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Criteria Update: Debt Settlement and Consolidation/Debt Management

Posted By:  |  October 7, 2014  |  0 Comment(s)

Behind the scenes of, our team is constantly searching for opportunities to better assist our site visitors in finding the best companies to meet their needs. We conduct surveys to discover what consumers’ value from companies they work with. We monitor industry trends for additional services that customers might benefit from. We also read feedback.

Sometimes we receive positive feedback. It’s copied into an email and sent around the office to the sound of pure joy. We have occasionally received negative feedback. Believe us, we take the criticism seriously, scouring our work to see if we’ve fallen short of providing our best service in any way.

While it’s impossible to please everyone, we are intent on trying!

We recently found the perfect opportunity to provide more value to consumers in the form of a massive update to How We Rank Companies. Updates were made to both our Debt Settlement Company reviews and Debt Management and Consolidation Company reviews.

For both sets of reviews we added three additional criterions and removed two seemingly redundant out outdated criterion. A summary of changes is as follows, with explanations for each update below:

Changes made to Debt Consolidation and Management Company Reviews:

  1. Added “Online Dashboard” criteria
  2. Added “CPFC Certified Counselors” criteria
  3. Added “ISO Certified” criteria
  4. Removed “Mobile Friendly” criteria
  5. Removed “Web & Data Security” criteria

Changes made to Debt Settlement Company Reviews:

  1. Added “Online Dashboard” criteria
  2. Added “AFCC Accredited” criteria
  3. Added “Total Resolved Debt” criteria
  4. Removed “Mobile Friendly” criteria
  5. Removed “Up-Front Fees” criteria

The first criteria we added to both were based on whether or not a debt settlement company offered an online dashboard to monitor progress on their account. We feel it is important that service oriented companies hold themselves accountable to their customers and an online dashboard is a great way to do that.

Certification is important in highly regulated industries to show that you understand how to navigate the red tape. We added additional criteria to reflect this in each industry. On the Debt Consolidation and Management side we added CPFC Certified Counselors and ISO Certification. CPFC certification shows that financial professionals have passed rigorous tests of their financial knowledge and are qualified to counsel others to better financial health. ISO Certification is completed on the business level to show that the business has taken proper steps to enforce quality management, such that they can perform for their customers on a consistent basis. For our Debt Settlement Companies we added AFCC Accreditation. This is a difficult certification awarded by the American Fair Credit Council, to show that professionals understand issues related to debt and credit.

The final addition for our Debt Settlement Company reviews was a criterion for Total Debt Resolved. This criterion establishes how successful a company has been in resolving debt in the past, offering consumers confidence in their choice of a company to represent them in settling their debt.

Our decision to remove Mobile Friendly as a criterion was based on advances in technology, making this redundant. When we first began reviewing these industries, mobile design was less common. Now it is so common that nearly every company we review has one, making this less of a differentiating factor. Our decision to remove the Web & Data Security criteria from Debt Consolidation and Management company reviews was for much the same reason. Providing security measures for customers has become so common in these industries we no longer felt the need to place emphasis on this criteria, because it is standard practice for every one of them.

Our decision to remove Upfront Fees from the Debt Settlement Company reviews was because the practice has been made illegal for each of these companies, and so not one of them offers up front fees.

We hope these updates make our site even better suited to your needs.



  • How important is it to you for a debt consolidation company to offer financial education resources?
  • Takes your existing debt and try to settle with your creditors for a lower amount. If you pay off the settled amount, your debt will be considered paid in full.
  • Negotiates with your creditors on your behalf.
  • Fee based on a percentage of your total starting debt or a percentage of the debt they save you.
  • Most settlement companies have you create a separate "escrow" account where you will make monthly contributions over a certain amount of time to contribute to your settlement. Once there is a substantial amount of funds to show your creditors, the settlement company will try to negotiate a lower amount of debt.
  • Combines all your debts and creditors into one monthly payment.
  • Allows you to pay one monthly payment to the consolidation company, instead of multiple payments to different creditors.
  • You no longer owe your original creditors; instead you pay one monthly payment to your consolidation company.
  • Consolidation companies can help negotiate lower interest rates on your debts and help lower your total debt payment in the long run. A lower interest rate will lower the amount you owe in the end.
  • Allows you to consolidate all your different debts into one personal loan that can be paid off over time.
  • Can offer borrowers a lower interest rate with a longer payback term (compared to high-interest credit cards or medical bills). This will lower the amount of money required to pay off the loan over time.
  • Personal loan debt consolidation can be an effective way to raise your credit score quickly (within 3-6 months).
  • Borrowers can receive funds from their loan within only a few days.

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