CareOne Debt Relief Services® is one of the country’s largest companies that provides credit counseling or debt management services to consumers with large amounts of unsecured (usually credit card) debt.
I actually used CareOne’s services for part of the time I was digging out of consumer debt, so I feel especially qualified to comment on their services. (For more about my relationship with this company, see this footnote.)
I did my homework before I enrolled in a CareOne program.
There are thousands of companies out there advertising debt relief and, unfortunately, many are not reputable. In the best case, they’ll charge you hundreds of dollars to do things you can do yourself. Sometimes, they’ll make your situation worse.
But if you think you need help managing your debt (somebody who contacts your creditors and negotiates a payment plan on your behalf), CareOne is a good choice.
When you contact CareOne, they can:
- Contact credit card companies and other creditors on your behalf (all except your mortgage company and/or auto lenders).
- Attempt to renegotiate the terms of your debt in order to eliminate late fees, reduce your interest rates, and reduce the amount of your monthly payment.
In my case, they got my interest rates on two cards down from 19% to 13% and 20% to 15% without me ever having to speak directly with my creditors.
After enrolling with CareOne, you begin making one monthly payment to the plan instead of several monthly payments to all of your credit card companies; CareOne then distributes your payment to your creditors according to the settlement it has reached with the credit card companies.
WHAT DOES IT COST?
There is a monthly fee that varies based upon the number of creditors on your plan and other factors (mine was $39, but yours could be more or less). This is standard for debt relief services, and unlike other companies, CareOne does not charge setup or enrollment fees and also offers a money-back guarantee.
Pros and cons of debt consolidation
As with any alternative to managing your debt on your own, there are pros and cons to working with CareOne. Before working with any outside service on your debt, I encourage you to read 10 things everybody should know about debt management services.
On the plus side: you have a company that is experienced with negotiated with creditors in your corner. Credit card companies may be more likely to listen to CareOne than when you call directly (as was the case in my situation). Furthermore, the company provides representatives to help you manage your debt on the phone or online.
On the downside: CareOne does charge a monthly fee, and working with a credit counseling agency may lower your credit score. Of course, getting current on your debt and paying it off completely is the most important thing you can do for your credit score in the long-run.
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