As inflation remains elevated and consumer prices surged 8.3 percent last month in Virginia, credit card debt relief programs are aiding thousands of Virginians who cannot afford to pay their monthly payments. Joe Biden’s student loan relief legislation was also passed, offering $10,000 to $20,000 in federal student loan debt forgiveness for every student. The best Virginia debt relief, consolidation, and settlement programs will be explained on the following page, with pros and cons included.
Virginia Debt Relief – Table of Contents:
Golden Financial Services has provided free financial education about Virginia debt settlement and consolidation options since 2004, but we don’t provide services. We align ourselves with the best-accredited debt relief companies and services. Virginia residents can take advantage of our research by calling in and connecting with one of these trustworthy and reputable debt consolidation companies. Virginia debt relief information can be obtained by simply calling toll-free at 866-376-9846. Find out if you’re eligible for assistance!
Virginia Debt Management Programs (DMP)
Virginia debt relief and debt management programs can help you consolidate and lower monthly payments and get out of debt faster.
But choosing the right option can be difficult for many consumers due to a lack of education about debt consolidation. Virginia residents can consolidate bills through debt settlement, credit card consolidation loans, and consumer credit counseling (CCC), just to name a few options. Students can access free debt consolidation options and income-based repayment plans for federal student loan relief at StudentAid.gov.
What is the best program to get out of debt in Virginia?
Areas in Virginia that were hit especially hard by Covid-19, where consumers experienced reduced incomes and financial hardship, such as Ashburn, Boydton, Virginia Beach, and Chesapeake, all saw a huge spike in the number of consumers needing debt relief.
Virginia debt settlement programs were especially popular as of 2022, providing consumers with a solution to high debt and making it possible for people to avoid having to file for bankruptcy debt relief. Virginia consumer credit counseling and debt consolidation companies also saw an uptick in business, offering programs to pay off credit card bills by reducing interest rates and consolidating multiple monthly payments.
Summary of the Best Virginia Debt Relief, Settlement, and Consolidation Programs
Many folks are confused about how each program works. For example, what’s the difference between consumer credit counseling, debt validation, credit card settlement, and debt consolidation with a loan or balance transfer card? It can all be confusing.
- Virginia debt consolidation loans can consolidate high-interest credit cards, unsecured loans, and secured debt. As the name says, this option includes a loan. You can use the loan to pay off all high-interest accounts, replacing high-interest debt with a new low-interest loan. However, applicants must have a high credit score to qualify for low-interest balance transfer cards and consolidation loans in Virginia. And if you don’t have a high credit score and feasible income alongside maxed-out credit cards, consider this next option.
- Virginia debt settlement (credit card forgiveness, negotiation, reduction) programs can cut balances and monthly payments, allowing you to pay less than the total amount owed. And since you’ll be paying less than the total debt owed, you can also get a lower monthly payment compared to when paying minimum payments on your own. Virginia credit card settlement programs offer you one low monthly payment for all of your unsecured qualified accounts. Qualified accounts include credit cards, unsecured loans, collection accounts, medical bills, and repossessions.
- Non-profit consumer credit counselors in Virginia can help by providing free financial education and consumer credit counseling programs to reduce interest rates on credit cards and consolidate monthly payments. You simply make one payment every month to the consumer credit counseling company. The company then disburses the funds to each credit card company but at a reduced interest rate. Credit card balances get paid in full within five years with CCC.
Best Virginia Debt Relief, Settlement and Consolidation Company
You need to understand the benefits and downsides of each Virginia debt relief program before you can make a smart choice on which route to take.
Depending on your goals and current financial situation – all play a part in determining what option is best for your situation.
When is Virginia debt consolidation best?
If you’ve never been late on a monthly payment, have a high credit score, and can comfortably afford to pay above minimum payments on all of your accounts, you may only need to restructure how you pay towards each debt or consider a consolidation loan. Local Virginia credit unions and online lenders make shopping around for a low-interest loan easy.
