Consolidated Credit is Proud to Help Maria Recover from Financial Abuse

Featured Client Profile: Maria - Broken Home

Maria pays off her debt and finds her freedom.

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence defines coerced debt as “non-consensual, credit-related transactions in the context of an abusive relationship. Coerced debt destroy’s the victim’s credit rating, making it difficult for her/him to obtain future loans, rent an apartment and even get a job.”

This situation with coerced debt is exactly what that Maria faced that brought her to Consolidated Credit. With $7,850 to repay, an already stressed budget, and a credit score in the 400’s, Maria knew she needed help if she wanted to get out of a bad situation. Consolidated Credit is proud we were able to help. And we hope Maria’s story can help others who face financial abuse.

Maria’s money troubles started with her ex…

“Unfortunately, I have to admit that I was in a bad personal relationship, where there was emotional and financial abuse. I felt stuck and I also had a small child with special needs. I was manipulated.”

An unhealthy relationship can take a toll on your life in many ways. For Maria, part of the abuse she faced was financial. Her ex got his hands on her credit cards and ran up debt in her name.

By the time she discovered it, Maria’s debt was already out of control…

With out-of-pocket medical expenses for her son, Maria had extremely limited income. Every dollar was already spoken for. It made the sudden accumulation of credit card debt an extremely difficult problem to solve.

“I had several cards, some of which were already near their limit. A few others were placed on hold due to late payments or not being able to meet the minimum payment requirement at all.”

Credit cards are revolving debt. That means the more you charge, the higher the bills get. If someone runs up balances quickly it can shock your budget. If you’re already living paycheck-to-paycheck, you can fall behind quickly. That’s the situation that Maria’s ex put her in.

And it often gets worse. Late payments lead to penalty APR. It’s usually a much higher rate than the standard APR you pay when your balance is current. If you don’t make the minimum payment within 30 days, credit card companies report it as a missed payment to the credit bureaus. Missed payments damage your credit score quickly. The financial abuse can quickly turn into financial hardship.

As a result of her situation, Maria’s average credit card interest rate jumped to 29.99%. Her credit score fell into the 400’s.

Maria’s financial stress was constant…

“I remember feeling so overwhelmed and not knowing where to start. I was quite anxious all the time because of the financial state I was in.”

Financial stress weighs on your mind and can even affect your physical health. As the experts at Everyday Health explain, “Financial stresses have been linked to migraine, cardiovascular disease, absence from work, insomnia and more. It’s well documented, also, that financial stresses can negatively affect mental health, and contribute to depression and other mood disorders.

Fortunately, Maria heard an ad that gave her a ray of hope…

“I heard about Consolidated Credit after hearing an ad on the radio about the company. When I got home, I decided to do some research about the organization online.”

What Maria found gave her hope that Consolidated Credit could help her. The A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and a 4.8 out of 5 stars through independent third-party reviews, showed her Consolidated Credit is a reputable organization that provides real debt relief to people in her situation.

Maria picked up the phone and called.

“I was embarrassed about my situation and felt unsure where to begin. The agent reassured me several times and offered support – that the first step to overcoming this financial hurdle was recognizing there was a problem and reaching out to find a solution.” 

The agent – a certified credit counselor – reviewed Maria’s debts and budget. They found a payment that would work for the limited income she had. And unlike many other debt relief programs, Consolidated Credit’s program works for debt amounts as low as $5,000.

“I started the program in October of 2016 and today, I am happy to say I have four more payments until my final payment.”

Maria will graduate from the program in September of 2018.

Quote from Maria about credit score recovery from a debt management program

Maria found her power as she paid off her debt…

“I can still remember when the first credit card was paid off. It was such a feeling of empowerment. There is nothing to describe that feeling and it gave me hope to finally be able to transition out of a toxic relationship.”

As Maria paid off her debt, she also took advantage of Consolidated Credit’s free financial education resources. She learned how to take steps to rebuild her credit and how to achieve and maintain a high credit score.

Maria talks about what she's learned from Consolidated Credit's free financial education

“I knew the importance of having good credit, but now I have been so diligent in my spending habits. The financial education has given me the tools to know how to save, which has given me the power to get my own place and continue strengthening my credit and savings.”

Maria now understands how to have a healthy relationship with credit, which has helped her get out of the bad personal relationship with her ex.

I am happy to say that I am living alone with my son and was able to walk away from that relationship. Knowing that creditors are not calling me at all times, focusing on my family instead without that dread of how I was going to make it is all the celebration I need.”

Maria is moving forward to better days now…

“I have been able to secure a credit card which I monitor so closely and make sure I do not spend more than 30% of the available credit. I have been able to receive credit increases as a result of my responsibility.”

Maria expresses her thanks for helping her find freedom after financial abuse

“Thank you for giving me this time to express the positive result of joining your program and helping me achieve my financial goal. Giving my son a safe place to live is beyond what any and every parent strives for. Thank you so very much

And she encourages anyone facing a similar situation to seek help, so they can find their own financial stability and freedom.

The beginning is always filled with apprehension and it makes you face the financial dilemma that you are in. However, the most important things to member is that the agents are not there to judge how we got there, they truly care about how to correct and show us what we need to do in order to gain financial freedom and gain financial knowledge.”