Q: How will this affect my credit?
A: If you have poor credit when joining a debt management program your credit rating will actually improve after the first year of consistent payments. When you become active on any debt management plan, creditors may place a “CC” on your credit report signifying “slow pay.” Initially, this rating could present a derogatory impact should you need to acquire a loan. However, most creditors appreciate the fact that you have the integrity and discipline to establish a payment plan.
Also, with a high debt-to-income ratio you would not likely qualify for loan approval until your balances are paid down. Ultimately, the debt management plan offers lower finance charges to achieve debt reduction more rapidly, thereby improving your primary credit score factor.
Q: Which debts work the best on the plan?
A: The creditors with the greatest special terms for you are the “unsecured” creditors. This would be any credit cards, department store cards, gasoline cards, and specialty store accounts. We cannot work with home mortgages or automobile loans since the creditor can take possession if you fail to pay.
Q: Who Pays For This Service?
A: Several creditors contribute funds to help support our operations because they recognize the benefit of regular and stable electronic payments from the agency.
Q: How Do I Track My Progress?
A: Once you begin sending payments through the agency, you must only send payments through that agency. This will establish a consistent payment history. Once we disburse your funds to the creditors, you will receive a monthly statement indicating accounts paid, the date, and amount paid to each. You will also be introduced to your personal Account Advisor, a trained creditor expert, who will supervise your accounts and alert you of any changes in creditor policies. Please realize, until creditors acknowledge your proposal you may still accrue fees for late or insufficient payments; just another reason to quickly submit your completed packet and payment. In addition, you should continue to receive monthly statements from your creditors. It is your responsibility to monitor these statements closely and immediately report any discrepancies to your Account Advisor.
Q: Do The Collections Calls and Letters Stop?
A: YES, generally the collections activities stop after one or two current payments from the agency. However, each creditor has their own policies.
Q: Why Shouldn’t I Just Stop Trying and Declare Bankruptcy?
A: Once in a great while, bankruptcy is the ONLY option. But if you have a source of income, debt management is an effective alternative. Even in a bankruptcy you will have to make payments in most cases. There are many unfavorable consequences surrounding a bankruptcy. With the licensed, non-profit agency we work with, you are debt free in 3 to 5 years and will have achieved financial freedom. The agency does not provide legal advice. For specific bankruptcy information please contact an attorney practicing bankruptcy law.
Q: What if I am behind on my mortgage?
A: DebtFreeAmerica.com does not work with secured loans or mortgages. Your best solution is to contact the lender directly.
Q: Can I Purchase A Home Or Refinance My Mortgage While On The Plan?
A: Most creditors prefer that you do not refinance or obtain a mortgage while on a debt management program. This is because of the increased risk of overextending your ability to complete the program successfully. Each situation must be evaluated individually.
Q: Can I obtain new credit while I am on the program?
A: While on the debt management plan, you must not attempt to obtain any new credit. Many creditors will remove your account from a debt management program if any new credit is established. Once a creditor drops your account from a debt management program, your fees and interest will resume at maximum rates.