Even though Credit Associates is accredited by two leading industry associations, it isn’t fully transparent about the debt relief services it provides, and many customers suggest they’ve experienced communication issues. As such, you may be better off working with a different debt settlement company.
- Pros and Cons
- Key Takeaways
Client portal is available to continuously monitor your account
Accredited by AFCC and IAPDA
Support is available every day but Sunday
Fees aren’t disclosed
Must have a financial hardship to qualify for the program
Services aren’t provided in all states
- The company was founded in 2016, making it a relatively new debt relief provider.
- It’s unknown if Credit Associates requires a minimum level of debt to enroll in its program.
- Many reviewers noted they experienced communication issues with Credit Associates.
- You can access a variety of tools and financial education resources on its website.
- Year Founded 2016
- Types of Debt Relief Credit card debt, medical bills, business debt
- Fees Not disclosed
- Average Repayment Period 24 to 36 months
- Accreditations AFCC and IAPDA
- Minimum Debt Not disclosed
- Official Website www.creditassociates.com
Credit Associates is a debt relief provider focused on helping people negotiate settlements on unsecured debt. The ultimate goal is for Credit Associates to get your creditors to agree to a settlement that’s less than what you owe. You won’t pay any upfront fees, as required by law. Instead, you’ll pay a performance-based fee once a settlement has been negotiated.
Debt settlement is risky, as there’s no guarantee that your creditors will settle, and your credit can be ruined. As a result, it should only be considered as a last resort after first considering nonprofit credit counseling or a debt management plan, where you’ll repay everything you owe but may be able to get a reduced interest rate.
Read on to learn more about the debt settlement program offered by Credit Associates.
Credit Associates is a debt settlement company founded in 2016 and headquartered in Dallas, Texas. The company is an accredited member of the American Fair Credit Council (AFCC), one of the leading professional associations serving the debt relief industry, and is a gold accredited service with the International Association of Professional Debt Arbitrators (IAPDA), meaning it has at least 25 to 99 IAPDA-certified debt advisors.
Although Credit Associates can work with individuals located throughout most of the United States, its program isn’t offered in all areas. While a full list of states where services aren’t available isn’t provided, some examples of where services aren’t available are CO, CT, GA, MD, MN, NJ, OH, VT, and WY.
Our review didn’t reveal any recent legal actions by the government against Credit Associates at the state or federal level.
Debt Relief Options
With Credit Associates’ debt settlement program, the goal is to help you negotiate settlements with your creditors in an amount less than you owe. The company helps negotiate settlements on unsecured debts such as credit card debt, medical bills, and unsecured business debts.
As is typical with debt settlement providers, Credit Associates can’t help with debt secured by collateral such as home mortgages, home equity loans, and car loans. The company doesn’t mention student loans, so it’s unclear if it will help you with this type of loan.
To qualify for the debt settlement program offered by Credit Associates, you need to be in the midst of a legitimate financial hardship (e.g., a recent divorce, medical issue, or death in the family). The company doesn’t explicitly disclose any other requirements, such as the minimum level of debt required. However, its calculators have a built-in minimum of $7,500, so we expect this may be the minimum level of debt required.
Following the law, you won’t pay any upfront fees with Credit Associates. The company only charges a fee if it successfully negotiates an agreement with your creditors. This performance-based fee structure is typical for the debt relief industry.
Unfortunately, Credit Associates doesn’t disclose the typical fees it charges its customers nor does it disclose the savings you might experience before and after fees. The best debt relief companies in the industry are transparent about all of this information.
On average, Credit Associates’ clients can resolve their debt issues in 24 to 36 months, which falls within the industry average of 24 to 48 months.
If a debt relief company says you need to pay an upfront fee, make sure to avoid doing business with them and file a complaint with the FTC online or by calling 1-877-382-4357.
Customer Service: Support Available Six Days a Week
If you need to reach out to Credit Associates to get support, you can contact someone with the company every day of the week except Sunday. The company’s business hours are Monday through Friday between the hours of 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. ET and on Saturdays between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. ET.
To get support from Credit Associates by phone, you can call these toll-free numbers:
- Potential Clients: 1-800-983-6693
- Existing Clients: 1-800-348-7606
Keep in mind you won’t be able to get support on Sundays and Credit Associates doesn’t offer a live chat option. Although these are disadvantages, they aren’t unusual. It’s not uncommon for debt relief providers to only provide support on weekdays and very few debt relief providers offer a live chat option.
