By entering a debt settlement program, you agree to have the debt settlement company negotiate with creditors on your behalf.

As part of this program, you’ll stop making payments to your creditors and begin making one monthly payment into an account set up by the settlement company.

We’ve been reviewing debt settlement for seven years.

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If you don’t meet the minimum debt amount, you’ll be referred to a credit counseling agency.

These are non-profits that can give you guidance on budgeting or enroll you in a debt management plan.

This settlement company assigns each customer a dedicated account representative.

Your account rep will update you when a settlement is reached with one of your creditors and will be on hand to answer any questions.

In some cases they may be able to reach a settlement before you have enough to pay the settlement company’s fees.

The settlement companies we interviewed all offer flexibility in these situations, letting you divide your payment into monthly installments.If you value customer service most, Freedom Debt Relief is a good choice as its customer service is highly regarded in the industry.Customers get quick responses to calls and emails, and company representatives undergo three months of training before taking calls.We spent another 20 hours interviewing these debt relief companies and conducting secret-shopper-style customer calls.All of the companies we included are transparent and upfront with customers about the risks associated with these programs and follow FTC regulations that prohibit advance fees.Several of the programs we reviewed partner with credit counselors, and some offer debt consolidation loans.