|Unfortunately, not all debt consolidation companies are
legitimate. To avoid the shady companies, educate yourself on
the debt consolidation process and watch out for these warning
Quote Unusually Low Monthly Payments
A debt consolidation company works with creditors to lower your
interest rates. Creditors have predetermined rates that they
will lower to, so every debt consolidation program will get you
the same rates. But since 2004, creditors no longer accept
reduced minimum monthly payments.
Companies who quote unusually low monthly payments are probably
giving you a low figure, which they will raise once you are in
the program. Instead of comparing monthly payments, request
information on their fees.
Demand All Debts Be Included
Companies who demand that all your debts be included in the debt
consolidation don't have your best interests in mind. Some
loans, such as credit union loans, are ineligible for lower
interest rates. And other types of credit, like student loans,
may already have a low interest rate.
However, by including all your bills in the monthly payment, the
company can charge you a higher fee for handling more accounts.
Before you enter a program, decide which accounts you want to
consolidate for lower rates.
Charge High Upfront Fees
The most common scam is to charge high upfront fees, up to
thousands of dollars, for services. Sometimes companies will
promise to refund fees on completion of the program, but few
clients actually complete the program.
Legitimate non-profit companies charge a flat monthly fee for
each account handled. They are usually subsidized by financing
companies. For profit companies will charge a competitive fee
along with a flat monthly charge.
Offer Debt Settlement And Other Services
Be suspicious of those offering other services besides debt
consolidation. Debt settlement, credit repair, and other
programs are often just scams to take your money.
If you do need to make a debt settlement, you can save yourself
money by doing this yourself. You may also find that declaring
bankruptcy would be a better financial choice.
Request Account Numbers First
Be highly suspicious of any company that requests your account
numbers, social security number, or other personal information
before providing a quote. By providing this information, you
open yourself up to identify theft.
To receive an accurate quote, simply provide creditors' names,
balances, and interest rates.
About the author:
See my recommended Debt
Consolidation Companies online. Carrie Reeder is the owner
of ABC Loan
Guide, an informational website about various types of
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