However, you may not need a loan. Instead, you could get out of debt faster using the debt snowball or avalanche method. Both of these options will help you get out of debt faster, save money and improve credit scores.
When is Virginia debt settlement best?
Consider debt negotiation if you’re experiencing financial hardship and can only afford to pay minimum payments on maxed-out credit cards. Virginia debt settlement programs can provide you with a single monthly payment that’s even less than when paying the minimum credit card payments on your own. You can become debt-free in around four years.
You could see your credit score decrease over the program’s first year. However, paying only minimum monthly payments on maxed-out credit card bills can negatively affect your credit and keep you in debt for a lifetime.
Always weigh the pros and cons of each option and use a calculated approach to figuring out what route is best.
When do negotiators get the best settlements?
After accounts are delinquent to the point that they get written off and sold to third-party collection agencies is when negotiators can get the best settlement offers.
Licensed and Accredited Debt Settlement Companies in Virginia
Virginia debt settlement companies must operate compliantly with federal and state laws. Let us connect you with a debt settlement program in Virginia that works compliantly with these laws.
For example, Virginia debt settlement programs can only charge you a fee after settling your debt (i.e., reduce the balance). Until your debt is reduced, settled, and paid, your monthly payments go into an FDIC-ensured trust account that you control. Your monthly payments accumulate in this special account until sufficient funds are available to make a one-time, reduced payoff towards one of your debts.
A Virginia debt negotiator will contact you when an attractive settlement offer has been made. You will then have the right to either accept or reject the offer. If you accept the settlement offer, the funds will be paid directly from your program account and to your creditor. Your balance will then be satisfied, and a zero dollar balance reported. Each debt gets reduced and settled, and the process continues until you’re debt-free.
Does Virginia Debt Relief Hurt Your Credit Score?
Anything other than paying your bills in full and on time every month can hurt your credit score. But again, programs vary and will affect credit scores differently. In some cases, Virginia residents notice that credit scores improve after getting a consolidation loan and consolidating all their credit card bills. On the other side of the equation, applicants may see a decline in credit scores after joining debt settlement.
Why does debt settlement hurt credit scores?
Virginia residents may notice a reduction in credit scores after joining a settlement program because creditors don’t get paid monthly. Still, credit scores may improve over time as each account is settled and paid. You didn’t get in debt overnight; similarly, you won’t get out of debt overnight, but the settlement process is the fastest route to take you to debt freedom.
Is your credit score guaranteed to go down with Virginia debt relief?
There is no guarantee on how your credit score will be affected by any plan because many factors are involved. For example, how’s your payment history on other accounts left out of the program?
How to improve credit score with Virginia debt settlement?
While enrolled in debt settlement, Virginia credit unions can offer you a secured credit card. You’re securing the card with cash guaranteeing you approval for this credit card.
Use your secured credit card every month to get gas and pay the balance in full at the end of the month when the bill arrives. As your debts are settled and paid one by one, credit scores may improve because you’re establishing positive credit simultaneously with being on the debt settlement program. This is just one example of how you can work towards improving credit scores while enrolled in debt relief.
How Consumer Credit Counseling in Virginia Effects Credit Scores
Although clients remain current on monthly payments and can even have late payments re-aged to show “current,” – a third-party consumer credit counseling (CCC) notation will get reported on your credit report. This CCC third-party notation can be a negative signal to future creditors, illustrating that you couldn’t afford to pay your bills on your own and needed help paying off your credit cards.
Similarly, if you file for bankruptcy, it is reported on credit reports that you filed for bankruptcy. That notation can drastically lower credit scores and hurt your ability to obtain credit for 7-10 years. CCC won’t have the negative impact bankruptcy would have on your credit report. However, having CCC on your credit report could negatively influence future lenders from approving you for credit.
Conversely, if you’re late on credit card payments, CCC can re-age payments to show current, improving credit scores.
