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Frequently Asked Questions About Debt 2018-05-13T10:24:54+00:00
What will I need to sign up for credit counseling services? 2018-05-13T10:12:12+00:00

A budget analysis will be completed, so it’s important for you to have an idea of what your monthly expenses are and what you outstanding debt is. You will need to know what loans you have outstanding and what your current balances are on your credit cards.

What do I do if I can’t make a payment while I’m in a credit counseling program? 2016-07-06T10:42:41+00:00

If you cannot make a payment while in a credit counseling program notify your debt advisor as soon as possible. Their job and goal is to help you handle situations like this.

How long will it take me to pay off my debt using a consumer credit counseling service? 2016-07-06T10:40:39+00:00

This is not a straightforward answer.  Everyone’s length of time with the program depends on their unique situation. There are several factors that must be considered. Two of these factors are the creditor and the debtor. It depends on how much debt you have and how much you are able to pay back each billing period and whether the creditor will accept the terms under which you can pay back your debt. Typically consumer credit counseling services take about 3-5 years to complete their program when paying off unsecured debt.

What is the difference between credit counseling and debt management? 2018-05-12T22:09:14+00:00

Credit counseling offers education to clients about how to avoid debts that cannot be paid off and have specific programs that reduce your interest and combines your debt into one payment which is distributed to your creditors.

Debt management is a formal agreement between the debtor and the creditor. It is any program that helps you manage and pay off your debt at a reduced amount over a period of time.

How do I know if I should take advantage of credit counseling? 2016-07-06T10:37:06+00:00

Every debt management program, including credit counseling, has its advantages and disadvantages. Our debt advisors can help you understand all your options, including credit counseling, so you can find the solution that makes sense for your financial needs.

How do you apply to be part of a debt relief program with PCS Debt Relief? 2016-07-06T10:35:18+00:00

You can contact us by clicking on the form on the right-hand side of this page and a debt advisor will contact you to get started on the debt relief program that works for you.  The PCS Debt Relief team wants to help you understand the myths and truths behind your credit score and debt. Please, do yourself a favor and schedule a debt consultation where we can better educate you in the process of understanding your financial well being.

What information will my advisor need from me to get started? 2016-07-06T10:32:23+00:00

You will need to itemize your income sources, important financial transactions within the past two years, monthly living expenses, debts (loans and credit card balances), and property (all assets and belongings). We will also need the  last two years of your tax returns.

How do I set up an appointment? 2016-07-06T10:30:13+00:00

To set up your free consultation with a PCS Debt Relief analyst fill out the secure contact form on the right.  A debt analyst will contact you within one business day.  Consultations can also be set up by calling 1-888-727-4505.

What is a debt consolidation program? 2016-07-06T10:28:53+00:00

A debt consolidation program is a formal agreement between the debtor (you) and the creditor(s). Debt consolidation programs are designed to consolidate and manage your debt into one program. It helps reduce outstanding debts at a reduced payment level over a span of time.  Each program is tailored around the individual’s financial situation. To gain a better understanding of which plan works best for a debtor an analyst reviews your income and monthly expenses.

Debt consolidation is particularly helpful if you are able to borrow money at a low rate of interest to repay a loan at a higher interest rate.  This can also result in a faster repayment of your debt.

What types of credit accounts can a debt relief service help me with? 2016-07-06T10:27:09+00:00

We can help you with most credit card accounts, HELOCs, and many other unsecured debt accounts.

Who do I make debt payments to? 2016-07-06T10:24:56+00:00

It depends on the program you are enrolled in.  You will be given your program options based on your income, budget and amount of debt you have accumulated. A debt advisor works to help you chose the most feasible program and will never leave you wondering what is going on with your debt plan. They are here to give you the best advice and guidance. A debt advisor will explain everything, including who to make debt payments to, once you decide on what program makes sense for you.

What types of debt collection practices are prohibited by law? 2018-05-12T22:09:14+00:00

There are many different collection practices prohibited by law.  Debt collectors are not allowed to engage in abusive or deceptive bill collection practices.  They are not allowed to call you at work or call your family.  If they are calling you at work or your family members for a payment, then that is considered harassment.  If you feel that you have been harassed in any way or not treated respective, please let us know and we can help you deal with the issue.

Watch our video regarding your rights and debt collectors.

