Debt settlement is the option of seeking to reduce debt, by allowing a debt settlement firm to negotiate a reduction in your debt. It can be an attractive option for those with a huge debt problem. Debt settlement is primarily aimed for those with over £15,000 – £20,000 debt. It cannot be used for negotiating secured loans like mortgages. Some evidence of financial hardship is required.
Problems of Debt Settlement
- Damage to Credit Rating
Your debt settlement will involve a deal, where your creditor agrees to accept a small % of the loan. The creditor will then say that the loan is settled in full, rather than paid in full.
However, settled in full, is not the most damaging effect on your credit rating. It is better than missing credit card payments or being unable to pay off your debts. Also, if you do pay off your debts, in the long term your credit rating will improve. 35% of credit rating depends on how much you owe.
2. Debt Tactics
To get a better settlement, some debt settlement companies may encourage you to stop making payments to credit card companies. When payment is withheld it makes it easier to gain a bigger reduction in debt. However, this is a high risk strategy, if you do withhold payments to credit card companies it will severely damage your credit rating. This type of action is really only advisable for people close to bankruptcy and are not concerned about credit rating (Perhaps it is too bad anyway)
3. Interest Charged by Debt Settlement
Interest charged by debt settlement companies can be higher than credit card companies. However, the monthly debt payment will be less because they reduce the total debt paid.
4. Can you afford the Debt Settlement repayments?
Debt settlements do not mean your problems are solved. Unless you tackle the underlying causes of debt, you may struggle to meet the debt repayment to the debt company. Make sure you take out a policy that you can afford.
5. Possibility of Law Suits.
This is only a possibility if you stop making payments before the debt settlement has been arranged.
6. Disreputable Company’s
In the 1980s and 1990s financial deregulation led to a huge explosion in the number of debt settlement companies, some of these companies had dubious track records. However, debt settlement agencies are now regulated by the FSA. Check out the company you choose carefully; look to see whether it has had a lot of complaints