National Debt Relief is a highly accredited debt relief company based out of New York City. The company was founded in 2009 and serves customers across the US. They specialize in debt settlement for credit card debt relief and general debt relief. They offer a free savings estimate and do not require any fees upfront. The purpose of National Debt Relief and other debt-relief companies is to help consumers settle their debts at a lower interest rate and overall cost.
To qualify for National Debt Relief’s debt settlement program, consumers must have at least $7,500 in unsecured debt for a qualified debt type. Qualified types of debt include major credit cards, department store cards, personal loans, medical bills, credit unions, some secured debts and some private student loans. National Debt Relief cannot assist consumers with debt related to car, truck, van, or motorcycle loans, federal student loans, personal loans from a person’s current bank, mortgages or child support.
Before considering working with any debt relief company, consider all of your options, as well as the potential drawbacks of debt settlement.
National Debt Relief snapshot
|Type of debt relief||Debt Settlement|
|Fees||15 percent to 25 percent of settled debts|
|Minimum debt settled||$7,500|
|Eligibility requirements||Have a qualifying debt type, able to make monthly payments, able to demonstrate financial hardship|
|Customer reviews||BBB Rating: A|
|Credit score impact||Short term negative impact|
National Debt Relief is best for dealing with creditors
National Debt Relief is best for individuals who have been through a financial crisis and are looking to manage and pay off their debt without paying high-interest fees, taking out debt consolidation loans or declaring bankruptcy. It is difficult to navigate settling debts as an individual, making National Debt Relief a great option for those looking for a service to negotiate on their behalf.
National Debt Relief does not charge clients until debts are settled to the client’s satisfaction. They also provide a free initial consultation with no commitment necessary. While the level of debt reduction varies from case to case, National Debt Relief has a proven track record of negotiating with creditors to significantly reduce customer debt. It is, however, important to note that there is no guarantee that creditors will be willing to work with debt relief companies.
How National Debt Relief works
When choosing to work with National Debt Relief, it is important to know what to expect from the process. When you first apply, a certified specialist reviews your credit history to ensure your eligibility for the debt settlement program. Once your eligibility is confirmed and you begin working with National Debt Relief, an escrow account at Global Client Solutions that only you can control will be opened in your name. You will then send an agreed-upon monthly deposit to National Debt Relief, to be deposited in your escrow account.
Meanwhile, National Debt Relief will negotiate with creditors on your behalf. They will contact you when they settle a debt and ask you to release the funds from your account to pay for the settlement. Typically, your first settlement will occur within three to six months. While the overall length of the program depends on your individual debt, it generally takes between 24 to 48 months to settle all of your debts.
Types of debt settled by National Debt Relief:
- Major credit cards
- Department store cards
- Gas cards
- Bank loans from prior banks
- Installment loans
- Finance companies
- Unsecured personal loans
- Repossession deficiency balances (must provide statement)
- Business debts
- Bank, overdraft and associated fees (must provide statement)
- Cell phones (not current)
- Credit unions whose members are not federal or military employees
- Veterinarian bills over $500
- Abandoned timeshares
- Judgments 6 months or older (must provide documentation)
- Back rent (if you are no longer the resident)
Requirements and eligibility
In order to qualify for National Debt Relief’s settlement program, there are a few factors at play. You must owe more than $7500 in debt and be at least several months behind on payments. You must also be able to make monthly payments to National Debt Relief at an agreed-upon rate. The final criteria for eligibility is less straightforward. You must be able to demonstrate that you are in financial hardship that is unlikely to end soon. This criteria is important for National Debt Relief’s ability to negotiate on your behalf.
While National Debt Relief does not charge any fees upfront, they do collect a fee once all of your enrolled debt has been settled. On average, National Debt Relief collects 15 percent to 25 percent of total settled debt.
Pros and cons of National Debt Relief
|No fees upfront: National Debt Relief does not charge you anything until they have delivered results||High closing fees at 15 percent to 25 percent of total debt: While this program is likely to save you money, National Debt Relief does charge a fairly high closing fee that has the potential to negate the benefits of enrollment.|
|Positive customer reviews: National Debt Relief has an A score from the Better Business Bureau as well as a score of 4.7 out of 5 on TrustPilot.||Damage to credit score: Enrolling in a debt settlement program will significantly damage your credit score. While it is likely that your credit score will recover upon completion of the program, there is no guarantee.|
|Free initial consultation: National Debt Relief offers a free initial consultation with no commitment necessary.||No guarantee of settlement/potential to be sued by creditors: Creditors are not obligated to work with debt relief companies and may refuse to do so. It is also possible that creditors might file lawsuits against you when you stop paying them in order to work with National Debt Relief.|
National Debt Relief customer reviews
National Debt Relief has an A rating with the Better Business Bureau. The highest possible score is A+. The BBB uses several elements to determine scores:
- The business’s complaint history with BBB
- Type of business- If the business violates the law or raises marketplace concerns, BBB lowers their rating
- Time in business- The BBB bases ratings in part on how long a business has been operating
- Transparent business practices
- Failure to honor commitments to BBB
- Licensing and government actions known to BBB
- Advertising issues known to BBB
National Debt Relief has an average of 4.31 out of 5 stars from customer reviews posted with the BBB. The company has also had 254 complaints filed with the BBB in the last three years. Comparatively, New Era Debt Solutions, one of National Debt Relief’s top competitors, has a BBB score of A+ and an average 4.85/5 stars from BBB customer reviews. New Era Debt Solutions also has a very low complaint rate, with just 3 complaints in the last three years. Freedom Debt Relief, another top competitor, has a BBB score of A- and an average 4.35 out of 5 stars from BBB customer reviews. They have had 395 customer complaints in the past three years.