But for some folks with the highest credit score before enrolling in the program, CCC can lower credit scores because credit cards will get closed out, affecting a person’s credit utilization ratio and resulting in lower credit scores. Remember, the credit utilization ratio (i.e., how much available credit you have) is an important factor contributing to your credit score. The more available credit, the better.
As you can see, Virginia debt relief programs affect a person’s credit score differently, depending on their financial situation, payment history, and other factors.
How to get help with debt in Virginia
For a better analysis of how Virginia credit card relief programs will affect your credit, call today at 866-376-9846. Get connected to an IAPDA-accredited Virginia debt relief specialist. Get your free consultation now!
Golden Financial Services has provided Virginia financial and debt education since 2004, helping consumers find the best debt relief program. Virginia residents can use our free helpline to connect to a licensed and accredited company.
We can connect you with an experienced counselor to get a free credit report and help determine if Virginia debt consolidation, consumer credit counseling, or credit card settlement is right for you.
Detailed Explanation of Debt Settlement – Virginia
After being approved for the program, you begin making your consolidated monthly payment. The funds go into a special savings account that’s in your name, so you have control over this account, but the negotiators can monitor it, allowing them to see how much funds have accumulated, and armed with that information allows the negotiators to decide what account to work on first.
The accounts you enroll in the plan do not get paid every month. Instead, accounts go delinquent and age. Eventually, accounts get written off and sold to third-party collection agencies. At this point, creditors are usually ready to settle and may even start sending you offers in the mail. However, these offers may get ignored or be used down the road as leverage when negotiating.
Any settlement offers you receive need to get forwarded to your negotiator to go into the negotiator’s toolbox. When your negotiator gets an attractive settlement offer, you’ll be notified and must approve the deal before the funds can get paid to your creditor.
After you approve the settlement, at that point, the funds will get released and paid directly to your creditor from your program account. One by one, each account will get negotiated, settled, and paid off, and the process continues until you are completely debt-free.
If you receive a credit card summons when on a Virginia debt settlement program
Send the paperwork to your negotiator immediately if you receive a credit card summons while on the program. A summons will get prioritized, and the negotiators will work to resolve it right away. Do not panic if you receive a summons; this can happen, and experienced debt negotiators can resolve a summons on your behalf, similar to how any other debt is negotiated, reduced and settled.
Virginia debt settlement services may be your best option if you answer “yes” to one of the following:
- Are you only able to afford to make minimum payments?
- Have you fallen behind on monthly payments?
Debt Consolidation – Virginia
Virginia Debt consolidation options are ideal for the person with a high credit score and who has no problem paying their monthly payments. Debt consolidation is using a low-interest loan to pay your other debts in full.
Don’t use debt consolidation if the lender offers you a loan at a higher interest rate than the average of what you’re currently paying. That’s just common sense. Also, don’t use a balance transfer card to transfer your high-interest credit card balances if you can’t afford to pay the balance in total during the 0% introduction rate period. Instead, always use a debt calculator tool to check the math.
How using a consolidation loan in Virginia affects credit scores
Consolidation loans can help a person reduce interest rates on secured and unsecured debt, consolidating all bills into one monthly payment that is easier to manage. Simultaneously, by consolidating debt with a loan, your older credit cards and other accounts can be paid in full, resulting in an increased credit score.
Remember, the longer you’ve held any credit account, the more influence payment history on that account can have on credit scores because credit score (FICO) algorithms consider the length of credit history.
Downsides to Virginia Debt Relief and How to Protect Yourself From Scams:
- Downsides to Debt Settlement: Virginia credit card settlement plans can lower credit scores because creditors don’t get paid monthly. Not paying your creditors on time every month can lead to a credit card summons, late fees, and adverse effects on credit scores. Therefore, always ask a settlement company how they handle a credit card summons. Will you be referred to a Virginia debt settlement attorney if sued over a credit card debt?
- Beware of the following: Avoid paying fees and not getting results. Ensure that any Virginia debt relief company only charges a fee after the debt is settled or results are achieved. Check a company’s BBB rating and reviews and avoid Virginia debt relief companies with many complaints. Non-profit Virginia consumer credit counseling companies cannot charge more than $50 per month.
