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 destroys 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 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…
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 a 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. 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.