I have saved some extra money and would like to pay off some outstanding debt. How do I find out who I owe and how much. Also, is there a way where I can pay less than owed and still clear the debt off my record? Thanks
The easiest way to determine what outstanding debts you owe is to obtain a copy of your credit report from each of the three major consumer credit reporting agenciesÂ—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Your credit report should list the amount currently owed on each debt and the name and address of the creditor who now owns each account, which is important as delinquent debts are frequently sold to third party debt collectors. You can obtain a free copy of your credit profile from each of the three credit bureaus by visiting www.AnnualCreditReport.com. You should carefully review your credit reports to make sure that none of the accounts you are planning to repay are actually duplicate accounts or debts that you have already resolved. Credit reports are notoriously inaccurate, with consumers frequently finding listings of derogatory accounts that never belonged to them or that were paid off years ago. If you find any inaccurate listings, you should dispute them with the appropriate credit bureau. The Federal Trade Commission provides a comprehensive guide to disputing items on your credit report, available at www.ftc.gov.
Once you have determined how much you owe to each creditor, you can further consider the options available to help you resolve these obligations. Given your desire to negotiate settlements with your creditors, I would encourage you to contact a debt negotiation firm to assist you in reaching favorable settlements on your debts. Debt settlement programs generally work with your creditors to negotiate reductions of as much as 50% to 60% or more of the balance you owe. In most cases, debt settlement clients save up money for lump-sum settlements over the course of two or more years; however, since you have saved up some money to put toward the settlement of your accounts, a good settlement firm may be able to resolve all of your debts in a matter of months rather than years. If you would like to read more about debt settlement programs, I encourage you to visit the Bills.com debt negotiation page. In addition, if you enter your contact information at the Bills.com debt help savings center, we can have one of Bills.comÂ’s preferred debt negotiation providers contact you to further discuss the debt relief options available to you.
While you may be able to negotiate with your creditors yourself without professional assistance, I think that you would be wise to consult with a professional to discuss the costs and benefits of hiring a company to assist you with negotiating your debts. For example, a professional debt settlement agency should be able to tell you which of your creditors are more difficult than the others, and therefore which accounts should be settled first. In addition, professional debt negotiators have had time to build important relationships and establish contacts with many creditors, something that the average consumer does not have. Finally, I have found that, in many cases, consumers find it very difficult to negotiate with their own creditors due to the emotional investment they have in the situation; they allow threats made by their creditors to intimidate them into less favorable repayment terms than may have been negotiated by a third party advocate with no personal involvement in the debt. On the other hand, a debt negotiation firm will charge you a fee for its services, so you must consider the benefits versus the costs to determine if hiring a debt negotiation firm to represent you is the right choice for your situation.
Additional information regarding debt negotiation and other options available to assist consumers in resolving their debts, such a credit counseling and debt consolidation, is available at Bills.com.
I wish you the best of luck in resolving these debts, and hope that the information I have provided helps you Find. Learn. Save.