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Best Debt Relief Companies of September 2023

National Debt Relief is our pick for the best overall debt relief company for September 2023

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If you're struggling with repaying debt—and you've ruled out other options, like deciding to choose a balance transfer credit card to consolidate unsecured debts—working with a debt relief or debt settlement company may be a solution. Debt relief companies help people pay off debt by negotiating with creditors to reduce the amount owed. This can include all types of debt, including student loan debt (not including federal student loans), high interest credit card debt and medical debt. According to the department of education student loan debt is the leading type of consumer debt in the U.S., although credit card debts and medical debts are leading causes of people getting behind in their payments and needing debt relief. Results aren't guaranteed and there are some risks of going this route. Debt relief comes with costs, may damage your credit score, may show up as you paying less than owed for original debt on your credit report, and may not stop collection calls. Despite the risks, debt relief can be the right option in some situations.

The best debt relief companies charge fees that are reasonable and have a strong reputation. They're experienced, have highly rated customer satisfaction scores, are members of industry trade organizations (such as being accredited by the American Fair Credit Council) and have not faced adverse action from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, have no complaints lodged with the Federal Trade Commission, local consumer protection agency offices or state attorney general offices. To create our list of the best debt relief companies, we researched eight leading companies and considered 19 different criteria in four areas: reputation and stability, customer experience, services, and costs and fees. National Debt Relief is our pick for the best overall debt relief company in September 2023.

Best Debt Relief Companies of September 2023

Best Overall : National Debt Relief

Investopedia's Rating

National Debt Relief Logo
  • Debt Management Plans: No
  • Debt Settlement: Yes
  • Fee: 15%–25% of debt enrolled
Why We Chose It

National Debt Relief’s detailed customer reviews and personal finance resources demonstrate the firm’s dedication to helping consumers resolve their debts.

Pros & Cons
  • A+ Better Business Bureau rating

  • Industry-certified counselors

  • Online account access

  • Customer service available 7 days a week

  • Minimum $7,500 in debt required

  • Must be experiencing hardship

  • High number of BBB complaints within 12 months


Since the company launched in 2009, National Debt Relief has helped over 450,000 people settle more than $10 billion in debt. The firm has a 4.7 star rating on Trustpilot and more than 21,000 five-star reviews on its own website, many of which include detailed debt relief results, highlighting the company's track record.

National Debt Relief is a member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and, importantly, the American Fair Credit Council. In addition, the firm's counselors are certified through the Independent Association of Professional Debt Arbitrators.

Detailed information about qualifications, costs, eligible debts, and the debt relief process is easily accessible on National Debt Relief's website. In addition to debt relief services, the firm offers free debt management and budgeting resources, including calculators, on its website.

Read the full National Debt Relief review.

Runner Up, Best Overall : Freedom Debt Relief

Investopedia's Rating

freedom debt relief
  • Debt Management Plans: No
  • Debt Settlement: Yes
  • Fee: 15%-25% of debt enrolled
Why We Chose It

Freedom Debt Relief offers a number of financial resources, has a convenient client dashboard, and refunds overpaid fees.

Pros & Cons
  • A+ Better Business Bureau rating

  • Customer service available 7 days per week

  • Guarantee refund of fees above enrolled debt

  • Must be experiencing hardship

  • Written cancellation required

  • Previous CFPB action


Freedom Debt Relief has offices in Arizona and California and is a founding member of the American Fair Credit Council, the leading national association of debt settlement companies. Since 2002, Freedom Debt Relief has helped over 850,000 clients, settled more than 4 million accounts, and resolved over $15 billion in debt. It has a 4.6 star rating on Trustpilot.

Through Freedom Debt Relief's program dashboard, clients can quickly and easily manage their account—add new debts, approve settlement offers, manage deposits, and more. The dashboard also provides access to educational videos and monthly newsletters.

