Each of our reviews, scores, and rankings is derived from our proprietary Ranking Criteria™. We do not have any relationships with companies that guarantee position, rank or score—and we never will. Like many sites, we are compensated through affiliate relationships with each company we review; however, our Ranking Criteria™, along with real customer reviews from people like you, ensure we remain honest and unbiased. Read on to discover more about how user review moderation and expert scoring is processed or select an industry to see our full ranking criteria.

How we rank for

20% Monthly Fees

For most people, how much you pay per month for the service is the most important factor when trying to find a debt consolidation company. This is why 12% of a company’s score is devoted to the monthly price it charges for its services. We want to recommend the companies that charge an affordable price to allow you to pay off your debt sooner.

Similar to the monthly fees, how much a company charges to start a consolidation program is almost just as important to most consumers. We find the companies that charge little to no up-front fees and give them the most points.

10% Interest Rate

Consolidation companies are often able to negotiate lower interest rates with creditors. As interest rates are related to price, companies that can negotiate lower rates get more points in this category.

5% Accreditations

Industry accreditations show that a company is committed to the industry standards and best practices. Our surveys show that nearly 54% of consumers want the company of their choice to have major national accreditations. These accreditations include:

  • NFCC (National Foundation for Credit Counseling)
  • FCAA (Financial Counseling Association of America)
  • Certified Counselors
  • ISO

5% Account Management

The best debt consolidation companies will offer the following features to their customers:

  • Credit Counseling
  • Free Consultation
  • No Cancellation Fee

5% Time in Business

How long a company has been around is important to know. Companies that have more experience tend to have more knowledge and perform at greater efficiency. Newer companies receive less points than the most experienced ones.

5% State Availability

Many companies serve all 50 states, but not all of them do. One of our goals is to make sure that consumers are aware of the companies that service their state. This eliminates any time that would be wasted researching a company that does not service your state.

4% Spanish Services

Not many companies have representatives that speak Spanish to serve a significant portion of the population that seeks out debt consolidation services. We give companies that offer these services a few extra points for making the extra effort.

4% Online Dashboard

We like to see it when companies innovate and create better services and experiences for their customers. Many companies have started to offer an online dashboard or portal where their clients can see their account information as well as track their progress. This makes the company more transparent, and allows the consumer to feel more in control.

8% Active

This criterion is related to a company’s activity and the accuracy of its profile on our site. To get credit for this criteria, a representative of the company verifies to Best Company that the information about their company listed on our site is correct. Additionally, the company agrees to help us gather a minimum of five new reviews per month to be featured exclusively on bestcompany.com. These reviews are gathered either through our site or through our proprietary review acquisition process. Either way, each review undergoes a validation process by Best Company’s integrity team to ensure reviews on our site are verified and legitimate. We feel strongly that the information we feature on bestcompany.com must be accurate. A company that fails to increase their review count by at least five reviews each month is marked as “not active” and the company’s overall score is reduced accordingly.

4% Viability

This criterion is related to the company’s ability to service customers. Over time, as we learn more about each company and the industry, we are privy to details the general public may, or may not, be privy to. This information could include the financial stability, legal standing, or business practices of said company. Each company listed on our site is initially given full credit for this criteria. However, if we deem a company’s ability to service customers becomes compromised, we reserve the right to deduct points from their viability score.

30% User Score

Here at Best Company, we believe a company is only as good as what its customers say about it; feedback from real customers is crucial to understanding how a company truly operates. For this reason, we have allocated more than half of a company’s overall rating to verified customer reviews. The customer reviews score is broken down into three metrics:

  1. The average user score
  2. Total number of reviews
  3. Total number of reviews in the last 12 months

These three metrics not only help us understand what customers are saying, but they also help us determine a company’s relevance and to how many people—all of which are critical to understanding the value of a company in the eyes of the customer.

Note: this is different from the “User Score” that is displayed on each company profile, which is simply the average of all user scores published for a given profile, and is independent from a company’s overall score.

User Review Moderation

In order to prevent false and misleading user reviews, Best Company employs a Review Moderation Team specifically assigned to vet all user reviews for all companies listed on the site. This team follows a very specific and strict moderation process that has been designed to gauge the validity of each and every user review submitted to our site.

The Flag System

This moderation process involves a “flag” system, where a flag is assessed for each negative attribute associated with a user review. Too many flags result in a rejection of a user review. Some of the things our moderation staff looks for and assigns potential flags to include the following:

  • Email address verification of the user
  • IP address duplication and region check
  • User review semantic verification
  • Is the user an employee of the organization?
  • Is the user associated with a competitor of the organization?
  • Foul language of any kind
  • Relevance of the content pertaining to the company and the review

As you can probably tell, we take our user review moderation process very seriously. We believe accuracy and authenticity are critical when it comes to user reviews, and are constantly finding new ways to make our user moderation process better. Please note that while we do our best to manually moderate each and every user review, mistakes can occasionally be made; however, we are dedicated to resolving any errors in our process and delivering you better data so you can make a better decision.