National Debt Relief Review [2021]: Does It Hurt Your Credit?

Since 2009, National Debt Relief has negotiated debt settlements for borrowers struggling to pay off unsecured debt balances. But is it the smart choice for you?
Last updated Jun 23, 2021 | By Taylor Medine
National Debt Relief Review

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At the end of 2020, American households carried over $820 billion in credit card debt, and 9.2% of it was over 90 days late, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. If you’re among those beginning to feel overwhelmed by your debt balances, a debt relief company might be able to help.

National Debt Relief has a good reputation with customers and gets an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB). In this National Debt Relief review, we dive into who this service is designed for and what sort of help it may be able to offer you.

Quick Summary

Get a one-on-one evaluation with a debt counseling expert.

  • No upfront costs
  • Could help you get out of debt without bankruptcy
  • Has helped over 100,000 people become debt-free
In this National Debt Relief review

National Debt Relief basics

National Debt Relief
Minimum debt $7,500
Types of debt
  • Unsecured debt (such as medical bills)
  • Credit card debt
  • Personal loans
  • Payday loans
  • Store credit cards
  • Private student loans
Program length 24-48 months
Fees 15%-25% of the amount of your total enrolled debt
Availability 42 states
Accreditation AFCC, IAPDA
Best for... Customers looking for a debt settlement company with positive reviews
Visit National Debt Relief

What is National Debt Relief?

National Debt Relief was founded in 2009 to provide financial relief to people struggling to make their monthly payments and feeling burdened by debt. Located in New York City, National Debt Relief has helped over 100,000 people become debt-free and has settled over $1 billion in unsecured debt.

National Debt Relief is accredited by the Better Business Bureau. It’s also a member of the American Fair Credit Council (AFCC) and the International Association of Professional Debt Arbitrators (IAPDA).

How does National Debt Relief work?

National Debt Relief is a company that negotiates debt settlements for borrowers. It can also help you find a debt consolidation loan, which can simplify debt repayment. Not sure about the difference between debt settlement vs. debt consolidation? Here’s how both work:

Debt settlement

Debt settlement is when your creditor agrees to settle your outstanding debt for a lump sum that might be less than what you owe. Rather than negotiating a settlement on your own, you could hire a debt settlement program like National Debt Relief to handle this so you don’t have to deal with calls or letters.

While the exact difference you’ll see from a settlement can vary, National Debt Relief says that it’s been able to reduce customer debt load by 30% to 50% on average.

Here’s how the process works with National Debt Relief:

  1. You connect with a debt specialist who will review your financial situation.
  2. The debt specialist will see if you qualify for a debt relief program. If you do, the company will start handling communications with your creditors.
  3. During the program, you might no longer make monthly payments to your creditors; instead, payments get put into a separate account.
  4. Once you have enough money stashed away in that account, National Debt Relief will try to negotiate a deal with your creditors for less than what you owe.

National Debt Relief charges a fee that’s 15% to 25% of the original debt amount, but it’s only charged at the end of the process if the company is able to get you a settlement. These types of programs typically last for 24 to 48 months. National Debt Relief does not charge any upfront fees.

One thing to keep in mind when pursuing a debt settlement with National Debt Relief or any other company is that it does come with some risks. Not making payments to creditors while negotiating a settlement can negatively affect your credit score.

Also, the difference between your original balance and the settlement amount may be taxable. Speak with a tax professional if you have questions about how debt forgiveness might affect your tax liability.

Debt consolidation

Debt consolidation is when you use a new credit line or loan to pay off several other balances. This combines multiple different payments into one, making it easier to keep up with bills each month.

National Debt Relief doesn’t offer debt consolidation loans directly but can help you find a debt consolidation loan through its network of lenders. The application process may involve a credit check. Loan terms range from 24 to 60 months, and rates range from 6.25% to 35.99% APR (as of Apr. 6, 2021).

Using a debt consolidation loan with a lower interest rate to pay off other high-interest debt can lead to monthly and long-term savings. But unlike a debt settlement, what you owe doesn’t change when you consolidate debt; you still owe the same amount just under a new loan.