Freedom Debt Relief has a large team of debt relief experts including debt negotiators, consultants, customer service representatives, and other employees. The business is guided by the Freedom Debt Relief Promise which includes a guaranteed refund if client fees are higher than the program cost.

It's worth noting the company's previous litigation with the CFPB. In 2019, Freedom Debt Relief settled a lawsuit with the CFPB related to debt relief practices agreeing to pay $20 million restitution to affected clients and a $5 million fine.

Read the full Freedom Debt Relief review.

Best for Short Program Length : Accredited Debt Relief

Investopedia's Rating

Accredited Debt Relief

Accredited Debt Relief

  • Debt Management Plans: No
  • Debt Settlement: Yes
  • Fee: 15%-25% of debt enrolled
Why We Chose It

Accredited Debt Relief says its clients pay off their debts in 12 to 48 months—12 months faster than the typical debt relief firm promises. It also offers debt consolidation loans and allows clients to pause payments when needed.

Pros & Cons
  • Also offers debt consolidation loans

  • Hardship payment pause option

  • Customer service available 7 days a week

  • Potential for high consolidation loan fees

  • Minimum debt requirements not disclosed


Accredited Debt Relief has provided debt relief services since 2011. With offices in both California and Houston, it operates as a division of Beyond Finance, LLC, a fintech company focused on financial freedom.?

Strong core values put client empowerment and satisfaction at the center of the business. Clients receive personalized solutions, empathetic support, and educational resources to guide their financial journey.

The firm has a 4.9 star rating with Trustpilot, boasts $2 billion in debt resolved for over 300,000 clients, and is accredited by the American Fair Credit Council.

Read the full Accredited Debt Relief review.

Best for Cost Savings : New Era Debt Solutions

Investopedia's Rating

New Era Debt Solutions

New Era Debt Solutions

  • Debt Management Plans: No
  • Debt Settlement: Yes
  • Fee: 14%-23% of debt enrolled
Why We Chose It

New Era Debt Solutions's quoted fees are 1% to 2% lower than the rest of the industry. With 24 years in business, it is the most experienced debt relief company on our list.

Pros & Cons
  • Low program drop out rate

  • Attorneys on staff

  • Client dashboard to view account

  • Client support unavailable on weekends

  • Minimum debt requirement not disclosed


California-based New Era Debt Solutions was founded in 1999. It offers free consultations six days a week and the option for after-hours appointments. As a small business, New Era Debt Solutions works to foster a close relationship with clients.?

New Era Debt Solutions has earned a 4.9 star rating on Trustpilot and is an accredited member of the International Association of Professional Debt Arbitrators, a professional trade association for the debt relief industry. It's one of the most transparent companies in the debt relief industry, disclosing detailed statistics about its results, including average settlement amount, dropout rate, and client results.

Read the full New Era Debt Solutions review.

Best for Tax Debt Relief : CuraDebt

Investopedia's Rating



  • Debt Management Plans: No
  • Debt Settlement: Yes
  • Fee: Not disclosed
Why We Chose It

CuraDebt provides tax debt services with assistance for both federal and state taxes, where available. The firm also helps clients get rewards if their rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and Telephone Consumer Protection Act have been violated.

Pros & Cons
  • Assistance with back taxes

  • Potential consumer protection violation rewards

  • Program fees not mentioned online

  • Not BBB accredited


CuraDebt operates in Hollywood, Florida, and was established in 2000 with the mission of "helping individuals and small businesses with solutions that help put them in a better place."? Like much of the industry, the company offers a free consultation during which consumers can discuss their finances and get recommendations unique to their circumstances.

The debt relief firm is a member of the American Fair Credit Council, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the International Association of Debt Arbitrators, and has a 4.1 star rating on Trustpilot.

On its website, you can view sample debt settlement letters to get an idea about previous results.

Read the full CuraDebt review.

