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5 best debt relief companies

If you’re one of the Americans carrying a portion of the $1.08 trillion in U.S. credit card balances, or the 8% who are delinquent, a way out could mean the difference between a lifetime of financial struggle and a fresh start. 

That’s where debt relief companies come in. They negotiate your debt with creditors on your behalf, working to reduce the total amount you owe and create a plan for repayment, allowing you a chance to regain control over your finances and rebuild your life.

Reputable debt relief companies have fair pricing, a solid track record, satisfied customers, and agents who hold certifications from reputable organizations like International Association of Professional Debt Arbitrators (IAPDA, formerly known as the American Fair Credit Council), American Association for Debt Resolution (AADR), or Financial Counseling Association of America (FCAA). We’ve done the work for you to find the best debt relief companies that meet this criteria.

The 8 best debt relief companies of March 2024

Debt Relief Companies Best for Learn more
Money Management International Best overall Learn more
National Debt Relief Best for private student loans Learn more
Accredited Debt Relief Best for customized options Learn more
Americor Debt Relief Best for all unsecured debt types Learn more
Pacific Debt Relief Best for customer support Learn more
Century Support Services Best in availability Learn more
New Era Debt Solutions Best in customer satisfaction Learn more
Freedom Debt Relief Best for interactive engagement Learn more
Money Management International Learn more
Best overall
National Debt Relief Learn more
Best for private student loans
Accredited Debt Relief Learn more
Best for customized options
Americor Debt Relief Learn more
Best for all unsecured debt types
Pacific Debt Relief Learn more
Best for customer support
Century Support Services Learn more
Best in availability
New Era Debt Solutions Learn more
Best in customer satisfaction
Freedom Debt Relief Learn more
Best for interactive engagement

Best overall: Money Management International

Money Management International

Cost On average, $33 set-up fee and a $25 monthly fee
Avg. time to settle debt 12-60 months
Accreditations FCAA, NFCC

Our verdict

MMI’s track record of success, glowing consumer reviews, and longstanding reputation combine to make it our top choice for debt relief companies. There’s a lot to consider with debt solutions, especially how it will negatively impact your credit score. MMI is a full-service organization that also supports credit repair solutions, as well, making it more appealing for those thinking about the complete cycle needed to achieve financial flexibility. 

Best for private student loans: National Debt Relief

National Debt Relief

Cost 15-25% of enrolled debt based on debt amount and state of registration
Avg. time to settle debt 24-48 months
Accreditations AADR

Our verdict 

Good for those seeking private student loan debt relief, National Debt Relief’s enormous amount of debts resolved and clients served makes them an attractive option. Its availability during late and weekend hours is beneficial for onboarding new clients, although these extended hours are not offered to existing clients. Like the rest of the options on our list, it charges no fees up front, and its performance-based pricing model ensures your financial wellbeing is priority.

Best for customized options: Accredited Debt Relief

Accredited Debt Relief

Cost 25% of enrolled debt
Avg. time to settle debt 24-48 months
Accreditations AFCC, CDRI

Our verdict

Accredited Debt Relief is one of our top debt relief picks because of its almost-perfect TrustPilot score and great scores across BBB and Google. The company says its clients typically become debt free between two and four years. Aside from negotiating with your creditors, Accredited Debt Relief also supports loan consolidation offered by their affiliates as another debt solution option. 

Best for all unsecured debt types: Americor Debt Relief

Americor Debt Relief

Cost Percentage of the total debt enrolled varies by state
Avg. time to settle debt 24-48 months
Accreditations AADR

Headquartered Irvine, California, Americor Debt Relief has been serving clients in need of debt solutions since 2008. The company states it has negotiated thousands of settlements on behalf of over 200,000 clients, and helped them clear $2 billion in debt. On average, Americor reduces their clients’ total debt by 37%,

Like many of the debt relief companies, the process starts with free consultation, and per Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulations, they do not take any upfront fees. Clients will pay a percentage of the total debt enrolled, though it varies by state.

