PROS / DebtWave's debt-to-income ratio calculator offers an analysis of your financial situation and makes recommendations.
CONS / DebtWave does not offer bankruptcy counseling as part of its services.
VERDICT / This consumer credit counseling agency rates well on the tools it provides but is lacking in other areas, such as the availability of educational resources and counseling.
DebtWave is a San Diego-based 501c3 nonprofit provider of consumer credit counseling and debt management programs. In addition to these services, DebtWave also offers financial literacy courses in the San Diego area.
We evaluate every credit counseling agency on the quality of the tools and calculators on its website. We consider these tools an important first step in evaluating your finances and determining the best course of action. The best tools are easy to use, provide clear context and recommend next steps. DebtWave has some of the best tools and calculators in our review. One tool that stood out in particular to us was the credit card debt quiz, which is particularly good about putting your unique debt situation into a larger context.
Another factor we consider important is the quality of education resources offered on the counseling agency's website. DebtWave is lacking in this regard; the only resource it offers is a blog. The blog includes useful articles and tips on how to stop living paycheck to paycheck and the difference between debt settlement and debt management. The blog is infrequently updated.
The first consultation with your credit counselor is one of the most important part of this process. This consultation is free, and the counselor will go through your income and expenses and recommend multiple options on how to manage your finances and better deal with your debt. Some of the options DebtWave suggested to our reviewers include budgeting, debt settlement and a debt management plan provided by the counseling service itself.
Under a debt management program, you will need to close your accounts and combine all payments into one that you make to the counseling agency. Typically, your agency will get concessions from your creditors, such as lowered interest rates. This allows you to pay down your debts faster since more of your payments are applied to the principal.
There are a few fees associated with a debt management plan. You need to pay a setup fee and a monthly maintenance fee. These fees vary by state, and DebtWave caps its fees at $49. Waivers are available if you earn up to 150 percent of the poverty line.
Consumer credit counseling services from DebtWave are available in every state but Colorado and Maryland. You can receive in-person counseling if you live in San Diego. Counselors are available by phone Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST.
DebtWave offers consumer credit counseling and debt management plans in every state but Colorado and Maryland. It has quality tools to help you evaluate your financial situation, but it does not have much in the way of educational resources.