Structured settlement payments result from lawsuits in which the plaintiff receives periodic payments and ongoing income or through another annuity of some sort. However, many people do not find a long-term stream of payments as beneficial as one lump sum.
A secondary market has evolved around structured settlements that allows consumers to sell all or a portion of their payments to a structured payment buyer. These buyers, or factoring companies, then pay the consumer a lump sum in return.
Top 10 Best Rated Structured Settlement
Fairfield Funding purchases structured settlements and annuities. Backed by a 100% guarantee, Fairfield works to get you the best price, needed cash in as few as five days, no interest advances, and fast closings.
|Read 16 Reviews|
Peachtree Financial Solutions has helped tens of thousands of people reach their goals. As a leading purchaser of structured settlement payments, we can buy all or some of your future payments, so you can take the next big step.
|Read 8 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.
|Read 17 Reviews|
Olive Branch Funding is a purchaser of structured settlement payments. Our experience in this field allows us to provide money upfront in exchange for future structured settlement payments FAST.
Annuity Transfers puts its customers first, approaching every settlement sale with their interests in mind. The company offers personalized service that walks the customers through the process and the financial implications.
Seneca One offers a 5K Right Away program that gives owners of a structured settlement access to $5,000 in 24 hours. Each payment plan is customized for the recipients, giving them control of how much or how little they sell.
Woodbridge Structured Funding goes beyond the basics with its guaranteed highest price on a buyout. If the company does not offer the highest value on a settlement, it pays you $500 when you get funded from the competition.
Stone Street Capital offers quotes via the phone in minutes, making the process of getting cash a quick and painless process. The company personalizes every quote to meet specific needs.
Oasis Legal Funding is a structured settlement providers that offers pre-settlement funding. This let customers negotiate while waiting for their personal injury or accident claims.
Annuity.org is a website designed to help people understand annuities and structured settlements. The company is a partner of Pennsylvania-based CBC Settlement Funding.
|Read Expert Review|
What features matter most?
When considering quotes for structured settlement purchase from factoring companies, the purchase price or lump sum received can vary considerably due to the time-value of money. Companies will consider these factors when determining the purchase price of your settlement.
- Duration of the settlement: A dollar now is worth more than a dollar in the future. When obtaining quotes for selling a structured settlement, how soon the total settlement will be paid out to the consumer makes a difference in the purchase price. Buyers mostly prefer payments that will be made sooner to lessen their risk.
- Timing of the payments: The sooner the payments being sold will be received, the higher the purchase price will be. This can play a role in determining whether to sell all or some of the structured payment.
- Total amount of the settlement: Obviously, the total value of the settlement affects the purchase price today. However, structured settlements of lower value may not be as easy to sell for a lump sum.
Surrender charges & fees
Depending on the initial plan setup, surrender charges and fees must sometimes be paid when selling a structured settlement. Surrender charges are imposed by the company that owns the structured payments and is a way to recoup the money spent in creating the plan in the first place.
- Legal fees: Some companies charge a legal fee for surrendering your scheduled payments.
- Broker fee: If the factoring company is, or makes use of, a broker to secure the funds for the lump sum payment, there may be an associated fee. 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.
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 payments wants to do so at a discount because they are taking the risk of possibly never receiving the payments. The lower the discount rate, the better it is for the consumer. There are some important considerations for consumers when analyzing discount rates for the purchase of their structured settlement payments.
- Negotiate the rate: The interest rate quoted 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 is trying to get the highest discount and consumers 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 and have knowledge of the current going rate.
- Understand the rate: Consumers who do not have a good comfort level with financial formulas should consult a professional or acquaintance that 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.
Customer service options
When searching for a company to purchase future payments, access to customer service is extremely important. The process can be difficult for those with little financial, tax and legal knowledge and access to customer service can help to reduce fear and stress around the transaction.
- Customer service hours: Keep in mind that Customer Service hours vary based on time zones. For example, if a customer lives on the West Coast and the company buying the payments has East Coast hours, they may find themselves frustrated at 2:00 pm when they can't get a hold of anyone.
- Online chat: Being able to get help instantly, and not having to wait on hold, can be an advantage when trying 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 and reduce the stress of understanding a complicated financial transaction.
In order to avoid scams, consumers should do their homework and research companies who offer to purchase structured settlement payments. While some very reputable companies run late-night television ads, others who are not as reputable do as well. Researching a company's reputation is not difficult and it's an important step towards a successful transaction.
- Number of denials: A judge can deny the contract for the purchase of a structured settlement. Companies who offer the most professional service should have a low denial rate.
- Customer reviews: Finding unbiased customer reviews can warn of potential problems. Reviews not located on the company's website are a good source.
- Dollars purchased: The amount of structured payments purchased by a company can be a good indicator of their health and stability.
What are different types of structured settlement companies?
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.
Directly 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's it for?
Consumers with structured settlements
The term structured settlement generally refers to those who have been awarded a personal injury amount in a legal case. They are often paid monthly via a structured settlement.
Consumers with annuities
An annuity generally refers to structured payments made for other reasons including inheritances, survivor benefits, and some retirement plans.
Consumers with lottery or contest winnings
Jackpot winnings are often set up as structured payments for tax purposes.
Peachtree is the second largest company in the structured settlement purchasing industry, located in Boynton Beach, FL. They have built their award-winning reputation on customer service.
- Best for Consumers with structured settlements, consumers with annuities and consumers with lottery, or contest 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.
- 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, PA, J.G.Wentworth has been in business for twenty years and has serviced tens of thousands of customers.
- Best for Consumers with structured settlements, consumers with annuities and consumers with lottery or contest winnings.
Olive Branch Funding provides money to individuals who are expecting structured payments. The service provides consumers with the one-time, lump-sum payments they need now in exchange for ownership of their future structured payments. Referred to as future payment purchasing, Olive Brand Funding's service allows users to receive fast payment on everything from lawsuit settlements and annuities to lottery winnings.
- Best for Individuals who need access to their funds fast, consumers with annuities and those with lottery or contest winnings.
Annuity Transfers, located in Richardson, Texas, has been in business for over ten years. Annuity is a newer company in the market.
- Best for Consumers with structured settlements, consumers with annuities and consumers with lottery, or contest winnings.
Located in Bethesda, MD, SenecaOne has been in business for over twenty years. SenecaOne provides videos of their account executives on the company website so that consumers can feel more comfortable, knowing that service is personalized.
- Best for Consumers with structured settlements and consumers with lottery or contest winnings.
Located in Sherman Oaks, CA, Woodbridge was one of the earliest companies in the structured payments purchasing market, started in 1993. Industry leader: Woodbridge 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, MD, Stone Street is another one of the early players in the structured settlement purchasing market. Stone Street is one of the most experienced firms in the industry.
The company has been recognized by top legal publications and has received numerous awards for its legal funding business.
- Best for Consumers with structured settlements.
Annuity.org is a 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 on the secondary market. 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 people must get a judge's approval before selling structured settlements and annuities, Annuity.org will schedule a court date that helps 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 their annuities or structured settlements, people who prefer lump sums over monthly payments and households that want to eliminate their debts.
How buyouts work
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.