  • BBB Customer Reviews – 4.66 out of 5
  • TrustPilot ratings – 4.9 out of 5
  • Google ratings – 4.8 out of 5

Our verdict

Americor Debt Relief is one of our top picks for debt relief because of its success rate with relieving over $2 billion in debt for its clients. It also has a glowing TrustPilot rating, and more importantly, supports debt relief for a number of debt types including credit card debt, payday loans, medical debt, private student loans, personal loans and personal business debts. Additionally, Americor can help with auto repossessions, mortgages and tax debts.
The company recently announced the launch of a personal loan option to help its clients with debt consolidation with a fixed rate of 24.99%, which can be a good solution for anyone with high interest credit card debts.

Best for customer support: Pacific Debt Relief

Pacific Debt Relief

Cost 15-25% of enrolled debt based on debt amount and state of registration
Avg. time to settle debt 24-48 months
Accreditations CDRI, IAPDA

Our verdict

Good for those who prioritize customer service. Of the 1,456 Pacific Debt Relief reviews on Trustpilot, 84% were 5-star reviews, and 11% were 4 stars. The vast majority of reviews praise its customer service, and that’s something we like to see. Being burdened with debt is one of the most stressful situations one can face, and having a friendly voice on the other line to hold your hand and walk you through the process is sometimes all you need to see a light at the end of the tunnel and know that you’re not in this alone.

Best in availability: Century Support Services

Century Support Services

Cost 25% of enrolled debt
Avg. time to settle debt 24-48 months
Accreditations IAPDA, AADR

Our verdict

Century Support Services is one of our top debt relief picks because it is available in almost all states across the U.S. (with the exception of only six). It has 20 years of success in reducing debts for over 259,000 clients. It has an A+ BBB rating, and strong TrustPilot rating, which are indications of positive customer feedback. While Century Support Services’ 25% rate is standard, many of the competitors do charge a lower rate based on certain circumstances or vary by state.

Best in customer satisfaction: New Era Debt Solutions 

New Era Debt Solutions

Cost Not disclosed
Avg. time to settle debt 12-36 months
Accreditations IAPDA

Headquartered in Camarillo, California, New Era Debt Solutions works to alleviate debt for clients located in 20 states, and an additional 27 states through Consumer First Legal Network (CFLN). It does not serve clients in Iowa, Maine, or Oregon.
Since its inception, New Era has negotiated $275 million in debt relief. It reports an average reduction of 42.87% off the account balances at the time of settlement.
Since 1999, New Era Debt Solutions has worked to negotiate settlements for clients in a variety of hardships.
A BBB rating of A+ is the highest a company can score on its letter scale. Points are assigned based on factors such as complaint resolution, time in business, complaint volume, and business practices.
New Era has debt specialists available Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. PST and after hours by appointment. If you’re a current client, customer service is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST.

  • BBB Customer Reviews – 4.93 out of 5
  • TrustPilot ratings – 5 out of 5
  • Google ratings – 4.9 out of 5

Our verdict 

Good for those seeking relief and an effective path out of debt. New Era Debt Solutions doesn’t sugarcoat the process, and provides the facts that other debt relief companies trying to earn your business might shy away from. It has an entire page dedicated to these hard truths, detailing its average settlement amounts, reasons why people have left the program before completion, and the average length of time it takes someone to complete its program. This transparency allows potential clients to make informed decisions, and goes a long way in building trust and credibility.   

Best for interactive engagement: Freedom Debt Relief 

Freedom Debt Relief

Cost 15-25% of enrolled debt
Avg. time to settle debt 24-48 months
Accreditations IAPDA, AADR

Headquartered in San Mateo, California, Freedom Debt Relief works with clients all over the country to get relief from their unsecured debts, such as credit cards and medical bills.

Freedom Debt Relief has served over 850,000 client, the most out of every company on our list, and has settled more than four million accounts.
$15+ billion in debt settled
Freedom Debt Relief has settled over $15 billion in debt, the most out of all the debt relief companies on our list.
Debt relief specialists are available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. EST, and Saturday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. EST. Customer service for current clients can be reached Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. EST, Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST, and Saturday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST.