Overall, National Debt Relief is a highly rated and accredited debt relief company whose scores and customer reviews are on par with their top competitors.
Risks of debt settlement
While there are several advantages to working with a debt settlement company, there are also many drawbacks.
No guarantee of settlement
The most obvious risk involved is that there is no guarantee that National Debt Relief or any other debt relief company will be able to settle your debt. Since you are typically advised to stop making payments to creditors once you start working with a debt relief company, lack of a final settlement will lead to higher interest rates and late fees. This could leave you with more debt than you started with. Lack of settlement also leaves you vulnerable to potential lawsuits from creditors.
Damaged credit score
Another risk involved with stopping your payments to creditors is the damage this will do to your credit score. While companies like National Debt Relief tend to assure customers that this drop in their credit score is temporary and will be resolved upon completion of the debt settlement program, there is no guarantee of this. In fact, accounts marked as “settled” on credit reports can have a negative impact on your credit score.
You could end up paying more
In addition to the high service fees National Debt Relief and other debt-relief companies charge after settlement, interest and late fees will still accrue on debts after you stop paying them. These charges could make your debt higher than what you originally owed.
Debt settlement can take longer than expected
Debt settlement often takes up to three to four years to complete.
Alternatives to National Debt Relief
If working with a debt settlement company is not right for you, there are several other options available when looking to work down your debt.
- Manage debt on your own or with a credit counseling agency: First of all, it is possible to manage your debt on your own. While this option can be difficult to navigate and requires a great deal of self-discipline and organization, there are strategies out there to make it easier, such as the debt snowball and the debt avalanche There are also little things you can do to make your debt easier to manage, including sticking to a budget, starting an emergency savings account and taking measures to reduce your monthly bills. In order to make this process easier, it could be beneficial to work with a credit counseling agency. These agencies take a deep look at your financial situation and provide recommendations and strategies for moving forward.
- Debt consolidation: If managing your debt on your own is not a possibility, you could also consider debt consolidation. This is the process of combining all of your debts into one new loan. Consolidation makes your debt payments more manageable since it allows you to make one payment per month instead of many. It can also reduce any outstanding interest on your loans. You can complete the debt consolidation process through a credit counseling agency or apply for a debt consolidation loan on your own. Debt consolidation does come with its own set of risks. These include upfront costs, putting collateral at risk and the possibility of raising the total cost of your debt.
- Balance transfers: Another option for managing your debt is implementing a balance transfer. This process involves moving your outstanding credit card debt to a balance transfer credit card. This is any credit card that allows you to transfer balances from other accounts. These accounts typically offer 0 percent annual percentage rates (APR) for a limited amount of time (12 to 24 months). This option saves you money on interest immediately and allows your payments to go directly to your principal balance. Balance transfers tend to be a good option for those with a lot of high-interest debt, but opening a new credit card always involves the risk of racking up new balances.
- Bankruptcy: The final option for debt management is declaring bankruptcy. This tends to be the last resort for most but could be the best option depending on your financial situation. There are two types of bankruptcy, chapter 7 and chapter 13. Filing chapter 7 erases almost all of your debt while chapter 13 recognizes your debt so that you may pay off a portion of it. While filing for bankruptcy can provide immediate relief from debt, it significantly hurts your credit score and can negatively impact employment and your ability to rent.
- National Debt Relief is a top-rated debt relief company with a high BBB score, a solid reputation and generally positive customer reviews
- Debt settlement can be a great option for debt relief, but there are risks involved and the process may not be right for everyone
- National Debt Relief provides a free initial consultation and does not charge any fees upfront, but after settlement fees tend to be high
How Bankrate rates National Debt Relief
|Services||4.3||Services were assessed based on minimum debt eligibility, types of eligible debt and whether or not the company provides free credit counseling.|
|Affordability||4.9||Affordability was assessed based on associated fees and whether or not the company specifies money-back guarantee terms.|
|Customer Experience||4.0||Customer experience was assessed based on website usability and features, as well as app availability.|
|Customer Satisfaction and Company Reputation||4.7||Customer satisfaction and company reputation was assessed based on Better Business Bureau accreditation and reviews, as well as TrustPilot reviews.|
|Stability||4.0||Stability was assessed based on how long the company has been in business and whether or not they maintain membership with a professional trade association.|