Credit Associates: Top Features
Credit Associates is an established and reputable debt relief company. It is a member of the American Fair Credit Council, whose members promise to follow a code of conduct in the industry. They negotiate a wide variety of unsecured debt, including credit card debt, medical debt, and business debt.
Established company: Credit Associates operates a debt settlement program in 42 states and has been in business since 2007.
Short program: Credit Associates’ debt settlement program is built around 24-36 monthly payments. This is a very aggressive program and requires that you make the monthly payments so that they can rapidly negotiate our debt.
A wide variety of unsecured debt: Apparently, Credit Associates has a minimum enrollment of about $10,000. They specialize in credit card debt, medical/hospital bills, and business debt. Like other debt settlement companies, they do not negotiate secured debt such as mortgages, auto loans.
Some industry accreditation: Credit Associates is an accredited member of the industry group, The American Fair Credit Council (AFCC), accredits Credit Associates. They feature the International Association of Professional Debt Arbitrators (IAPDA) logo; however, the IAPDA does not feature Credit Associates as a service member.
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Free consultation: They offer a free debt consultation program to review your financial situation and see if you are a good match for their program.
No upfront fees: Like other reputable debt settlement companies, Credit Associates does not take any upfront fees.
Competitive fees and results: Credit Associates does not present a disclaimer or information regarding their fees and savings. Their savings estimate calculator shows a sample result with savings of about 35% of the original debt. However, they note that this is a general example, and the results “may not pertain to your unique situation or circumstances.”.
Important Considerations: While not unique to Credit Associates, these are essential things to keep in mind when looking for a debt settlement company. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions people ask Credit Associates:
Does the program lower my credit score?: The Credit Associates debt settlement program is not based on your credit score. They note that the amount of damage “depends on what your credit looks like when you enrolled in our program.” However, since you don’t make payments to your creditors, expect a drop in your credit score.
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Do I need to pay taxes on unforgiven debt?: You need to report any forgiven debt over $600. In the case of insolvency, the IRS has special rules that may exempt you from paying taxes. Always speak to a certified tax preparer or a CPA about taxes.
Will creditors sue me?: Credit Associates claims that “There is a slight possibility that any creditor can sue you.” However, they do note that there is a good chance that your creditors may continue collection efforts on delinquent accounts. Their actions may include phone calls, collection letters, sending accounts to collection agencies, or even filing a lawsuit. Remember, in the event, you are sued, Credit Associates does not provide legal representation.
Can I keep my credit card?: You need to discontinue using credit cards that are enrolled in the program. In any case, since you stop making payments, creditors will usually close your accounts. Speak to your debt consultant about keeping open at least one credit card for emergency use.
Credit Associates: Qualifying for a debt relief program
National Debt Relief offers a debt settlement program to help consumers who are struggling with their bills. Similar to other debt relief companies, here are their major requirements:
Financial hardship: Credit Associates relies on your certification that you are in financial difficulty. They work with you before and during the program to substantiate your financial hardship.
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Behind in payments: To qualify for a debt settlement program, you need to be at least several months behind in your payments.
Ability to make a monthly payment: You need to make a monthly payment to the program. Credit Associates notes that this is a savings oriented program. Instead of making payments to your creditors, you need to make monthly payments to a specially designated account in your name used to pay off your debts. Credit Associates builds its program around a 24-36month period. If, for example, you owe $10,000 in credit card debt, expect to pay about $208 per month for a three-year program versus minimum payments of about $250.
Sufficient debt to warrant the program: Although they don’t publish a minimum debt, it seems as if Credit Associates requires you to enroll at least $10,000 in debt.
Credit Associates – Customer service and customer satisfaction
Credit Associates offers a free consultation via the phone. They also provide phone service to existing customers. They operate six days a week.
You can track your account and progress through the Credit Associates online portal. However, they do not offer a mobile app nor a chat service.
Credit Associates has a “B” rating with the BBB. They have a very high consumer review rating (4.99/5.0) with TrustPilot.