    • BBB Customer Reviews – 4.63 out of 5
    • TrustPilot ratings – 4.6 out of 5

Our verdict 

Good for those who want an interactive dashboard that keeps you updated on the progress of your debt relief situation. Every time a new settlement offer comes in, you’re notified via phone and through your interactive dashboard. From there, you can select whether to accept it or not. This is particularly helpful for those with busy lives who don’t always have time to hop on a phone call.

What to know about debt relief companies

The first thing you should know about debt relief companies is that not all types of debt can be negotiated. Anything backed by the federal government or by collateral is ineligible for relief. This includes federal student loans, mortgages, and auto loans. Some private student loans may be eligible, depending on the debt relief company and your circumstances.  

Most debt relief companies require you to be facing some kind of financial hardship, such as a divorce or layoff, before they’ll consider taking you on as a client.   

And while you’ll get out of debt, know that your credit score will likely tank in the immediate term. This is because in order to negotiate with creditors, the money you’d typically put towards your debt will go into an FDIC-insured trust account to accumulate. This means missed payments and you’ll continue to receive collection calls. After all, why would a creditor negotiate if you’re already making on-time payments? 

Additionally, you don’t need a debt relief company in order to settle with creditors. There are plenty of online resources to do it yourself, but if you’re not confident in your negotiation skills, having an expert do it for you can save you time, money, and stress. After all, you don’t want to agree to unfavorable terms or misunderstand any of the legalities of your agreements.

How to choose a debt relief company

Choosing a debt relief company should be done with care, because the last thing you want is to end up in a worse situation than you’re in now. Here are some questions to ask potential debt relief companies:

  • Is it accredited by any industry organizations?
  • Does it publish its success rate? How about its failure rate?
  • What are its fees?
  • How long is the program?
  • How are you notified of settlement progress?
  • Does it have an in-house or external legal team?

Be wary of any companies charging money upfront (the FTC doesn’t allow this), making promises that your credit score won’t go down (if you’re settling, it will), and offering to settle for pennies on the dollar (it can’t). Do independent research on sites like Trustpilot and BBB to see real customer experiences, rather than only the curated ones offered by the debt relief company. 

Alternatives to debt relief companies

There are many alternative options before resorting to a debt relief company. Some of these include:

Frequently asked questions

Will my credit score improve by using a debt relief company?

In the short term, your credit score will almost always go down. You won’t be making payments on your debt, which will be reported to credit bureaus as a missed payment, and instead will be taking that money and putting it into an FDIC-insured trust account to accumulate until enough money is collected to settle. Once a settlement is reached, debt relief companies use the money in the trust account to settle that debt. However, in the long-term, once the missed payments drop off, your score is likely to increase as the debt decreases.

Do debt relief companies charge money upfront?

No, it’s against the FTC to charge money before settling. Instead, debt relief companies charge a fee based on the amount they have settled on your behalf. Typically, debt relief companies charge 15% to 25% after an agreement is reached.

Can credit relief companies stop collection calls?

No, you’re likely to continue to receive collect calls even when actively working with a debt relief company. This is because you’re missing payments. Legally, creditors are allowed to continue to attempt to collect on the debt owed.

Our methodology 

To determine the five best debt relief companies, our team did a thorough qualitative analysis of dozens of debt relief companies. We analyzed the services offered, its published track record, industry reputation, customer reviews, accreditations, and its customer service.

Consumer Reviews (40%) – What actual consumers have to say about their experience with a debt relief company is heavily taken into account because dealing with the stress of debt cannot be understated. We looked at a number of consumer review sites — like BBB, TrustPilot and Google Reviews — to compile the score.

Costs (30%) – Anyone looking for debt relief should be focused on how much it will cost them to reduce their debt because, after all, it has to be worth it. That’s why we heavily weigh costs in our methodology.

Average time to settle debt (20%) – Anyone with mounting debt should be concerned with how long it takes to settle and achieve debt-free financial freedom.

Free Consultation (5%) – All debt relief companies should not charge you for your first consultation. In fact, it is against the laws of the FTC for them to take any upfront fees. 

Accreditations and types of debt services (5%) – There are a number of relevant accreditations that debt relief companies can have. Those badges indicate the the debt relief company is properly trained to offer you sound advice on how to manage or reduce your debts. We also weighed the types of debt services each company provides, such as debt settlement and debt consolidation.

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