Customer Satisfaction: Communication Issues Are Common
We reviewed a wide variety of reviews to gain insight into what it’s like to work with Credit Associates. Although we saw quite a few positive reviews, many of those reviews focused on working with the company early on in the process. There weren’t a lot of reviews from the perspective of people who completed the program.
There were numerous reviews from individuals stating they had communication issues with Credit Associates. Many reviewers stated they received unwanted correspondence and calls from the company. Additionally, quite a few reviews claimed it was difficult to get in touch with the company’s customer service team. There were even instances of positive reviewers noting they wanted to receive updates from the company more often.
Other negative reviews stated Credit Associates’ debt advisors wanted them to sign contracts on the spot without providing sufficient time to review the details. While these could be isolated instances, they are concerning.
Companies should always be willing to give you time to consider what you’re buying and review their contracts before asking you to sign. If you’re asked to decide or sign a contract without ample time to consider it, it’s a red flag you shouldn’t ignore.
Once you’ve signed up for services with Credit Associates, you’ll be able to track your progress and manage your account 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by logging into its client portal. You’ll also be assigned a designated support team who you can contact by phone if you need to get one-on-one support. These features can help make the account management process easier.
Before you sign up for services with Credit Associates, you’ll be given a free debt consultation. In this consultation, your debt advisor will review your financial situation with you and discuss possible options. If the company cannot help you, it may be able to refer you to a debt relief provider with the services you need. This is a value-added service that isn’t always offered by the competition.
The company also has various tools you can use to evaluate how much money you might save with a debt settlement program as well as a blog with helpful information about various debt relief options (e.g., credit counseling, debt management programs, debt consolidation loans) and other finance topics such as budgeting and advice about how to pay off your mortgage faster.
How Credit Associates Compares to Other Debt Relief Companies
One of the main competitors to Credit Associates is National Debt Relief, a well-known debt settlement company. Both companies focus primarily on helping people resolve unsecured debt issues, although National Debt Relief can also help with private student loans on a case-by-case basis. Credit Associates doesn’t disclose if it’s able to negotiate student loan debt.
Some of the other key differences between Credit Associates and National Debt Relief are:
- Credit Associates doesn’t disclose its typical fee range.
- National Debt Relief discloses its typical fee range from 15% to 25% of total enrolled debt (the industry average).
- Credit Associates doesn’t share what it takes to qualify for its program, while National Debt Relief clearly discloses that it requires you to have at least $7,500 in qualifying debt to enroll.
- An evaluation of reviews from a wide variety of sources suggests communication problems are commonplace with Credit Associates. In contrast, reviewers suggest you can expect National Debt Relief to communicate with you regularly.
When comparing Credit Associates to National Debt Relief, the better option is National Debt Relief. Not only is National Debt Relief more transparent about its pricing and qualifications, but it also has a better reputation with its customers.
Read our National Debt Relief review.
|Credit Associates||National Debt Relief|
|Types of Debt Relief||Credit card debt, medical bills, business debt||Credit card debt, medical bills, business debt, some private student loans|
|Fees||Not disclosed||15% to 25% of enrolled debt|
|Minimum Debt||Not disclosed ($7,500 likely)||$7,500|
|Customer Satisfaction||Communication problems are commonly reported||Good regular communication is experienced by many|
Credit Associates is a relatively new company, having been founded in 2016. Even so, it’s accredited by both the AFCC and the IAPDA, two of the most reputable debt relief industry associations. Unfortunately, Credit Associates has some transparency issues, as it doesn’t disclose many of the important details about its debt relief program, such as how much it typically charges in fees and if you need to have a minimum amount of debt to qualify.
Besides the transparency issues, an evaluation of reviews from many sources suggests that Credit Associates doesn’t have a great reputation with many of its customers. Quite a few reviewers noted they experienced communication problems, with references to communication issues even evidenced in some positive reviews. Overall, you would be better off choosing a debt relief provider that’s fully transparent about its product offering.
All of our reviews of debt relief companies are based on extensive research and analysis of each company based on offerings, customer service, pricing, years in business, accreditation, and more. To rate Credit Associates and other providers, we developed a debt relief review methodology that compares the debt relief options offered, additional features, fees, success rates, and reported customer experiences to help us provide insights into things like customer service and the strength of each company’s offerings.
Better Business Bureau. "Credit Associates, LLC." Accessed May 2, 2021.
IAPDA Certification. "IAPDA Accredited Service Centers." Accessed May 2, 2021.
Federal Trade Commission. "Debt Relief Services & The Telemarketing Sales Rule: A Guide for Business." Accessed May 1, 2021.