What debt can National Debt Relief help you with?

National Debt Relief can help you with different types of unsecured debt, such as credit card bills, personal loans and lines of credit, medical bills, collections and repossessions, business debts, and private student loans.

However, National Debt Relief cannot help with lawsuits, back taxes and IRS debt, federal student loans, utility bills, auto loans, government loans, home loans, and other secured debt.

What we like about National Debt Relief

  • Customer-service focused: National Debt Relief aims to get you out of debt in the shortest amount of time possible, and its goal is to not have repeat customers. The company values transparency and compassion.
  • Easy cancellation: You can cancel at any time, and there are no cancellation or penalty fees.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee: You don’t pay fees unless National Debt Relief is able to get you a settlement.
  • Free money tips: The National Debt Relief website has many articles that discuss personal finance topics, such as how to manage credit cards, how to pay off debt, how to start an emergency fund, and more.

What National Debt Relief could improve

  • Launch an app: While there is an online portal, there isn’t a National Debt Relief app, and launching one could make it easier for customers to manage their accounts.

What National Debt Relief customers are saying

Customer reviews on the Better Business Bureau website for National Debt Relief are positive for the most part, and it currently gets 4.22 stars out of 5. Many customers say that representatives are helpful, knowledgeable, and compassionate.

The most common negative complaint is related to fees and lack of clarity in how the process of paying off creditors works once there’s enough money saved in your settlement account. Before choosing to go with National Debt Relief, be sure that you’re aware of the cost and ask questions about the terms to make sure you’re comfortable with the process.

National Debt Relief customer service

If you’re considering National Debt Relief, you can call the phone number 800-300-9550 to speak with a debt relief expert Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to midnight EST and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. EST.

If you’re an existing customer, you can contact client services Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST at 888-660-7427. You can also check your online account at login.nationaldebtrelief.com/ or you can email service@nationaldebtrelief.com.

FAQs about National Debt Relief

Is National Debt Relief legitimate?

There are some debt relief scams out there, but National Debt Relief is a legitimate company that’s been in business for over 11 years. It’s accredited by the BBB and gets an A+ BBB rating. The company has helped over 100,000 customers and has settled over $1 billion in unsecured debt. It’s also a member of the AFCC and the IAPDA.

Does National Debt Relief ruin your credit?

National Debt Relief doesn’t “ruin” your credit, but the debt settlement process could cause you to take a credit hit. Whether you use National Debt Relief or another company, part of the program may involve ceasing payments to creditors.

Instead, payments are directed to a settlement account, and those funds are used to pay a lump sum once a settlement agreement is reached. Delinquent credit or loan accounts can have a negative effect on your credit report and can stay on it for up to seven years.

It’s also important to note that a creditor could choose to sue you for an unpaid balance. However, if the pros of a debt settlement outweigh the cons, it could still be worth considering.

How does National Debt Relief get paid?

National Debt Relief gets paid when it’s able to get you a debt settlement. The fee ranges from 15% to 25% of the amount of total debt you enroll in the program. How much you’ll save can vary, and debt settlements aren’t guaranteed. This is something to consider if you decide to go forward with the process.


The bottom line on National Debt Relief

When debt balances are growing and making payments becomes a struggle, it can be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. While negotiating a debt settlement may not be the ideal scenario, it could help you clear your balances so you can get back on your feet.

If you’re not sure whether National Debt Relief is right for you, then Freedom Debt Relief is another company you might consider. Our head-to-head comparison of National Debt Relief vs. Freedom Debt Relief can help you see how their services line up.

Debt settlements are something that you can try to negotiate on your own for free. However, using a company like National Debt Relief puts experts on your side, and this could be an option if you prefer not to communicate with creditors directly.

National Debt Relief Benefits

  • No upfront fees
  • One-on-one evaluation with a debt counseling expert
  • For people with $10,000 in unsecured debts and up

Author Details

Taylor Medine Taylor Medine is a freelance writer who's covered all things personal finance for the last six years. She enjoys writing financial product reviews and guides on budgeting, saving, repaying debt, and building credit.