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How To Choose a Debt Consolidation Company

Dec 3, 2007
As often as we get requests to open new credit card accounts, there are an equal number of debt consolidation companies that insist they have the best plan for you at the lowest rates with the best customer service. When you think of consolidation at such a difficult financial time, it almost seems like a debt consolidation company can save your life.

Part of a good debt consolidation management plan should include how to find the right debt consolidation company to help you manage this process effectively. There are a few things that you can do to make sure you are with a company that can truly make your situation better. There are also a variety of online and print resources that can be used without any cost to you. With a little bit of time and education, there are things you can do on your own that a debt consolidation company could offer you.

Beware of the Easy To Fix Messages. We have all seen these ads online or in the mail: "We can solve your debt problem in just one click!" Or maybe this one: "We can help you cut your payment in half." Whatever the quick promises offer, they can be a tempting marketing piece offered to people who may also be vulnerable and having financial issues with their debt.

The worst debt consolidation decisions you can make involve getting yourself into more debt by taking out yet another loan. Hard money loans can be a troubling option for people who are already a huge credit risk. This often means much higher payments, higher interest rates and over time you will certainly end up paying much more than the original debt. Also be wary of any debt consolidation companies that offer a promise to take care of everything. Nothing is that easy, and you actually pay them a small percentage each month which goes to them for their services, and not towards your debt.

By passing on your payment to the creditors, the debt consolidation company receives a rebate and you pay for this overall reduction in your debt. It is important to ask yourself if this isn't the same thing you could do yourself, make your own negotiations for payment options and with a little research, you can learn which debt to pay off first. Many debt consolidation companies can also make late payments or even miss payments which in turn continues to add to the already bad credit score. So, if you do decide to go with a debt consolidation company, ask about their rates first, and see how much they can knock off your debt bill right at the start. Also, it doesn't hurt to ask around. Word of mouth is often the best source of information, much better than an ad in the Yellow Pages. Ask people if they can recommend a good debt consolidation company.

Let's take the subject of credit cards as a comparison. We all would love to be able to transfer the balance of our credit card to another one with a lower interest rate. What the credit card issuers are not telling you is that the lower interest rate only lasts a few months and then you pay the normal interest rate or often even higher once the opening offer is up. This forces you to switch cards yet again, which is okay as long as you remember to do it. Otherwise the charges are piled on again. Eventually, if you are not careful, you are trapped into credit card debt with high interest payments and even more debt than you would have incurred by leaving it as it was in the first place.

So it is with debt consolidation companies; they are not all created equal. So be careful when you sign up. Make sure they offer you choice and flexibility, and that their staff are all qualified insolvency practitioners, not just loan salesmen.
About the Author
Gordon Goodfellow runs consumer websites which add value. His debt consolidation site offers a wide range of services and options to those with debt. His associate site offers debt consolidation company advice in the United States.
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