Written by: Chad Zollinger | Best Company Editorial Team
Last Updated: July 8th, 2020
Updated December 31, 2019
Freedom Debt Relief or National Debt Relief?
National Debt Relief is a company that specializes in debt settlement. NDR will negotiate with your creditors to reduce your total debt amount without charging a fee until after the settlement has occurred. Freedom Debt Relief provides the same settlement service.
The question is: which company is better at settling debt?
In short, we think you'll be happier with Freedom Debt Relief simply because of the vast number of happy customers it has. But, National Debt Relief also has many strengths, such as its price and state availability.
We've prepared a side-by-side snapshot of two of the most popular debt relief companies. If you are considering debt settlement, here's a quick look at two of the major leaders in the industry.
Freedom Debt Relief vs. National Debt Relief
Which is better: Freedom Debt Relief or National Debt Relief?
When you compare the two debt relief companies, National Debt Relief appears to have lower fees and serves more states, but Freedom Debt Relief has higher customer satisfaction and much more debt settlement experience.
At the end of 2019, Freedom Debt Relief had over 11,100 reviews with an average star-rating 4.7 stars out of 5 on BestCompany.com.
At the same time in 2019, National Debt Relief had over 460 user reviews with an average star-rating of 4.3 out of 5.
Both companies use debt settlement to negotiate a lower total debt for their customers. Both companies have considerable experience in negotiating debt.
National Debt Relief has slightly lower fees while Freedom Debt Relief has a higher customer satisfaction on BestCompany.com. We recommend Freedom Debt Relief.
Exactly how much does Freedom Debt Relief cost?
Freedom Debt Relief charges customers 15 to 25 percent of their total enrolled debt depending on where they live.
With higher debt, you will likely see higher savings. So the 20 percent average fee might actually be lower. Much like consumers must compare online quotes to find the best auto insurance companies, in order to get a more accurate estimate, you should contact Freedom Debt Relief for a free consultation.
How much does National Debt Relief cost?
National Debt Relief costs an average of 18 to 25 percent of the total enrolled debt. The company can usually cut your debt in half. So if you owe $20,000, National Debt Relief can negotiate it down to $10,000 and will charge you between $3,600 and $5,000. This means that you would pay between $13,600 and $15,000 instead of the original $20,000.
Potential customers should know that individual cost will vary according to your credit situation, debt amount, and your creditors. Savings will vary even more because creditors are under no obligation to negotiate a lower debt amount.
It is usually in the best interest of creditors to reduce the amount of your debt. In the mind of the lenders, it's better to get some of the money from debtors instead of none of it. Customers can contact National Debt Relief for a free consultation and estimate.
What is debt settlement?
Debt settlement is the process of settling your debts for less than the original owed amount.
After a free consultation to discuss your unique financial situation, a good debt settlement company would create a program designed to fit your needs.
You make payments to a special savings account for a designated period of time, typically over the course of several months. Once an appropriate sum is reached, the company will negotiate with your creditors, striving to the settle the debt for as little as possible.
Once they have reached an agreement, the debt will be resolved by using the funds you have already accrued in the special savings account.
Are debt relief companies legitimate?
Sadly, there are many fraudulent debt relief companies. The Federal Trade Commission warns consumers to beware of debt settlement companies that charge upfront fees, as it violates the FTC's Telemarketing Sales Rule.
Just like with IRS debt forgiveness, it is critical to look for companies that are compliant with the Telemarketing Sales Rule and other FTC regulations, including being transparent about their fees, setting up realistic expectations about settlements, and alerting you about the potential consequences and risks associated with debt settlement.
Which accreditations does the debt relief company have?
Accreditations can provide additional assurance that your chosen company is following ethical industry practices and are provided by third-party organizations designed to help regulate the debt relief industry.
The two most important accreditations are the American Fair Credit Council (AFCC) and the International Association of Professional Debt Arbitrators (IAPDA).
The AFCC is an association of professional Consumer Credit Advocates; its purpose is to support consumers struggling with debt issues, to define debt relief best practices, and to push for consumer-focused legislation.
The IAPDA is an organization which trains and certifies debt negotiation professionals. Any debt relief company you consider should be accredited by at least one, but preferably both of these accreditation organizations.
Freedom Debt Relief has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
It is a founding member of the AFCC and holds a Platinum standing with the IAPDA, which indicates that their debt consultants have been trained extensively in a comprehensive range of debt relief options, laws, legislation, and more.