Best for Budget-Friendliness : Pacific Debt Relief

Investopedia's Rating

Pacific Debt Relief logo

Pacific Debt Relief

  • Debt Management Plans: No
  • Debt Settlement: Yes
  • Fee: 15%–25% of total debt enrolled
Why We Chose It

Pacific Debt Relief doesn't charge upfront fees, offers budget-friendly monthly payments, and is highly rated for its customer service.

Pros & Cons
  • Offers a free consultation

  • Professional trade association membership

  • Highly rated

  • Not available in all states

  • Minimum $10,000 unsecured debt required

Company Overview

Pacific Debt Relief has been in business for over 20 years and has saved customers over $300 million in debt. The firm is a member of the International Association of Professional Debt Arbitrators and the Consumer Debt Relief Initiative.

The firm offers a free consultation to learn whether debt relief is the best option for you. If it is, Pacific Debt Relief will work with your budget to create a plan, and you'll have a personal account manager once you're ready to make an offer to a creditor.?

The company’s website provides some helpful educational resources, customer reviews, and video testimonials. Services are only available in 30 states, so you'll want to check to see whether your state is eligible before scheduling a consultation.

The firm is Better Business Bureau accredited and has a 4.9 rating on TrustPilot.

Read the full Pacific Debt Relief Review.

Final Verdict

All the companies on our list are solid options for debt relief, but National Debt Relief is the overall best, closely followed by Freedom Debt Relief. Both are highly rated, charge industry standard fees for standard services, and provide a number of online resources.?

If you have a high amount of debt and you're worried about program costs, check out New Era Debt Solutions. The company's fee range is lower than the typical debt relief company, which makes a difference when you have a large amount of debt to enroll. Or, for quicker results, consider Accredited Debt Relief, which claims its clients resolve debts in as few as 12 months.

Company Debt Management Plans Debt Settlement Fee
National Debt Relief No Yes 15%–25% of enrolled debt
Freedom Debt Relief No Yes 15%–25% of enrolled debt
New Era Debt Relief No Yes 14%–23% of enrolled debt
Pacific Debt Relief No Yes 15%–25% of enrolled debt
Accredited Debt Relief No Yes 15%–25% of enrolled debt
CuraDebt No Yes Not disclosed

How Debt Settlement Works

Debt relief companies usually work to resolve debts through a process called debt settlement, which involves negotiating with creditors to reduce the amount of debt owed, often by 40% to 60% of the outstanding balance. 

In the debt settlement process, clients are asked to set aside a specific amount of money each month in a dedicated savings account. The goal is to save up enough money to negotiate a lump sum settlement with creditors. To build up savings and gain negotiating power, clients are also advised to pause regular payments and instead direct funds to the savings account.

While the potential savings are attractive, debt settlement comes with risks. Your credit score may be damaged once you stop paying your bills, as late payment behavior and delinquency will show up on your credit report. On top of that, creditors aren't required to agree to a settlement, so there’s no guarantee the negotiations will be successful.

Pros and Cons of Debt Settlement

  • You may get out of debt sooner

  • You may avoid bankruptcy

  • Your credit score may be hurt

  • Your success isn’t guaranteed

  • You may not stick with the plan

  • You may may owe additional taxes

Alternatives to Debt Relief Programs

As you seek debt relief options, consider other programs and strategies that may be better suited for your goals:

  • Non-profit credit counseling: Credit counselors can review your finances, help you create a budget, and design a personalized plan for paying off your debt. Fees for many of these services are modest, or even free.The National Foundation for Credit Counseling ( is a great place to start to learn about options for those who are struggling with consumer debt.
  • Debt management plan: Credit counselors work with your creditors to create a payment schedule with a lower monthly payment using a debt management plan. If approved, you'll make one monthly payment to the credit counseling agency until your debt is paid off. You'll have to stop using any credit cards, but your accounts remain in good standing. These plans usually come with a fee.
  • Debt consolidation: Debt consolidation involves combining multiple debts into one using a personal loan or credit card balance transfer. This can simplify the repayment process for unsecured debts like credit card balances or multiple medical bills and save money in the long-run if your consolidation loan or balance transfer credit card has a lower interest rate than your other debts.

