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National Debt Relief debt settlement review

National Debt Relief offers the best debt settlement solution if you're certain it's the path you should take.

National Debt Relief debt settlement review
(Image: © National Debt Relief)

Our Verdict

National Debt Relief offers an exceptional debt settlement solution, with service that customers find hard to fault and debt negotiation provided in-house.

For

  • Good average reduction rates
  • Short program options
  • Outstanding customer service reviews

Against

  • Likely to have a significant impact on credit
  • No single point of contact

National Debt Relief has been offering assistance to struggling borrowers since 2008, and cemented its status among the best debt settlement companies in the year's since. Offering its services nationwide, National Debt Relief has an A+ rating at the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and can point to thousands of hugely favorable testimonials from satisfied customers as to how effective its program can be. 

National Debt Relief staff are AFCC accredited which means they have the training required to establish the best debt resolution option for customers' needs. This is important, as any debt settlement program presents risks and should be seen as an option of almost last resort. If settlement isn't right for you, and consolidating your debt is a better option, National Debt Relief heads up our list of the best debt consolidation companies too. 

National Debt Relief review: Application process

  • Must talk to counselor
  • All options explained

Working out if your situation warrants debt settlement is a must, so National Debt Relief will want to speak to you over the phone to get all the information that they need. You can ring them direct using the toll-free number on the site, or complete a short form online and wait for them to call to you. Be prepared to discuss your current financial situation, including your income and outgoings, and ideally you should have all the details about your debt, including the companies involved and what you owe, to hand. 

Your discussions with an AFCC accredited counselor will see the risks of debt settlement explained and give you the opportunity to ask any questions that you might have. If debt settlement isn't right for you, this should be made clear too. Listen to their advice and, importantly, make your mind up in your own time.  

National Debt Relief review: Essential details

  • Settlement plans typically 24 to 48 months 
  • Fees in line with market average 
Key figures

Debt size: $7,500 - $100,000
Program length: 24 - 48 months
Settlement fee: 15 - 25%
Average debt reduction: 30% after fees

National Debt Relief will help those who have at least $7,500 of unsecured debt to their name, through to a maximum debt of $100,000, a range that is in line with the vast majority of other debt relief services in the US. The company is willing to assist with a variety of debts, from credit cards and personal loans to medical bills, business debts and private student loan debts, but cannot help with mortgages, student loans, or auto loans. 

The program length tends to last anywhere between 24 to 48 months, depending on your situation, and how quickly you're eventually able to pay back what you owe. There are no upfront charges, but the settlement fee will vary between 15% to 25% of the debt you enrol, depending on the state where you live and how much the company manages to clear for you overall. The charges are not out of step with what you'd pay for a similar service elsewhere, but given this could easily amount to several thousands of dollars, it's always worth checking for lower fees at other companies - Freedom Debt Relief is our recommendation for keeping costs low. 

National Debt Relief review: How it works

  • Build up a settlement fund
  • Negotiations begin within 90 to 180 days

If you sign up to the settlement program, National Debt Relief will direct you to stop making the payments you'd usually make to your creditors and to start accumulating funds in a settlement account instead. What you put aside will be worked out with the help of a counselor, taking into account your debt, income, and expenditure each month. 

The funds that you build up will then eventually be used to pay off what you owe. Assuming National Debt Relief are successful in their negotiations with your creditors, which will commence around 90 to 180 days after you've stopped paying them, this should be lower than the debt you had before. The company will also give guidance on how to handle chasing calls and demanding mail from your creditors when they chase for the payments you're no longer making. 

The major risk with the strategy is the harm that inevitably comes to your credit score when you halt payments to your creditors - indeed, once the program is finished, there's a chance you may not be able to borrow again for some time. It is for this reason that debt settlement should only ever be considered once all other options for better managing your debt have been exhausted. 

National Debt Relief review: Features

  • Online portal to track progress
  • Informative educational content 

An online portal provides the means by which customers can log in and monitor their account. The account is easy to access via mobile app or the website and comes with bitesize financial education content that is aimed at getting you into better money management habits once the settlement is paid off.

If you're simply browsing the site, and haven't signed up, you'll still be able to find everything you need to know about the overall debt settlement process and what you can expect. National Debt Relief is open and upfront about the risks involved too, standing up well in comparison to the service we adjudge to be the most transparent overall, from New Era Debt Solutions

That said, all of the information that will be specific to you, and to your particular circumstances, will only be gleaned once you've spoken to National Debt Relief counselor. 

National Debt Relief review

(Image credit: National Debt Relief)

National Debt Relief review: Service

  • Average 30% debt reduction after fees
  • Outstanding customer reviews

According to National Debt Relief, the average customer sees around a 50% reduction in their debt, or net savings of 30% after fees, which is on a par with Pacific Debt Inc who we recognize as securing some of the best reductions in the sector. That said, the figure is not guaranteed and will understandably vary depending on your circumstances and the companies your credit is with. 

Where National Debt Relief does tend to stand out on its own is in the excellence of the customer reviews it consistently receives. An A+ accreditation at the Better Business Bureau is accompanied by an average score of 4.2 out of 5 from almost 1,000 customer reviews, and regular endorsements of its professionalism and guidance. At Consumer Affairs also, the service receives near to the maximum rating across almost 5,500 reviews, with praise such as "extremely helpful and beyond informative" par for the course.  

As you might expect with a service of this nature, there are some reviews that talk about how the company has taken more time than expected to clear the debt or who feel aggrieved at the high fees. Some negative comments also come from users now regretting taking the debt settlement route to clear their debts, rather than specifically having an issue with National Debt Relief, so this is something to think about. 

Should you use National Debt Relief debt settlement?

National Debt Relief is among the very best debt settlement companies that you can find, so long as you're comfortable with the risks involved with any service of this kind. The team of highly trained staff will help you find a workable solution to get your finances back under control, while charges at National Debt Relief fall in line with the industry average. There are no upfront fees to consider, and as with other settlement companies, the amount you will eventually pay is based on the total amount of debt the company manages to settle. 

The major risks to the health of your credit score, and the pressure you might feel from your creditors, are worth reiterating once again. But if you have weighed up all the options and are certain you need to go down the route of debt settlement, National Debt Relief is the service you'd like to have on your side. 


Gina Clarke
Gina Clarke has worked in journalism for over a decade for titles such as The Daily Mail, The Sun and Forbes. She began her career in BBC radio and now specialises in subjects such as financial technology and women’s health.