- Avoid Virginia debt consolidation companies that charge hidden fees and high-interest rates above 25%. For example, some loan companies may charge you astronomically high fees without you even noticing because they charge the fees directly from the loan before it hits your bank account. Check your loan agreement for any and all fees associated, ask questions, and shop around.
- Reviews: Check any debt relief attorney at the Virginia Attorney Bar to see if they have complaints. Check Better Business Bureau and Google. Virginia debt relief company reviews online will tell the true story about any company you’re considering doing business with.
- Understand that creditors don’t get paid with debt validation plans. All of the money paid goes to company fees. Also, understand debt validation won’t make your debt disappear or go away; it only results in your debt becoming legally uncollectible (best case scenario). We don’t recommend a consumer use debt validation unless they genuinely believe the debt is attached to fraud or not theirs.
The Best Virginia Debt Relief, Settlement & Consolidation Companies all have:
- A+ BBB Rating
- A debt management license in every state they do business
- Non-profit consumer credit counseling companies will be listed on the Department of Justice’s website
- 10+ years in business
- Top-Rated on Trusted Company Reviews, Google, and BBB
- IAPDA certification or non-profit status for credit counselors
- A small number of negative online reviews compared to the number of positive reviews (i.e., an average rating of 4.0 or higher, out of 5.0 possible stars)
Virginia Financial and Debt Statistics
- In Virginia, “the average gas price is $3.466, down from $3.556 a week ago and $3.772 a month ago. It’s still above the $2.978 average drivers were paying at the pump a year ago. Gas prices remain higher in Northern Virginia — $3.663 down from $3.741 a week ago and $3.948 a month ago.”
- In the fiscal year of 2021, Virginia’s state debt stood at about 30.03 billion U.S. dollars. By the fiscal year of 2027, this is forecasted to increase to about 37.82 billion U.S. dollars.
- 55 percent of Virginia college graduates had student loans. The average debt load of a Virginia college graduate in 2019-20 was $29,616.For every 100,000 Virginians, there were 355 consumer fraud cases, such as identity theft and financial crimes.
- Virginia state laws do practically nothing to protect consumers in ways that go beyond federal protections, making Virginians susceptible to getting taken advantage of by loan and debt collection companies and banks.
- Virginia is #3 on the list of the states with the highest average household credit card debt, with an average credit card debt of $9,176, according to WalletHub.
- Virginians have the eighth-highest median income in the country. However, “Consumer prices surged 8.3 percent last month compared with August 2021, down from the 8.5 percent year-over-year increase in July. Inflation remains painfully high as food and energy prices remain volatile, but it’s down from the four-decade high of 9.1 percent in June.”
Bankruptcy for a Fresh Start in Virginia
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the type of bankruptcy that refers to a fresh start because all of your debt gets wiped away (liquidated). You would then only need to pay a bankruptcy attorney, court, and filing fees. Unfortunately, most consumers get pushed into chapter 13 bankruptcy, where they have to pay back at least half of their debt.
So if your goal is to use bankruptcy to wipe away your balances and everything you owe, check with your attorney to find out if you’re even eligible for chapter 7.
Another benefit of bankruptcy is that after you file for bankruptcy, an automatic stay goes out to your creditors, forcing them to immediately stop all collection and harassment.
However, bankruptcy attorneys often won’t discuss how bankruptcy can paralyze your credit for the next 7-10 years. If you need to get a job, buy or rent a home, or use your credit in any way whatsoever, bankruptcy will show up to whoever you’re applying with. Most lenders do not overlook bankruptcy. And there’s often an extra price added on any credit purchases you make for the next 7-10 years with a bankruptcy on your credit.