I still have a good credit rating and am current on my payments. Can I qualify for a debt relief program? 2018-05-12T22:09:14+00:00

Yes, most of the clients we help are not behind on their payments but are struggling or stressed out about their debt. We are here to advise anyone that is seeking guidance. We are not limiting our advice to only those on the verge of bankruptcy, but to anyone that is finding they have issues budgeting their accounts, making bills on time and simply trying to raise their credit score.

What if I can’t afford to pay anything to my creditors? 2016-07-06T10:16:17+00:00

A debt advisor will help you find the best solution for your circumstances. When you can’t pay the amount of your debt, it is best to contact your creditors. Ignoring their calls and refusing to make a small payment only frustrates them, causing them to constantly call and send notifications. When you are honest about a situation the creditors are often willing to lower the amount or suspend your payments for awhile.

Can I still get a mortgage while I’m in a debt management program? 2016-07-06T10:14:27+00:00

While in a debt management program it may be difficult to get a mortgage. When you have a low credit rating and a bad credit score it is difficult to get approved for any type of loan. It is best to clear yourself of debt before taking on any additional financial responsibility.

Is it better to settle my debts on my own? 2016-07-06T10:12:14+00:00

You can settle your own accounts just like you can represent yourself in court without an attorney, and treat yourself without a doctor.  Is it recommended? No, and that is why we suggest hiring experienced negotiators like we have at PCS Debt Relief.  Don’t allow yourself to make a hasty financial decision in regards to your savings and livelihood.  Panic can drive us to make choices without being aware of the risks involved.

Can creditors garnish my wages? 2016-07-06T10:08:34+00:00

There is always a possibility that creditors will try to garnish your wages. The risk of garnishment can occur when working with some debt relief agencies. It is very important to seek the help of an agency that has processes in place to minimize any risk of garnishment. With the form and procedures we use for PCS Debt Relief plans we greatly reduce this risk.   Only about .05% of our accounts have ever resulted in a garnishment.

What fees are associated with a debt relief agency? 2016-07-06T10:06:22+00:00

Each agency has different fees and payment policies. Most agencies have a wide range of fees from start-up to monthly fees. When doing your research on a debt relief agency, you need to ask about up-front cost, monthly fees and payments. You will always want to seek help from the debt relief agency that is going to cost you the least amount of money and hassle. We do NOT have an up-front fee policy, so the only fee you pay is a performance fee when an account has been finalized.

What kind of monthly budget should I expect to have? 2018-05-12T22:09:14+00:00

Our debt analysts will go over your current income and monthly expenses to determine a plan and budget that specifically fits your financial needs. Our goal is to relieve you of debt at a pace that is most comfortable for you.

Who is qualified for a debt relief program? 2016-07-06T10:02:57+00:00

Anyone with debt can be qualified for a debt relief program.  Each type of debt relief program has its own list of requirements to qualify.   With the help of an advisor and analyst from a debt relief agency, the debtor will learn the best debt relief options for their unique financial situation.

How do credit card debt relief programs work? 2016-07-06T10:01:33+00:00

Credit card debt relief programs are usually either debt consolidation programs or debt settlement programs.  Please read the individual sections on these services to learn more about each one.

What is a debt relief program? 2016-07-06T09:59:49+00:00

A debt relief program is a program for individuals and businesses who have issues with high debt and/or paying off their debt.  Debt programs help manage your debt to become debt free.   Debt relief programs can involve a variety of services including credit counseling, debt consolidation, debt settlement and even bankruptcy.

Each program is designed to help you find a way out of debt quickly and affordably and are designed to help people with debt and bad credit eliminate these problems.

Do I have to include all my credit card debts in a debt settlement program? 2016-07-06T09:58:47+00:00

We highly recommend all accounts be included in the program, but if there is a specific credit card you would like to not include, your debt advisor will see if that’s possible. To gain the best results to improve your credit score and work with your existing creditors, it is important to be honest about all of the debt you have accumulated. Giving accurate information can lower the amount of debt you will have to pay back after the debt settlement has been agreed upon.

How is debt settlement different from bankruptcy? 2016-07-06T09:55:44+00:00

Debt settlement is an approach to debt reduction that involves negotiating with creditors to accept a smaller amount than what you owe and forgiving the remainder of the debt.  Bankruptcy, depending on the type, is dismissing your debt or paying it off over a certain time frame.  Bankruptcy is a public record and will stay on your credit report for 10 years.

