Sense & Centsibility Blog

The Differences Between the DMP and Debt Settlement

The time of year doesn't matter..."debt relief" ads are seemingly everywhere you turn. That's why it's important to know all the facts before making a major decision on how you choose to repay your debt.

Many people have never heard of a debt management plan (DMP), but a lot have heard of debt settlement companies. That's because their ads are everywhere...they're all over the radio and TV promising extremely low payments, that you'll get rid of your debt, and that you'll get a huge reduction in overall debt to pay off. What they DON'T tell you is the havoc that going through a debt settlement company will wreak on your credit report, not to mention the huge fees you typically have to pay. So what ARE the differences between debt settlement companies and a DMP? The table below clears it up:


How debt management plans work


Debt settlement companies

Confused personIf you enter into an agreement with a debt settlement company, they will hold onto payments until there is enough of a balance to propose a settlement to a creditor. In the meantime, your credit is getting torched because monthly payments are not being made. 

It appears to the credit reporting bureaus that you're not making any payments because truly your creditors are not receiving any sort of payment. Each missed payment lowers your score. And when a creditor doesn't receive payments for several consecutive months, that puts you in danger of getting a judgment on your credit report, which can lead to wage or bank account garnishments. Scary, right? Finally, a debt that is settled will show up on your credit report as settled - but not paid in full - for seven years.

Debt management plan

LSS Financial Counseling is a member of the above-mentioned National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) and we help people set up DMPs every day.  LSS works with creditors to set up the DMP with a prearranged and typically reduced interest rate. If you set up a DMP, you would make payments to LSS and we send out the money to the creditors/lenders. In a nutshell, the Debt Management Plan actually helps improve your credit score with each monthly, on-time payment...versus debt settlement companies where monthly payments are NOT sent out. And just so you know, paying a debt in full is ALWAYS better for your credit than settling.

So the next time you hear or see one of those ads promising huge debt reduction, keep in mind the risks and consequences involved and instead, turn to a non-profit agency like LSS.

The MN Attorney General lists LSS as a trusted resource for dealing with debt. Check out the page about 'Money and Credit' for more info...the website also has a ton more information about scams and how to protect yourself.

If you want to see if a DMP is right for you, call us today at 888.577.2227 or check out our website. Financial counseling sessions are all free and confidential. Make a plan today to get rid of your debt for good!