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October 16th, 2009:

Understanding Debt Management Services

When some people become overwhelmed with debt and find it hard to pay their bills, they often turn to a debt management service. These services can often be found through credit counselors, and you should only use a service that you’re comfortable with. This service should be more concerned with helping you than with making a profit.

What Do Debt Management Services Do?

The debt management service transfers payments from their clients to the creditors. In return, they may take out a commission from the transfer or will receive fees from the lenders. While debt management services may work with a wide variety of different loans, they usually focus on debt that is unsecured. They are different from credit counseling services. Those with auto loans or mortgages are usually not referred to debt management companies.

Consolidation of Your Debts

Many debt management services offer debt consolidation loans. All of your bills and outstanding debts are combined into one bill. Once this has been done, it is up to the debtor to make the monthly payments on the loan. If the debt management service reduces the interest or balances on your loans, this can effect your credit. Many lenders will view you as being a high risk client when looking at extending future credit. Despite this, the effect on your credit is less than things such as continuous late payments. A debt management service is also an excellent alternative to filing for bankruptcy.

What’s In It For Them?

It is common for debt management companies to earn up to 10% of the money transferred from their clients to the creditors. This along with the fees paid to the debt management companies from the creditor can lead to very large profits. As can be expected, some companies will try to abuse their power by persuading clients to sign up for a service which is driven by profits instead of helping them manage their debts.

Save Some Pennies For Those Rainy Days

Because many people find it hard to adapt to a debt management service, emergencies may come up where money is needed. It is important to find out what will happen if you miss payments before you commit to using the service. Each company is different, and some companies may have large penalty fees for customers who don’t make their payments on time. With the rise of debt management services, people have often been advised to look for institutions that are non-profit. The idea was that organizations for profit would focus more on profits than with helping clients manage their debts.

Profit or Non Profit?

Despite this, many debt management services that are for profit will advertise themselves as being non-profit. Using a non-profit organization doesn’t guarantee you will get better service than you would from a for profit organization. It is best to use services that are accredited with the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. Accredited services are not likely to charge outrageous fees or attempt to take advantage of their clients. Before you look at a debt management service, you should call your creditors to see if they can lower your interest rate.

Getting a Cheaper Rate

Many credit card companies will lower your interest if you call them and inquire about it. It may also be possible to use a standard lender as opposed to a debt management service. Under some circumstances it may be necessary to file for bankruptcy. You could also get an unsecured loan to pay off all your debts if your credit is good.

You should also be wary of debt management services which are late making your payments. If this occurs you should immediately call them and get an explanation. Your credit can be damaged if they make your payments late, and if they are charging you high fees you should cancel their service and look at other options.

Joseph Kenny writes for the Personal Loans Store and offer more information on debt consolidation loans and other loan topics available on site.
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Debt Management Tips To Help You Get Out Of Debt

When you’re paying back debts, a little strategy can make a difference of hundreds or even thousands of dollars. The best strategy is simple, but effective.

List Your Debts.

Write down a list of every debt you have, how much it is, and what the interest rate is. You might have trouble finding this information, but it’s worth getting it all together in one place and writing it down. You can’t manage your situation strategically if you don’t even know it, can you?

Remember to include your credit cards (with the different rates and balances for purchases and cash advances), other cards, loans, mortgages, and even money you’ve borrowed from friends and family. Every bit of debt counts and you’re trying to get it down to absolute zero.

Bad Debts and Good Debts.

Go through your debts and mark them ‘good’ or ‘bad’. You might think this is odd, but some kinds of debt are nowhere near as bad as others. A mortgage, for example, is an investment in a house, paid over a fixed term – there’s no real risk of paying a ridiculous amount of interest or never getting it paid off, like you could with a credit card.

Good debts: mortgages, student loans, car loans.
Bad debts: credit cards, store cards.

As a rule, good debts are for a fixed amount of time and allow you to buy something valuable that you cannot afford, while bad debts are ‘revolving’ and are just used instead of cash.

Time to Prioritize.

Cross your good debts off your list, for now – you shouldn’t think about paying them off more quickly until you’ve got all your bad debts out of the way.

Now, arrange your debts in order of interest rate, with the highest interest rate at the top. The chances are that the debt at the top will be a store card or credit card, which could have a really huge interest rate. Try to transfer as much money as you can from the high-interest cards down the list to the lower-interest ones.

