviced tens of thousands of customers.
- Stable company: J.G. Wentworth is the largest purchaser of future payments in the nation, with experience in all 50 states. As a direct funder, the company does not need to acquire funds through a third party and can readily fund lump sum payments without extra fees.
- High-volume experience: J.G. Wentworth completes about 5,000 transactions per year and over 5.6 billion dollars in payment transfers.
- Online chat: Representatives are readily available via online chat on the company website to answer consumer questions.
- Free quotes: Free, no-obligation quotes are available via the phone and online.
- Resource center: The company website provides free educational resources for consumers, including information on state-specific statutes.
- Best for: consumers with structured settlements, annuities or lottery winnings.
Annuity Transfers is a structured settlement company, established in 2003 and headquartered in Plano, Texas. Annuity Transfers' employees have over 40 years of combined experience in the structured settlement industry. They promise to thoroughly discuss the pros and cons of a sale, including the laws that govern such sales in the customers' state, and avoid high-pressure sales tactics.
- Direct-funded: Annuity Transfers is a capitalized financial services company, which means they are direct-funded. They do not require the use of a broker and their money is available immediately to purchase structured payments.
- Good track record: Annuity prides itself on an extremely low denial rate for purchase of structured payments. While some denials are expected, a low denial rate can indicate a company that is professional and committed to sound financial transactions for consumers.
- No commission sales: Annuity does not have salespeople who work on straight commission. This can mean less pressure when shopping around.
- Free online quote: Annuity provides a quick and simple online request for a quote. Simply visit their website and click "Request a Quote," and they will contact you within four business days.
- Helpful FAQ: Annuity Transfers' website features a helpful frequently asked questions page, with information on how the present value and discount rate for your settlement is calculated and what types of payments they purchase.
- Best for: consumers with structured settlements, annuities or lottery or contest winnings.
Located in Bethesda, Maryland, SenecaOne has been in business for over 20 years. SenecaOne promises not only to guide consumers through the settlement sales process, but also to provide financial counseling to help customers reach long-term financial goals.
Founded in 1993, Woodbridge was one of the earliest companies in the structured payments purchasing market. Woodbridge, which is headquartered in California, pioneered the concept of purchasing future payments in return for a lump sum. An industry has now grown up around this initial concept and Woodbridge continues to be a stable player.
Located in Bethesda, Maryland, Stone Street Capital has been in the structured settlement business for over 25 years. It is one of the early players in the structured settlement purchasing market and one of the most experienced firms in the industry, with over $2.5 billion in purchases.
Headquartered in Illinois, Oasis Financial is a national structured settlement company that has been in business since 2002. Oasis has been recognized by top legal publications and has received numerous awards for its legal funding business.
Annuity.org is a Florida-based company that buys annuities and structured settlements from people who would rather receive lump sums of cash instead of monthly payments spread out over several years. The company provides a simple process that helps potential clients determine whether they want to sell their payments. It also provides services to expedite the selling process.
- Cash advances: Annuity.org provides up to $1,000 in cash advances to qualified clients who are selling their annuity or structured settlement payments.
- Free quote: Annuity.org provides free, no-obligation quotes to help potential clients decide whether they want to sell their annuities and structured settlements.
- Court booking: Since most states require consumers to obtain a judge's approval before selling structured settlements and annuities, Annuity.org will schedule a court date to help clients get their payments as quickly as possible.
- Legal assistance: Annuity.org has helped people sell structured settlements and annuities in all 50 states, so its representatives understand how each state's laws will influence the process.
- Financial advice: Annuity.org provides financial advice to help clients determine how they can pay off debts, purchase property or invest the money that they get from selling their annuities and structured settlements.
- Best for: people who want to sell annuities or structured settlements, who prefer lump sums over monthly payments and who want to eliminate 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.