Beware Debt Cancel Rotating Header Image

Avoid Bankruptcy with Credit Card Debt Settlement

Debt settlement is just one of numerous ways to climb out of debt. Debt consolidation and credit counseling are both preferable to debt settlement, but debt settlement may help you avoid bankruptcy or foreclosure if your situation is very serious.

Unfortunately, sometimes it’s not possible to repay your debts in full. If you’ve suffered an extended job loss, an expensive medical emergency or illness, or a death in the family, you may not be able to recover from the debt created by the situation. Rather than file for bankruptcy, which will ruin your credit for 7 to 10 years, you could try debt settlement first.

You have the option of settling your debt yourself, but you’re more likely to be successful if you hire a professional debt settlement service to handle your paperwork and negotiations. A debt settlement company will review your debts and determine which are most likely to be settled. Credit card debt settlement is the most common form. Medical debts are often negotiable. Student loans are not negotiable and mortgages are almost never negotiable.

When you apply for debt settlement, the service will review your accounts and then contact your creditors to negotiate a settlement. Settlements are typically for 30-50% of the balance, but can be as high as 75-80%. In rare cases, your settlement can be as low as 20%. A reputable debt settlement service won’t guarantee a specific rate and won’t offer “credit repair” services in addition to the settlement.

The settlement process can take anywhere from a few months to a few years, depending on the level of your debt. Some services ask you to make debt payments to their escrow service or ask you to set aside the money yourself. Some services require lump sums to pay off negotiated debts while others let you pay over time.

Debt settlement will affect your credit rating. Your creditors will report your accounts as “account settled” or “account settled for less than the full balance.” Although these statements aren’t positive, they’re better than a bankruptcy or multiple current delinquencies. If you’re considering credit card debt settlement, it’s likely that you’re already behind on payments, facing collection, or considering bankruptcy, so debt settlement may actually help you start to restore your credit.

Like debt management plans, debt settlement can also help you learn to change your spending habits and approach to credit card debt. Most settlement services require that you stop using credit cards or taking out loans while you’re in the program. Once you learn to stop relying on credit, you’ll be less likely to fall into debt again.

In addition to the ding on your credit rating, debt settlement has another negative side effect: higher taxes. The IRS requires that all settlements over $600 be reported as income, which means you could be taxed on the amount of the debt you didn’t pay. When combined with settlement fees, you may find that the settlement won’t save you much money over paying the debt in full.

You should also know that creditors are not required to settle your debts. You may have to pay some or all of your debts in full if the settlement service isn’t able to negotiate with your creditors. Creditors will generally make their decision based on your income, payment history, financial situation, and the number and amount of the debts being settled. They’re unlikely to negotiate a greatly reduced settlement if  you’re able to pay most of your other debts or own a home with equity. They’re more likely to negotiate if you’re in collection, about to file for bankruptcy, or have several debts in delinquency because they’d rather receive something than face debt cancellation in bankruptcy court.

Credit card debt settlement should be reserved for dire situations. If you’re on the verge of bankruptcy, then debt settlement is appropriate for you. If you have the means to repay your debts, seek debt consolidation or credit counseling instead.

For more articles on Credit Card Debt Settlement, visit:

Justin has 5 years of experience as financial adviser; his key areas are consolidation, insurance, debt relief, mortgages etc. For more free articles and advice visit
Logo Design

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Powered by Yahoo! Answers