Virginia bankruptcy law requires your income to be near the poverty level to qualify for chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Virginia Delinquent Property Tax Exemption & Relief for Disabled, Senior Citizens, and People in a Financial Hardship
There are ways to reduce your property taxes and defer paying them if you are experiencing financial hardship and for disabled and seniors living in Virginia. The easiest way to check eligibility for delinquent property tax debt relief is to call your county assessor or treasurer’s office.
Delinquent property tax relief is one of these confusing subjects for Virginia residents. Even some debt attornies have a difficult time understanding the property tax law, so it’s certainly not an easy subject to understand. The good news is, unlike credit card debt, there is government or state debt relief assistance for property taxes in most counties and states. Another reason why property tax relief is such a complex subject is that each county has its own set of laws and rules; not only do state laws regulate property taxes and senior debt relief options in VA.
The key is to pick up the phone and call your county tax assessor, who collects property taxes. Let them know that you are experiencing financial hardship or that you are disabled or a senior citizen and need to be directed on how to get either a reduction in your property taxes or to defer paying them. The county will instruct you from there!
- If your annual gross income (AGI) is below $35,000, you would be considered to have limited income and could qualify for delinquent property tax exemption.
- If your household income is between $0 and $30,000, you are exempt from regular property taxes on the first $60,000 or 60% of your home’s assessed value, whichever is more.
- If your household income is between $30,001 and $35,000, you are exempt from regular property taxes on the greater of $50,000 or 35% of the assessed value, up to $70,000 of your home’s assessed value.
- If your household income is between $35,001 and $40,000, you are exempt from all “excess” property taxes. “Excess” property taxes (special levies) require voter approval. They provide funds for a specific purpose, such as school bonds or maintenance and operation levies.
Virginia Federal Student Loan Relief and Consolidation
National debt relief for federal student loans is available. Virginia residents can consolidate their student loans on their own at StudentAid.gov.
You can choose an income-based repayment plan based on your income and family size. Your monthly payment can be as low as zero dollars per month, and you can be eligible for complete loan forgiveness within ten years.
How to consolidate federal student loans in Virginia
The website (StudentAid.gov) is user-friendly and will walk you through each step of the debt consolidation process (with ease). You can select either “consolidate my loans” or “enter income-based repayment plan” in the website’s menu section.
Virginia Student Loan Forgiveness Steps:
- Consolidate your loans.
- Get on an income-based repayment plan.
- Recertify every year. And stay up to date with the news because student loan relief regulations are constantly changing.
- Apply for loan forgiveness after ten years of making payments on an income-based repayment plan.
Biden Administration Student Loan Debt Relief for 2022
- “On Aug. 24, 2022, the Biden-Harris Administration announced a Student Debt Relief Plan that includes one-time student loan debt relief targeted to low- and middle-income families. The U.S. Department of Education (ED) will provide up to $20,000 in debt relief to Federal Pell Grant recipients and up to $10,000 in debt relief to non-Pell Grant recipients. Borrowers with loans held by ED are eligible for this relief if their individual income is less than $125,000 (or $250,000 for households).”
- Complete student loan forgiveness can be achieved within ten years for all students, not just for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, reduced from twenty years. To learn more about student loan forgiveness, visit https://studentaid.gov/debt-relief-announcement/.
Virginia Debt Relief Program Disclosure:The information on this website is being provided purely for educational purposes. Virginia debt relief results vary on a case-to-case basis, not all applicants qualify, and there are pros and cons with all programs. Golden Financial Services does not offer non-profit consumer credit counseling, credit repair, or debt validation. Virginia residents can call the number on this website to be connected with an IAPDA-certified debt settlement company or a BBB accredited debt consolidation agency. Credit card settlements can result in tax consequences. However, a licensed accountant may be able to help you file certain IRS tax forms to illustrate insolvency. Credit card negotiation services in Virginia include fees. Clients can pay around 70%-75% of the total debt enrolled in a Virginia debt settlement program with fees included. There is no guarantee all clients will make it through a Virginia debt relief program successfully, due to various reasons including the ability for clients to be able to afford paying all scheduled payments.