- 3 min read
- Online debt consolidation services offer convenience.
- Six warning signs you may be dealing with a scammer.
The Advantages of an Online Debt Consolidation Service
An online debt consolidation service has several advantages over a traditional service, especially speed and convenience. On the other hand, it's easier to get scammed online, so be careful when reviewing online debt consolidation services. Once you know the warning signs, you can find a reliable service that can get you on the road to being debt-free today.
The Convenience of an Online Debt Consolidation Service
Most debt consolidation services operate during business hours. If you work during business hours, then you'll have to take sick time, vacation time, or lose a day's pay in order to meet with a credit counselor. When you opt for an online service, you can complete the forms on your own time and have a response when you get home from work.
Using an online service also makes it easier to research various services to compare their reputations and recommendations. Use other online resources like the Better Business Bureau to find out if the service is reliable and trustworthy.
When you opt for an online debt consolidation service, you may also find that you get faster service. You won't need to wait for an appointment and return for follow-up appointments. You can complete all the paperwork online as soon as you receive it so your counselor can act on it immediately.
Online Debt Consolidation Scams: Warning Signs
Unfortunately, when you search online for a debt consolidation service, you're also more likely to find one that isn't trustworthy. That's why it's important to carefully investigate service before revealing your personal information and account numbers. You may be dealing with online debt consolidation scammers if they:
- Request your social security number and account numbers before you've agreed to the service
- Require a large up-front fee
- Charge a high monthly fee
- Recommend a solution before reviewing your accounts
- Push you to sign up now, without time to think
- Claim that the offer is only good today
Although a credit counselor won't be able to accurately assess your situation without knowing some of your financial information, they don't need sensitive information right away. In order to advise you, they'll need to know your account balances, interest rates, and types of debt. For example, $3000 at 18% on one credit card, $2,000 at 16% on another, and a $4000 auto loan at 8%. Once you've agreed to service and signed the contract, you'll need to provide your personal information so they can contact your creditors.
Some services charge a small up-front fee and a monthly fee, or just a monthly maintenance fee. If you find a service that quotes a rate much higher than you've found with other services, they're probably not reputable. You may find that they cash the check for your large fee, but then don't do anything with your debt.
Take your time to carefully review the recommendations and terms before agreeing to any offer for online debt consolidation. A good offer today will still be available tomorrow. Anyone who says otherwise doesn't have your best interest in mind.
An online debt consolidation service can help you get out of debt, just shop carefully to ensure that you find one that is qualified.
Dealing with debt
If you are struggling with debt, you are not alone. According to the NY Federal Reserve total household debt as of Quarter Q4 2022 was $16.91 trillion. Student loan debt was $1.60 trillion and credit card debt was $0.99 trillion.
According to data gathered by Urban.org from a sample of credit reports, about 26% of people in the US have some kind of debt in collections. The median debt in collections is $1,739. Student loans and auto loans are common types of debt. Of people holding student debt, approximately 10% had student loans in collections. The national Auto/Retail debt delinquency rate was 4%.
Each state has its rate of delinquency and share of debts in collections. For example, in Utah credit card delinquency rate was 2%, and the median credit card debt was $454.
To maintain an excellent credit score it is vital to make timely payments. However, there are many circumstances that lead to late payments or debt in collections. The good news is that there are a lot of ways to deal with debt including debt consolidation and debt relief solutions.