For those in debt due to job loss, illness or other circumstances, debt consolidation and settlement can accelerate the payment of credit card and medical bills and be an alternative to bankruptcy. Our partners at ConsumerAffairs researched the best debt consolidation in Bakersfield to help you seek debt relief.
Everyone deserves to make thoughtful, informed purchase decisions. The local guides provided on this website are free for consumers. 23 ABC may receive compensation from our partners. Learn more.
The median income in Bakersfield is lower than both the U.S. and California, and the state ranks fourth in the nation for highest credit card debt. The average household in Bakersfield holds $7,899 in credit card debt. Many residents are facing even higher amounts plus medical bills or other debt and are dealing with the constant stress of collection calls and letters from creditors.
There are several ways to start clearing your debt and reducing that stress, including debt consolidation, which refers to a range of services available to consumers. Consumers can learn about options for dealing with debt at usa.gov/debt.
Many companies that offer debt consolidation focus on debt settlement. Also called debt arbitration, debt negotiation or credit negotiation, debt settlement is a specific process. During debt settlement, you make monthly payments into an account set up specifically for debt settlement. The debt consolidation company will then use the funds in this account to settle your debts, sometimes for a lower amount than you owe.
Debt settlement is an option for unsecured loans only. Secured loans, which use require collateral as part of the loan, are not eligible for debt settlement.
Secured debt: mortgages, auto loans, personal loans that use collateral
Unsecured debt: credit cards, medical bills, payday loans
Debt consolidation companies prefer a minimum amount of unsecured debt, usually around $10,000, to provide settlement services. Expect the debt settlement process to take two to four years. While the debt settlement may lower your credit score initially, it does less harm than bankruptcy.
If your debt is less than what debt consolidation companies will work with, consider other options. You might qualify for a credit card that offers a zero percent introductory balance transfer or a personal debt consolidation loan from a bank. Debt consolidation loans will pay off your owed debts and allow you to make payments into one loan. Unlike debt settlement, these loans will not lower the amount of your debt.
You can also seek debt counseling services. The Federal Trade Commission offers guidance on how to choose a credit counselor, and California-based nonprofit BALANCE provides debt counseling in Bakersfield.
National Debt Relief provides services online and by phone in Bakersfield. They offer free, no-obligation quotes and have extended business hours. The company is accredited by the Better Business Bureau with an A+ rating. Reviewers say that representatives were patient and willing to answer questions about the process.
Credit Associates is based in Texas and available by telephone or online for Bakersfield clients. The company assigns you a team of experts that will begin working on your case immediately. Bakersfield Customers say they experienced excellent service working with the company.
CountryWideDebt Relief guarantees qualification for clients who have at least $10,000 in debt and can make $250 monthly payments. A California-based company, services are available to Bakersfield residents online or by phone. Customers in California say they encountered responsive and kind service representatives and report results that met or exceeded expectations.
Freedom Debt Relief provides service to Bakersfield and is a founding member of the American Fair Credit Council. The company’s tools allow you to check your account on its website at any time. Many reviewers give the company high marks for its knowledgeable customer service agents and their professional attitude toward solving problems.
Accredited Debt Relief is based in San Diego and offers online and telephone services to Bakersfield residents. The company offers free consultations to assess whether debt settlement will work for you. Bakersfield customers say they appreciate the company’s clear communication and explanation of the debt settlement process.
Pacific Debt Inc. is a California company with an A+ rating with the BBB. The company prides itself on working with customers to avoid bankruptcy and provides service online or by phone. Reviewers in Bakersfield mention they found Pacific Debt charges lower fees than other companies.
If your credit card debt exceeds $7,500, this debt settlement company can help. Debt Rx is small enough to offer individual solutions for debt relief. If you’re behind on bills, Debt Rx can help keep creditors away as mentioned in customer reviews who spoke highly of their effective service.
Our partners independently research and analyze the companies mentioned in our guides and work with subject matter experts to add valuable information that helps consumers make smart purchase decisions. Our partners will not include companies on these guides that do not meet specific quality standards. The compensation we receive from our partners may impact how and where companies appear on our site, including the order in which they appear.
Our partners independently research companies, and use editorial discretion to award companies with special recognition (i.e. Best Value) based on their staff’s judgement or subject matter expert’s judgement. Our partners do this to help you identify companies that will meet your specific buying needs, and do not receive compensation for these designations.