The company was also involved in establishing the 2010 FTC compliance rules and complies with the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule.
National Debt Relief has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
It is a member of the AFCC and is certified by the IAPDA.
The company complies with the FTC's Telemarketing Sales Rule.
How long has the company been in business?
Debt settlement is a relatively new industry, with few companies dating prior to the mid-90s. Companies with longer industry experience may offer more established relationships with creditors.
Freedom Debt Relief was established in 2002, longer than many competitors.
Its founders are Stanford business graduates. Since its creation, it has settled over $8 billion in debt for over 500,000 clients.
The company resolves over 40,000 accounts a month and employs over 2,000 professionals.
National Debt Relief was established in 2009 in New York City. It has helped over 100,000 clients become debt free by resolving over $1 billion in debt.
What are the minimum debt requirements?
Debt settlement is not right for everyone, particularly those with smaller amounts of debt.
To benefit from debt settlement, you should have at least $7,500 in unsecured debt; however, there are often more suitable options for those with less than $10,000.
Most companies only accept clients with over $7,500 in debt.
FDR requires a minimum debt of $7,500 to enroll in its program. The company only accepts unsecured debt.
NDR requires a minimum debt of $7,500 to enroll in its program. The company only accepts unsecured debt.
In which states does the debt relief company operate?
States have strict rules regulating debt settlement, therefore these companies are unable to service every state. It is important to see which company is available in your area.
Freedom Debt Relief is available in the following locations (38 out of 50 states; as well as 3 of the 6 U.S. island territories)
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington D.C., Wisconsin, Guam, Puerto Rico, American Samoa.
National Debt Relief is available in the following locations (41 out of 50 states):
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Washington, D.C.
How much can I save with debt relief?
One way to measure debt settlement's effectiveness could be its overall savings. While the company can significantly reduce the amount you owe, they will also charge you fees that often average between 18 to 25 percent of your total enrolled debt.
The fees are determined by a number of factors, primarily state regulations and willingness of creditors to settle.
Freedom Debt Relief's average fee is 20 percent of your enrolled debt.
National's fee varies between 18-25 percent of your enrolled debt. Clients who complete the program and settle their debt save an average of 30 percent (after fees).
What do customers think about the debt relief company?
2019 Freedom Debt Relief reviews reveal a high customer satisfaction. While 2019 National Debt Relief reviews on BestCompany.com have been fewer in comparison, they show a good level of customer satisfaction.
Customer reviews are a critical factor when research debt companies. It is vital to compare Freedom Debt Relief to National Debt Relief reviews from a customer's perspective because customers arrive at conclusions without ulterior business motives or benefits.
For example, a customer with high credit card debt may find that NDR is actually better at negotiating credit card debt than Freedom Debt Relief. However, if other customers do not read reviews, they'll end up making a poorly informed decision regarding their own credit card debt.
Real clients are simply seeking to inform potentials clients to make better decisions and can provide the most accurate feedback about the companies' services.
Be sure to read multiple reviews (preferably both negative and positive) to gain a clear picture of the strengths and weakness of each company.
Freedom Debt Relief reviews (2019) praise:
Freedom Debt Relief complaints:
National Debt Relief reviews (2019) praise:
National Debt Relief complaints:
How involved will I be in the debt relief process?
Though debt relief customers might be tempted to just hand over their financial reins to a debt management company, it is vital to be involved in the process from start to finish.
Customers should seek not only to alleviate debt but also to nurture habits that lead to a debt-free life. When approaching a debt relief company, ask how much you can be involved in the relief process; this could be a good sign that you've found the right debt relief company.
Freedom Debt Relief offers customer support and information for non-clients seven days a week. Additionally, customers can monitor their progress 24/7 through an online Client Dashboard. They can see which debts are being negotiated next and manage account information.
National Debt Relief offers customer support for current clients Monday through Friday. Non-clients can reach the company Monday through Saturday.
Does debt relief affect my credit?
The goal of every debt relief or tax relief program is to help you get out of debt as quickly as possible. Depending on the condition of your credit, any debt relief program, including both Freedom Debt Relief and National Debt Relief, could negatively affect your credit.
However, carrying a large amount of debt that is difficult to repay also negatively impacts your credit score. For example, debt from student loans can accumulate and increase over many years of nonpayment. So, you have two choices in such desperate situations: pay off your debt from student loans slowly, missing minimum payments and taking damage to your credit score or hire a debt relief company, settling the debt from your student loans faster while taking a hit to your credit score.