When does the debt settlement company communicate with my creditors? 2016-07-06T09:53:55+00:00

The initial communication for each creditor depends on the situation and the amount owed but most are contacted once the program is started.

Can a debt settlement company provide legal advice? 2016-07-06T09:51:55+00:00

No, a debt settlement company cannot provide legal advice, we are not experts in that area.  However, we can evaluate whether bankruptcy is an option you should consider.  If bankruptcy or any other legal advice is needed, we can help refer you to one of our trusted attorneys.

Is the amount I save on each of my settlements taxable? 2018-05-12T22:09:14+00:00

The amount you save on each settlement can be taxable, if you cannot prove you are insolvent.  Many of our clients are able to prove insolvency since their debts are more than their assets.  By proving insolvency the forgiven debt is not considered income.

Any debt that is forgiven over $600 or more will be issued a 1099 by the creditor. We do not handle taxes therefore it is important to talk to your tax accountant upon receiving a 1099 to see how it will affect your taxes.

What do the debt settlement company’s fees cover? 2018-05-12T22:09:14+00:00

The debt settlement company’s fees cover managing and negotiating your accounts until a settlement is finalized.  The fees also include unlimited support and advising time for our clients during the program.

How long does a debt settlement program last? 2018-05-12T22:09:14+00:00

The amount of time a debt settlement program last depends on the debt settlement company and you.  The most important factor is the amount of money you have, or can save, to pay off your debt.  Most of our clients complete the program in less than 18 months. We recommend no more than an 24 month program, but your debt advisor will see what makes sense with your financial needs.

Will all of my creditors and collectors negotiate with debt settlement companies? 2018-05-12T22:09:14+00:00

Most creditors and collectors will negotiate with a creditable debt settlement company.  Since we are a trusted debt settlement company, most creditors will work with us.  During your enrollment process with us, a debt advisor assigned to your case will let you know if we do not work with a certain creditor.  If, during the process of the debt negotiation, there is a situation where a creditor or collector will not work with your debt the debt advisor will inform you of this decision and discuss what actions should be taken.

How much will I be expected to save towards my debt settlements? 2016-07-06T09:40:10+00:00

The expectation of what you should save towards your debt settlement is unique in each case.  That is why it is important to seek help from a professional to develop a settlement for your case. A debt advisor needs to know your situation before finalizing the outcome of the settlement. The outcome of the settlement depends on the amount you will need to save towards paying back your debt. One of our debt advisors will help you with a budget analysis to see what and when funds will be available to complete the program. When that has been developed you can begin to save.

What are my responsibilities once I enroll in a debt settlement program? 2016-07-06T09:36:56+00:00

The most important responsibility you have upon enrolling in a debt settlement program is to make sure you are able to pay the settlement when the settlement amount is due.  Once that settlement is reached you are fully responsible at that time and date to pay back the debt.  The debt settlement process and plan makes it simple for you to attain or save the money needed but it is up to you to ensure those funds are ready when the settlement debt becomes due.

What is the purpose of a debt settlement program? 2016-07-06T09:34:10+00:00

The purpose of a debt settlement program is to free you of debt as soon as possible by reducing the balances you owe.  As an added benefit, the program will save you all of the interest accumulation over the amount of time it would have taken to pay the debt back in full.

During the process we also help each individual learn the importance of paying debt back on time, gaining a better understanding of when to use debt, and having better control over their debt in the future.

Will this have a negative effect on my credit report? 2018-05-12T22:09:14+00:00

Debt Settlement programs can have a negative effect on your credit report while in the program.  Upon completing the program your debt to income ratio (1/3 of your score) will greatly improve resulting in an increase to your score.

Currently by not doing anything with your debt, your debt income ratio is more than likely high, which will slowly decrease your overall score. Eventually your credit score will fall below the impact a debt settlement program will have on it.   Watch our debt settlement video about the impact to your credit score for more information.

 

Can I get sued? 2018-05-12T22:09:14+00:00

Yes, there is always a possibility of a lawsuit.  The longer it takes for you to pay your creditors the greater the chance of being sued.  About 5% of our accounts end up in a lawsuit.  This is a very low percent compared to other agencies, as our goals are to settle accounts before this occurs.  If you are sued we will still help you reach an agreement with that creditor.  With most clients who are sued, we are able to reach an agreement and have the case dismissed.