Debt Relief Vs. Bankruptcy

Debt relief is a very different process than chapter 11 or chapter 13 bankruptcy. Declaring bankruptcy involves a debtor who is unable to repay their debts petitioning the court to seek temporary protection from creditors and is intended to result in an equitable settlement of the debtors obligations, typically for less than was originally owed. Debt relief is a process by which the terms of existing debts are renegotiated by a third party for a fee to lower the cost, either in reduced interest or principal, of carrying debt. While debt relief can negatively impact credit, bankruptcy significantly impairs both credit scores and can block access to further credit for up to seven years.

Debt Settlement vs. Debt Consolidation

Debt settlement is often confused with with debt consolidation but the two terms are very different. Debt settlement entails negotiation between the borrower, either directly or through an agent acting on the borrower's behalf, and the lender(s) to get the lender to accept something less than the total amount owed by the borrower. Debt consolidation is a loan made by a new lender to pay off existing consumer debts, thereby consolidating the previous debts into a single, lower interest loan that must be repaid by the borrower.

How to Apply for Debt Relief

To apply for a debt settlement program you simply need to contact a company that offers debt settlement services, provide them with creditor information, including lender names, account numbers, amounts owed and interest rates charged, and sign a contract authorizing the company to negotiate with your creditors and agreeing on the fee charged for the services provided by the company. It is best to thoroughly research your options, both online and by speaking to friends and family, before deciding on a debt settlement company to ensure the one you choose has a solid reputation, isn't under sanction by any regulatory authorities and has good customer experience reviews.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Who Can Help Me Settle My Debt?

    Debt settlement companies, like the ones we profiled above, can offer you help with negotiating with creditors to provide relief from accumulated high-interest debt from things like private student loans, credit cards, buy-now-pay-later agreements, and other forms of personal loan obligations. Alternatives to using debt settlement companies for debt relief can involve 0% APR offers that work with a balance transfer credit card and debt consolidation loans. Using new creditors to pay off your debt may seem risky but the lower interest rates potentially available can help you pay down balances faster.

  • What is a Debt Relief Company?

    Debt relief companies are for-profit organizations that help consumers settle their debts for less than what they owe. These companies gear their services to clients who are so overwhelmed with debt that they are not able to stay current with their payments and cannot figure out a solution on their own.

    While there are plenty of reputable debt relief companies out there, it’s important to note that the debt relief industry is rife with scams. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says it’s wise to be judicious about companies you work with for this reason. You should also strive to avoid working with debt relief companies that try to collect fees before they settle your debts or ones that advertise a new government program for debt relief that could help, which doesn't actually exist.

  • How to Choose a Debt Settlement Company

    Before you hire a debt relief company, make sure you understand the fees, the services offered, and the firm's reputation. Debt settlement generally costs 15% to 25% of the amount of the debt owed. Look for companies that are accredited by the American Fair Credit Council or the International Association of Professional Debt Arbitrators. Any company you consider should be transparent about its pricing and its process. Avoid any firms that seek payment upfront.

  • How Long Does Debt Settlement Take?

    Debt settlement can take a considerable amount of time, up to three to four years to complete, starting from the time you stop making regular payments to your creditors and until you ultimately pay off the discounted amounts negotiated by a debt relief company.

  • What Is Debt Consolidation?

    If you’re wondering about the difference between debt settlement and debt consolidation, here are some details to keep in mind. Where debt settlement involves working with a debt relief company to settle your debts for less than what you owe, debt consolidation requires you to take out a new financial product (typically a personal loan or a balance transfer credit card) to consolidate all your existing debts.

    With debt consolidation, you’ll move all your old debts to the new loan with a lower APR or better terms. While the goal of debt consolidation is saving money, debt consolidation can also help you go from paying multiple debt payments each month down to just one.

