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Debt Consolidation

Delray Credit Counseling offers Debt Consolidation Services or Debt Management Plans (DMP). This is a program offered by most banks and finance companies through non-profit Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies

Facts on Debt Management Plans;

Debt consolidation services are for Credit Cards, Medical Bills and/or Collections Accounts. (No “secured” debts can be included. This includes house, or car payments, and any loans or accounts with collateral attached).

Only consumers having difficulty meeting monthly payment requirements or are unable to reduce their balances should apply. (This debt management program is not appropriate for consumers who are shopping for a better interest rate).

The Debt Management Plan may reduce or eliminate interest rates as well as stop late and over-limit fees. This program may also reduce a consumer’s overall monthly payment. Interest rates will vary depending on the creditors, but are usually around 6-9% and sometimes eliminated.

All of the debt consolidation services and benefits are extended by the credit grantors. Consumer’s payments must be made on time or creditors may drop a consumer from a DMP and not allow re-instatement. If this happens then the benefits extended by the creditors will be revoked.

Creditors will not allow further charges on the accounts while the included in program so the accounts will be closed. Creditors may open new lines of credit once the accounts are paid in full at their discretion.

Consumers should not enroll in a DMP if they are planning a home or auto purchase in the near future. Most credit grantors want to see at least three lines of “open credit”. Although a DMP does not affect your credit score rating one way or another, if a consumer has no open lines of credit they may be denied or pay a higher interest rate.
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   The Debt Management Programs offer several benefits to consumers:

  • In making a consistent payment each month throughout the program, the consumer is able to repay the outstanding balance faster. Typically becoming debt free within 3-5 years.
  • Once set up into a Debt Management Plan, collection activity on an account will stop.

As with all options, the Debt Management Program also has aspects that may not be suitable for all consumers.

  • The credit grantors determine all benefits. A consumer cannot appeal the interest rate that the creditors set or the payment that they require.
  • A consumer is now working with a third party between the creditors and themselves. They will need to be in contact with both parties to ensure that the DMP works efficiently and effectively.

Consumers should always consider all of their options first. When entered into a DMP, the credit lines are closed; this will affect some of the factors that help to determine a consumers credit score. i.e. the length of time accounts have been opened and the types of credit in use. If a consumer has a high debt load, it will outweigh these changes and they will have little effect. However if a consumer’s debt load is not the largest contributing factor and these other factors are adjusted then the consumer’s credit report may be affected.

More Facts From DCC:

DCC offers free counseling to consumers whether or not they enroll in a debt management plan.( DMP) Our agency may offer reduced fee structure for those in extreme financial hardship. Some creditors contribute “fair share” to the agency for managing a DMP. Fair share is usually between 1-5% of a monthly payment. Fair-share payments help defer the costs of managing the DMP account. You may enroll in a DMP by visiting our office or by phone. General information may also be sent by mail or email. Counselors are certified through The Center for Financial Certifications https://fincert.org/ 

Debt management plans are typically completed in a 36-48 month period. A complete list of creditors and full account information will be required to enroll. You must also supply your social security number. Some creditors require all consumer accounts be enrolled in DMP for acceptance into the program. Consumers enrolling in a DMP should monitor creditor statements and report any discrepancies to this agency. 

Enrolling in a DMP is neither negative nor positive with regards to credit score. Be aware that while the “narrative code” for debt management plan that may be listed on a credit report is not a negative. Accounts that are enrolled in DMP are closed. The closing of accounts may cause a drop in credit score. Having open trade line on a credit report with balances lower than 50% of the available credit line is an important part of maintaining good credit. Do not apply for credit while in DMP. Once your program is completed you may open new lines of credit or credit cards.

You should obtain a credit report at least one time each year. Go to www.annualcreditreport.com for a free annual copy from each bureau. Report any discrepancies to the credit reporting agencies.

 

 

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