Watch our video regarding lawsuits and garnishment risks.

Can you stop my creditors from calling me? 2016-07-06T09:21:26+00:00

It is impossible to stop debt collectors from calling.  There is no debt settlement firm that can stop ALL collection calls, but a good firm can help you decrease the calls significantly. The creditors have an obligation to continue to call until receiving a payment.  Typically, when you start to pay back a portion of the debt, the creditor calls will slow down.

When can I expect my first settlement? 2018-05-12T22:09:14+00:00

The settlement firm that you work with should be able to tell you when your first settlement is expected.  It depends on the creditor(s), the amount of money you are able to save for the settlement, and the debt settlement program length.  Some clients can see a settlement within the first month depending on delinquency, but most clients receive their first settlement between 3-6 months of enrollment.

Who is holding my money while I’m waiting on a settlement? 2018-05-12T22:09:14+00:00

You are holding on to your funds.  Unlike other agencies that hold onto your monthly payments, PCS Debt Relief allows you to manage your funds.  We want you to be independent with your money.  Each advisor is well educated and experienced and are here to train you on raising your credit scores, teaching you about debt settlement, and providing you alternatives to bankruptcy.  PCS Debt Relief wants to instill a high success rate of debt recovery into each and every one of our clients. We are a financial guide on your road to recovery.

Will you be making monthly payments to my creditors? 2018-05-12T22:09:14+00:00

No, monthly payments are not made to your creditor since a settlement is being negotiated in order to pay off less than the full balance. There will be no monthly fees being charged for services to avoid more stress on your monthly expenses.  Settlement services are to help you gain a clean slate, not drive you further into debt. Many other debt relief companies will force clients into escrow accounts after less than a month of being late.   We do not take ownership of your funds nor require an escrow account to be opened.

What are your fees? 2016-07-06T09:14:28+00:00

We do not charge up-front fees, monthly payments or cancellation fees.

Our fees are based on performance (how much we save you) and billed once an account is settled and finalized.  We do not receive our fees until your debt has been reduced.

The program fee is 15-20% of savings depending on the state you reside in.  For example, if your debt is $30,000 and the debt is negotiated down to $17,000 the savings is $13,000.  The PCS Debt Relief fee would be 15-20% of the $13,000 or $1,950-$2,600.

We promise that our fees are 100% performance based and up to 50% less than other agencies.

How many years of experience does your team have and how much debt have you settled? 2018-05-12T22:09:14+00:00

The company has a combined experience of 30 years with over $50 million in personal and business debt settled for our clients.

How Will Debt Settlement Affect My Taxes? 2018-05-12T22:09:14+00:00

Any debt over $600 that is forgiven will be issued a 1099 by the creditor.  For example, if your debt was $20,000 and you reached a settlement of $12,000, then the forgiven debt is $8000.  However the IRS will often waive this tax liability if you prove that you were insolvent during the time in which your debt settlement occurred. Many of our clients are able to prove insolvency since their debts are more than their assets.

Watch our video about debt settlement and how it effects your taxes.

PCS Debt Relief does not handle taxes. It is important to talk to your tax accountant upon receiving a 1099 to see how it will affect your taxes and for more information.

Where Can I Find A Trusted Debt Settlement Firm? 2018-05-12T22:09:14+00:00

Start by checking with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). The firm should have at least an A rating with no complaints registered. Then check their ratings on 3rd party sites such as the BBB, Yelp, Yellowpages.com, Facebook and Google. Look for at least a 4 star rating and read through comments by others to see what people say about the service received and the savings they achieved.
Once you have a couple of firms to consider, ask them some serious questions such as:

  • Do they offer a free consultation and do they review all your options with you, even those they don’t provide services for
  • Are there any up-front fees you have to pay
  • Are there any monthly fees you have to pay
  • Does the debt settlement firm require you to have an escrow account that you have to deposit money in each month
  • Are there any cancellation fees
  • How quickly do most of their clients complete their debt settlement program
  • What is the range of savings they typically get for their clients
  • Do they have any clients you could talk to

When you ask these questions, pay attention to the tone of voice they use, how helpful they seem, whether they are fully answering your questions and whether they are giving you even more information than you’ve asked for. Based on your initial conversation with them you should have a gut feeling about whether they would be somebody that you feel you could trust.