While debt relief customers may experience an initial negative impact on their credit score, as debt as settled, they often see their credit score rebound. More importantly, credit scores and overall financial health improve in the long run.
We recommend looking into debt relief programs if making smaller monthly payments and getting out of debt quickly is worth a temporary hit to your credit score.
Freedom Debt Relief vs. National Debt Relief: Additional Services
Both Freedom Debt Relief and National Debt Relief have debt consolidation options available, though customers are likely better off going to a company completely dedicated to debt consolidation.
A debt consolidation loan company can help you consolidate all of your monthly payments into one low monthly payment. After debt consolidation, the company will attempt to negotiate lower interest rates with each of your creditors.
One huge advantage to National Debt Relief is that the company offers a 100 percent satisfaction money-back guarantee. A money-back guarantee means that in the event you are unsatisfied with NDR's services or they cannot settle your debt, you can get your money back.
Freedom Debt Relief does offer credit counseling (easier on your credit score) and additional DIY services for those who would like to get out of debt by themselves. The company also provides bankruptcy counseling.
National Debt Relief offers bankruptcy counseling, debt consolidation services, and financial education resources.
Freedom vs. National: Which is the best debt relief company?
|Freedom Debt Relief||National Debt Relief|
|Total Amount Resolved||$10 billion||$1 billion|
|Total Clients Enrolled||Over 600,000||Over 100,000|
|Minimum Enrolled Debt||$7,500||$7,500|
|Locations||34 out of 50 states as well as 3 of the 6 U.S. island territories||41 out of 50 states|
|Average Fee||20 percent of enrolled debt||18-25 percent of the enrolled debt|
|Average Savings||Undisclosed||30 percent of enrolled debt (after fees)|
|Availability||7 days a week||Monday through Saturday|
Debt is not a necessary evil that's just a part of life.
You can conquer debt, and a debt relief company is a great way to start. Though National Debt Relief does have slightly lower average fees and provides debt relief services to more states, Freedom Debt Relief has greater customer satisfaction, more glowing debt relief reviews, better accessibility, and has been in business for a much longer time.
The final decision is up to the customer, but there's a reason Freedom Debt Relief is ranked number one for debt relief programs on Best Company: over 10,300 positive reviews from satisfied customers resulting in 4.7/5 stars.
So, if Freedom Debt Relief wins over National Debt Relief, how does it compare to some of the other companies in the industry?
Freedom Debt Relief vs. CareOne Debt Relief
Unlike Freedom Debt Relief and National Debt Relief, CareOne Debt Relief does not disclose its rates online. CareOne Debt Relief's main service is its debt management plan, so that may be why the company is unwilling to reveal pricing information about its debt settlement service.
On the other hand, Freedom Debt Relief has years of experience with debt settlement services and has an average fee of 20 percent, an average in the industry.
Looking strictly at debt settlement services, Freedom Debt Relief has more experience, likely better prices, and has thousands of positive reviews to back up its service. However, CareOne Debt Relief does have a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee.
|Freedom Debt Relief||CareOne Debt Relief|
|Total Clients Enrolled||Over 600,000||Undisclosed|
|Minimum Enrolled Debt||$7,500||$7,500|
|Locations||34 out of 50 states as well as 3 of the 6 U.S. island territories||50 states|
|Average Fee||20 percent of enrolled debt||Undisclosed|
|Average Savings||Undisclosed||50 percent (not including fees)|
Freedom Debt Relief vs. ClearOne Advantage
ClearOne Advantage does not have as many good reviews as Freedom Debt Relief. With more than 60 reviews, Clearone has 3.8 out of 5 stars.
Freedom Debt Relief has a 4.7-star rating with over 11,118 customers reviews, an impressive feat.
Additionally, Freedom has more experience, is more transparent about pricing, and has resolved much more total debt than ClearOne Advantage.
|Freedom Debt Relief||ClearOneAdvantage|
|Total Amount Resolved||$10 billion||$1 billion|
|Minimum Enrolled Debt||$7,500||$10,000|
|Locations||34 out of 50 states as well as 3 of the 6 U.S. island territories||Undisclosed|
|Average Fee||20 percent of enrolled debt||Undisclosed|
|Availability||7 days a week||Monday through Friday|
Freedom Debt Relief proves through its commitment to its customers, its transparency, and its experience in settling debts why it tops our list of best debt settlement companies.
Customers are encouraged to compare Freedom Debt Relief to all of the top debt relief programs to ensure that it is the right company for their unique situation.