  • Does Debt Consolidation Hurt Your Credit?

    One major downside of debt settlement programs is the fact that your credit score can take a hit once you stop making payments. This makes sense since your payment history is the most important factor used to determine your FICO credit score. When you stop making payments on personal loans, that behavior gets reported to credit bureaus, or in the case of small business owners it can get reported to a business bureau.

    Damage to your credit score isn’t all you have to worry about. Stopping payments while you save money for debt settlement also can lead to late fees and penalties that can cause your balances to go up even more. You also may get debt collection calls from creditors or debt collectors during your program, and you even could potentially face a debt collection lawsuit.

  • What Are The Fees For Debt Relief Companies?

    Debt settlement companies typically offer a free consultation to get the process started. From there, they charge performance-based fees that typically work out to a percentage of the debt amount you have enrolled.

    Based on the companies we profiled, common debt relief charges work out to 15% to 25% of the total debts enrolled in a program. This means that, if you sign up for a debt settlement program with $10,000 in credit card debt, you may wind up paying $1,500 to $2,500 to get it resolved. And remember, that’s on top of the amount you pay your creditors to settle your debts.

  • How Long Does Debt Relief Stay on Your Credit Report?

    Debt relief settlements for creditor obligations, since they are less than the amount originally owed to lenders, stay on your credit report for seven years.

  • What Company is Best for Debt Relief?

    National Debt Relief is Investopedia's pick for the best overall debt relief company in the country in September 2023. We evaluated the leading debt companies across 19 different criteria in four areas: reputation and stability, customer experience, services, and costs and fees. National Debt Relief achieved the best overall score compared to other companies we evaluated.

  • How to Pay Off $10,000 of Credit Card Debt?

    For someone with $10,000 in credit card debt a simple option for paying off the debt more quickly is to seek a 0% balance transfer offer from another card issuer. If the new account offers a credit line high enough to transfer the entire $10,000 then the borrower can begin paying down the principal directly rather than paying interest each month. Another option for this level of credit card debt relief is to apply for a personal debt consolidation loan at a lower interest rate and then pay that loan down over time. If neither of those options is available then working with a debt relief company to settle the debt with lenders for an amount less than owed may prove to be the best path to providing sufficient relief leading to the eventual payment of the debt.

  • How Long Does Debt Relief Stay on Your Credit Report?

    Consumer debt that is settled for less than was originally owed can stay on your credit report for up to seven years. The negative impact on credit scores can recover before that time with responsible credit behavior but debt settlement information for amounts payed under terms of less than paid as agreed under the original account agreements will likely remain.


We started the process by creating a debt relief methodology and looking for debt relief companies that have been in business for more than five years. From there, we gave precedence to firms that offer a free, no-obligation consultation with a debt consultant. While debt relief companies don’t advertise or charge flat-rate fees you can commit to ahead of time, we also gave extra points to companies that advertise a range of potential fees on their websites. Finally, we compared companies based on their proven success in helping clients settle debts for less than what they owe.

Rating Category Weight
Reputation and Stability 10.00%
Customer Experience 10.00%
Services 30.00%
Costs and Fees 50.00%
Best Debt Relief Companies

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Article Sources
Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy.
  1. Trustpilot. “National Debt Relief.”

  2. Trustpilot. “Freedom Debt Relief.”

  3. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. “Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Settles Lawsuit Against Freedom Debt Relief.”

  4. Trustpilot. “Accredited Debt Relief.”

  5. Trustpilot. “New Era Debt Solutions.”

  6. Trustpilot. "Curadebt."

  7. Better Business Bureau. "Pacific Debt Inc."

  8. TrustPilot. "Pacific Debt Relief."

  9. Federal Trade Commission. "How to Get Out of Debt."

  10. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. “What Is Credit Counseling?

  11. National Foundation for Credit Counseling. "Debt Settlement."