What Makes Me a Good Candidate for Debt Settlement? 2016-07-06T09:04:44+00:00

If you are struggling with your credit card debt, having a hard time paying off your credit card balances, or even worse, struggling to pay the minimum amount due each month, you may want to consider looking into a credit card debt relief program.
If you are motivated to get out of debt without having to file bankruptcy, you may be a candidate for debt settlement.

Is Debt Settlement a Better Choice Than Bankruptcy? 2016-07-06T09:01:58+00:00

A debt advisor can help you understand all the debt programs and go over your situation to see what makes sense for your financial needs. A debt analyst will only recommend bankruptcy if that is the most feasible option for you. Bankruptcy should never be the first option to your debt relief. For a debtor, bankruptcy means embarrassment and makes it harder to obtain credit in the future. If bankruptcy happens to be the best solution, then we will recommend a trusted bankruptcy lawyer.

Will I still be able to use my credit cards? 2018-05-12T22:09:14+00:00

Depending on which program you are enrolled in and what your financial struggles are, our debt analysts will help you decide which credit cards to keep and which ones you should avoid using. However, since the goal is to get out of debt, we always advise our clients to try to avoid using credit cards if possible during the debt program.

Can Debt Settlement Really Allow Me to Pay Back Less Than I Owe? 2016-07-06T08:57:36+00:00

Yes, our negotiators are very experienced in negotiating settlement agreements and can typically negotiate to lower the debt by 30-70%.

What Is Debt Settlement? 2016-07-06T08:54:45+00:00

Debt settlement, also known as debt arbitration, debt negotiation or credit settlement, is an approach to debt reduction.
Debt settlement is negotiating with the creditor to only pay a portion of the owed debt. For example, if you owe $20,000 the negotiation process might get the creditor to accept $10,000 and forgive the remainder of the balance. That results in a 50% reduction of the debt you owe.
Most lenders are willing to negotiate, to ensure they will receive a partial amount of the debt, rather than lose it when the debtor files bankruptcy.
For the debtor, debt settlement is a less expensive alternative to bankruptcy and allows the debtor quicker access to loans and other sources of funds than bankruptcy does after the debt has been cleared.

What is your fee policy? 2016-07-06T08:52:57+00:00

We start by offering a complimentary, no cost, debt consultation. If you choose one of our debt programs you will see debt relief before you pay us any service fees, there are no up-front fees, no monthly fees and no cancellation fees. Some of our debt management programs are performance based, meaning our fee is based on what we are able to save you not on your total debt amount.

How do I know I am a good candidate for PCS Debt Relief? 2016-07-06T08:45:05+00:00

PCS Debt Relief is here to advise any individual struggling with either secured or unsecured debt. By speaking to our debt analyst we will be able to determine your needs and go over your options.
If the best option(s) for you is something we don’t provide as a service, the debt analyst will give you contact information for companies that do provide the service. Even better, they will tell you what questions to ask when you call. This saves you time and reduces the stress of finding the right debt program.

What makes PCS Debt Relief different from other debt relief agencies? 2018-05-12T22:09:14+00:00

Most importantly, PCS Debt Relief is a company you can trust. With over 30 years of combined experience, a Better Business Bureau A+ rating, and a zero complaint history, you can feel confident and secure working with us. Our services come with a satisfaction guarantee, something very few of our competitors offer.

PCS Debt Relief doesn’t provide a standard solution for every client, we believe every client’s debt situation is unique. Our debt analysts are knowledgeable about the variety of debt programs available and provide honest and unbiased advice. The advice they give you is based on a free consultation where they look at your current debt and financial situation. Based on their analysis they will identify the right debt solution for you or give you options you could choose from.

If you work with us you will be involved in every step of your debt relief program so you know exactly what is being done and how those steps are improving your debt situation. By working with our clients, not just for our clients, we find that our clients emerge from their debt relief program with a lot more knowledge about debt and an understanding of how to avoid getting into a high debt situation again.

A Debt Relief Company You Can Trust!

With over 30 years of combined experience, a Better Business Bureau A+ rating, and a zero complaint history, you can feel confident that PCS Debt Relief will be a debt relief company you can trust. We are headquartered in St. Louis, MIssouri and offer our debt relief services nationwide.