For those consumers who can no longer to afford minimum credit card payments, Ethan Ewing, president of Bills.com offers tips to help consumers understand their odebt relief ptions for help, including: “Now that credit card reform legislation has passed, it’s a great time for consumers to take control of their debt,” said Ewing . “To do so, consumers need to understand the available debt relief options.”

Debt settlement. A debt settlement company works on consumers’ behalf to lower principal balances due, often obtaining savings of 50 percent of the total debt. The firm does not make monthly payments to creditors, but rather negotiates with the consumer’s creditors while the consumer accumulates funds for the settlement. Debt settlement firms charge consumers a fee for their services, typically a percentage of the debt enrolled or a percentage of the debt reduced.

Consumers who persist with a debt settlement plan can resolve their debts in two to three years at significantly lower cost than that of a debt management plan. Debt settlement typically provides better repayment terms than a Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing and does not leave a permanent bankruptcy judgment on one’s record.

Debt settlement may have a negative impact on credit ratings and profiles and is best suited for consumers in serious financial hardship who cannot afford to make minimum payments on bills and who cannot afford the higher monthly obligation typical debt management programs require.

Debt management. Debt management companies, also known as credit counseling agencies, maintain pre-arranged agreements with credit card companies to lower interest rates on a consumer’s existing debt to a creditor-issued “concession rate.” Debt management companies collect a monthly fee from consumers, as well as revenue from the credit card companies called “Fair Share” payments.

In debt management plans, monthly payments decrease, but principal amounts owed do not. Consumers who are able to continue with the payment plans typically can pay off debt in approximately five years. Debt management plans also require higher monthly payments than debt settlement programs, and are best suited for individuals who are facing a less-severe financial hardship than a typical debt settlement customer.

Bankruptcy. Bankruptcy Attorneys concur that BK’s can leave a severe negative impact on a filer’s credit rating for many years. Credit repair is not as easy as some debt counselors may lead you to believe. Under bankruptcy reform enacted in 2005, it is harder and more expensive to obtain than it used to be. Under the new law, fewer people can eliminate most consumer debt by filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy, taking more people to Chapter 13 filings. Chapter 13 requires consumers to pay back debt on a repayment plan (which can take up to five years), while still suffering the negative repercussions of a bankruptcy on their credit reports and public records. Generally considered a last resort, consumers considering a bankruptcy filing should speak to a bankruptcy attorney licensed in their state.

Read the complete press release online at http://www.emediawire.com/releases/debt/credit/prweb2493574.htm