Once you’ve done that, focus all your energy on repaying the new top debt. Pay the minimum on everything else, and throw as much money as you can find at the problem. If you have any non-essential monthly commitments, consider cancelling them for a while, and putting that money towards your payments. Stop saving, just for a while and try keeping track of where your money goes, just for a month – you might find that you’re spending loads on something you don’t even want or need.

Do your best to give up any expensive habits you might have. You’ll be shocked how fast your debts can go down if you put the money you’d usually spent on smoking, drinking or gambling towards them! I’m not trying to spoil your fun here. You’re just making some small sacrifices for a while, and your life will be so much better for it in the long run.

You have to be aggressive against that top debt, and determined to defeat it. This is a war, you’re on the attack, and you want to win against your debt. Don’t you?

Eliminate Credit Card Debt – 3 Easy Steps To Becoming Debt Free

There is no way to miraculously becoming debt free. Excessive debts incur over time. Hence, patience and effort is needed in order to reduce, and ultimately eliminate credit card debts. The average household has a credit card debt around $8,000. Unfortunately, there are individuals carrying much higher balances. Due to high finance fees, credit card companies make it impossible to payoff the debt. However, alleviating debt is doable. Here are a few tips to help you become debt free sooner.
Use Cash for All Purchases
Several people will make claims of wanting to become debt free. However, these same individuals continue to use their credit cards for frivolous purchases. Today, we have our wants and needs confused. In order to fulfill a want, people regularly go on shopping sprees, vacations, and eat out using their credit cards.
The first step to eliminating credit card debt is to stop using the cards. Do not cancel credit accounts. Instead, cut the cards in half or store them in a place where they are not easily accessible. Breaking the habit of regularly using a credit card is difficult. However, once cash is being used for all purchases, you will notice a balance reduction.
Get a Personal Debt Consolidation Loan
Debt consolidation loans have their pros and cons. For starters, these loans are great because they allow debt consolidation at a low interest rate with fixed terms. Instead of paying a credit card with an interest rate of 20 percent, you can obtain a personal loan with a rate of 8 or 9 percent. This option affords the opportunity to become debt free in five years, as opposed to twenty or thirty years.
Unfortunately, there is a downside to debt consolidation loans. Some people with terrible spending habits may accumulate more debts once their credit cards are paid off. The purpose of debt consolidation loans is not to create space for new debts. When this occurs, many people become financially strapped because they have doubled their debts.
Transfer Balance to a Zero Percent Credit Card
One method for quickly paying off credit card debt involves transferring the balance from a high interest credit card to a zero percent interest card. With a high interest rate card, the minimum payments barely cover the finance charges. Thus, the balance never decreases. Zero percent interest cards offer an interest-free period. Therefore, all payments will to toward reducing the principle balance.

Poor Credit Debt Consolidation

Too much debt is a common problem that affects millions of consumers across the country. Eliminating debt is not an easy task. Yet, there are many strategies in place to help consumers reduce unnecessary debts and save money. If you have good credit or own a home, there are practical means of reducing debt. Unfortunately, those with lower scores have fewer options.
Easy Way to Reduce and Eliminate Debt
If you do not qualify for a personal debt consolidation loan, and a home equity loan is not feasible, consider using a debt management service to assist with your outstanding debt.
In the past five years, debt management and consolidation companies have become widespread. These agencies advertise their services on commercials and online. There main objective is to help people manage their debt, and outline a realistic solution for eliminating debt.
Types of Debt Management Services
There are two main types of debt management services. Before choosing an agency, it helps to research both alternatives and select the one that’s best for you.
If you have acquired too much debt, a debt consolidation service may be the solution. The primary reason why many consumers are unable to reduce their debts is because of high finance fees and late charges. Debt consolidation agencies recognize the problem, and will work with your creditors to have rates and fees reduced or waived.
Once the creditors and agency reach an agreement, the agency will combine or consolidate all debt into one payment. Payments are made directly to the consolidation service. Because the interest rate is lower, monthly payments are reduced up to 50%.
Debt settlement agencies are different from consolidation services. If consolidating debts, consumers are responsible for repaying the full debt amount. On the other hand, a settlement will cancel out a portion of the outstanding debt. For example, if a person has acquired $60,000 in credit card debt, a debt settlement may reduce the balance owed to $30,000.
Debt settlements are not intended to be an easy fix for extreme credit problems. In fact, the effects of a settlement are damaging. This maneuver will likely result in a lower credit score, and future lenders may be unwilling to extend a line of credit.

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