Dealing with Debt

Debt Management Programs Vs. Debt Settlement: How Are They Different From One Another

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Debt Management Programs and Debt Settlement are two different approaches to managing and resolving debt issues. People with financial difficulties might wonder about using a debt management program or debt settlement as two very diverse strategies to take control of their current financial situation. For people seeking debt relief, each option – debt management program vs. debt settlement has particular significance, purpose, and possible negative ramifications.

Here is an overview of the differences between the two debt repayment methods:

The Significance Of Credit Counseling –

For those in the middle of a debt crisis, credit counseling is an essential first move to learn more about one’s situation and how to plan to attack any debt. It entails working with certified credit counselors specializing in assisting people in assessing their financial status and developing a thorough debt-reduction strategy that makes sense for them. Through credit counseling, people are given a better understanding of their spending habits, how to adopt efficient money management strategies, how to properly set up a budget and ways to stick to it, and how to handle their financial obligations.

What Is A Debt Management Program (DMP) –

Meanwhile, credit counseling focuses only on guiding a client toward solving the financial burden of debt but does not implement the technical procedures to solve it. A debt management program is one direction that credit counseling may direct people in. Before joining a debt management program, You must complete an entire credit counseling session. That session might be online, over the phone, or in person, but you must complete credit counseling before signing up for a DMP.

A Debt Management Program is an organized plan for repaying debts over a certain period (3-5 years) to ensure all the debts are paid in full. Under this initiative, credit counseling organizations deal directly with Creditors to set up workable and realistic repayment schedules and usually obtain lower interest rates and even eliminate late or over-limit fees.

The debt management program’s primary goal is to establish an affordable and easy payment schedule on the same day each month. It lets debtors pay off their obligations gradually while saving money over time because of the lowered interest rates.

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Here are some key features of a Debt Management Program:

   – Financial Education: Credit counseling agencies provide education on budgeting, money management, and debt repayment strategies.

   – Debt Management Program (DMP): A credit counselor may work with you to create a DMP, which involves consolidating your debts into a single monthly payment that you will send to the agency each month on a specific date. The counselor contacts your creditors and sends them a new repayment proposal to reduce interest rates and waive specific fees potentially.

   – Repayment Assistance: A DMP focuses on helping you repay your debts in full over time, usually through one regular monthly payment.

What Is Debt Settlement –

Debt Settlement, on the other hand, is an intensive – or rather forceful method of debt repayment. Companies specializing in debt settlement negotiate with creditors to lower the overall amount their customers owe. Hence, a long process of auditing and accounting shall be done in this phase, and all the while, no payments are being sent to the creditors. Money is instead collected in the company’s account until a nice lump sum is reached and can be used to negotiate. The client typically contributes monthly payments to a “settlement account” during this procedure, and the account grows over time, but the creditors don’t receive a penny when this happens.

Once a manageable quantity has gathered, the debt settlement company talks with creditors to work out a lump sum settlement deal that will be discussed and agreed upon. Typically, this lowers the overall debt owed, enabling the debtor to pay off their obligations more quickly than by making minimum monthly payments. However, because the creditors aren’t being paid every month, they will report this to the credit bureaus as late or missed payments which will negatively affect a person’s credit score for years to come. You will also have to pay taxes on any debt that is forgiven. The IRS may see that forgiven debt as income, and you will have to pay taxes on it.

A debt management program and debt settlement differ significantly on a larger scale, even though both strategies aim to reduce debt. The goal of a debt management program is to assist people in regaining control over their obligations while fully repaying them. Debtors who choose debt settlement have the chance to settle their obligations for less money by negotiating a smaller sum with their creditors, but that can negatively affect one’s credit and confuse things when tax season rolls around.

Here are some key features of debt settlement:

   – Reduced Debt Amount: In debt settlement, you aim to negotiate with creditors to accept a reduced lump sum payment as a final settlement of the debt. This is often lower than the original amount owed.

   – Negotiation Process: Debt settlement typically involves negotiations between you, or a debt settlement company on your behalf, and your creditors. The goal is to reach an agreement on a reduced payoff amount.

   – Lump Sum Payment: Debt settlement often requires a lump sum payment, which can be challenging for some individuals to gather the necessary funds.

   – Credit Impact: Debt settlement can have a negative impact on your credit score since you are not repaying the full amount owed as initially agreed.

– Tax Implications: When tax season rolls around, you’ll be responsible for paying taxes on any debt that was “forgiven” in the debt settlement.

Conclusion –

It is important to note that credit counseling and debt management programs focus on education, budgeting, and structured debt repayment, whereas debt settlement seeks to negotiate reduced lump sum payments to settle the debts. Both approaches have their own benefits and drawbacks, so it is crucial to evaluate your financial situation and seek professional advice before deciding on the most appropriate strategy for your needs.

While debt management programs do not usually directly affect a person’s credit score, ongoing participation in the program shows a dedication to proper debt management, and credit scores usually increase as time goes on because you are lowering your debt-to-income ratio and making payments on time. As it includes negotiating to lower the debt amounts with creditors and not paying creditors for several months, debt settlement will definitely have a negative influence on credit scores and will increase the amount you have to pay in taxes.




Disclaimer: The information provided is for informational purposes only. The materials are general in nature, are not offered as advice or guarantee, and should not be relied upon without advice from an attorney or a financial advisor. Reading the information does not constitute a legal contract, consulting, or any other relationship with Advantage Credit Counseling Service.
Author: Lauralynn Mangis
Lauralynn is the Online Marketing Specialist for AdvantageCCS. She is married and has two young daughters. She enjoys writing, reading, hiking, cooking, video games, sewing, and gardening. Lauralynn has a degree in Multimedia Technologies from Pittsburgh Technical College.