North Dakota Resident Debt Relief

InCharge provides free, nonprofit credit counseling and debt management programs to North Dakota residents. If you live in North Dakota and need help paying off your credit card debt, InCharge can help you.

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North Dakota’s nickname — “The Peace Garden State” — belies the somewhat harsh economic struggles that the state has endured in recent years and ones it continues to be plagued by well into 2021.

The hope, however, is that things will somehow turn around when the calendar flips to 2022 — despite some rather troubling signs.

North Dakota’s economy continues to show stagnation and slowing economic recovery in 2021’s third quarter, according to the North Dakota State University’s Center for the Study of Public Choice and Private Enterprise report. Also, the North Dakota Forecast Model offered up predictions that the state will continue to see declines in gross state product, labor force participation, total wages and salaries in 2021’a fourth quarter and possibly into 2022.

There is some good news, however, in the Fargo and North Forks metro areas. Those regions have displayed markers of recovery and growth, particularly in the labor force and housing market areas, according to the NDSU study. Bismark, however, continues to display very few positive signs of recovery and financial troubles for the citizens there could linger into 2022.

The areas that have failed to stabilize themselves in North Dakota have resulted in many citizens facing serious financial concerns and mounting debt. Fortunately, there are private and governmental agencies in place to help North Dakotans in need of financial assistance.

Debt Relief Options for North Dakota residents

A great option for North Dakotans struggling financially is InCharge Debt Solutions’ debt management program. InCharge’s certified credit counselors can help customers consolidate credit card debt, shrink interest rates and create payment plans that best mesh with them financially.

On average, consumers were hit with crippling interest rates of 16.5% in 2021 by the credit card companies. North Dakotans already struggling to pay off those rising bills might be hammered by interest rates as high as 25% by creditors. InCharge can work closely with the credit card companies to get those interest rates down to approximately 8%.

InCharge is confident that it can help customers rid themselves of their credit card debt in 3-to-5 years. However, clients understand this much: They will need to stick to a detailed spending budget in order to get rid of their credit card debt within the 3-to-5-year timeframe.

In addition to managing debt relief plans, InCharge handles monthly payments and it distributes them to creditors in previously agreed-upon amounts. To apply for this easy-to-use plan, InCharge consumers have the options of going online or contacting InCharge on the phone.

Also, there’s another important detail to consider about your debt-consolidation plan: Your credit score will not be a factor in enrolling in the plan. Clients who have unfortunately seen their credit scores dip can still qualify for debt-management plans.

Here are some of the helpful programs available to North Dakotans in difficult financial positions:

  • Debt Settlement – Debt settlement is one of the options that can be used for relief from credit card debt, personal loan payments or expensive medical bills. Choosing this plan might be beneficial because it could help you lower your payments substantially. Creditors still have to pay a brokered lower amount that settles the original debt. However, while choosing this option could be an appealing way to eliminate debt, it could end up causing future financial woes. Selecting this option will result in the debt settlement being on your credit report for the next seven years, and mostly likely, it will severely harm your chances of getting credit for major purchases in the future.
  • Credit Card Debt Forgiveness – This program is offered by a select group of nonprofit credit counseling agencies. It also allows consumers to pay less than what they owe. The difference between this and traditional debt settlement is that the creditors have agreed in advance to reduce the amount owed by 40%-50%. Consumers can start reducing the amount owed with the first monthly payment and eliminate the debt in 36 months.
  • Debt Consolidation Loan – If your credit score is strong, you most likely will be eligible for a low-interest debt consolidation loan. You will still have to pay off the consolidation loan, but you won’t be penalized so drastically by the steep interest rates that the credit card companies often charge customers.
  • Bankruptcy – Selecting this might appear to be the most appetizing option because it will help you make your credit card debt disappear. However, this choice should only be used when other options have been completely exhausted. While bankruptcy does has appealing, short-term benefits, the financial ding will likely be damaging for years to come. Filing for bankruptcy will impact your credit score in a negative way for approximately 7-to-10 years. The credit score hit will likely impact your odds of ever getting a home or vehicle loan in the next decade. Before opting to file for bankruptcy to rid yourself of debt make sure to totally think through the damage that this option will have on your credit score for years to come.
  • Do-It-Yourself Plans – If you are the adventurous type who prefers a plan you personally put together, you might consider a DIY-style debt management program. DIY plans can certainly assist you in building a plan that better fits with your needs financially.

North Dakota Debt Resources

North Dakotans experiencing a difficult time securing employment, finding suitable housing or paying their bills could qualify for financial assistance through a variety of federal and state programs. Here are some of the available services that North Dakotans in need can turn to for affordable housing, safe child care, bill-payment plans, legal services or other essentials:

  • Children’s Health Insurance Program: The CHIP program is designed to help North Dakota children who don’t have insurance coverage, are 18 years of age or younger and live with families with qualifying incomes. CHIP is designed to meet the needs of working families who can’t afford health insurance coverage for their children, yet earn to much to qualify for Medicaid.
  • Helping Housing Across North Dakota: The HAND program offers support to lower-income households by way of grants to single-family rehabilitation programs. Funding is available to non-profit organizations.
  • Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program: The LIHEAP is in place to help low-income families with home heating costs. The program covers insulation services, furnace cleaning, chimney cleaning and inspection and emergency assistance.
  • Child Care Assistance: This plan was put in place to help income-eligible families pay for their child care while work, attend school or receive work training. In most cases, families pay a co-payment which goes toward the cost of the care for the children. That co-payment is determined based on a family’s income and household size.
  • Basic Care Assistance Program: The assistance plan helps qualifying individuals pay a portion of their cost for care while living in a licensed basic care facility. The program is in place for individuals 65 or older or an individual at least 18 years of age who is blind, disabled or requires services provided by a basic care facility.
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: SNAP was created to help low-income North Dakotans meet their nutritional needs. Customers seeking help from this program should be advised that the USDA recently warned of a scam in place to defraud SNAP recipients. Be aware of any potential scam using text messaging to try and gain your personal information. If you think the text message is a scam, delete it and notify SNAP officials.
  • ND Rent Help: This Rent, Utility and Housing Stability Help plan offers rent assistance to prevent evictions and maintain housing and financial stability to qualifying North Dakota renters. The plan can help out for a maximum of 12 months at a time. The plan also offers help paying off past-due utility bills.
  • Crossroads Program: The plan was initiated to support parents who are teenagers or up to age 21 by helping pay some of their child care and transportation costs so that they can continue their education. To be eligible for the program, the young parent must be a North Dakotan, pursuing an education and they must be the primary caregiver of the child.

North Dakota Debt Statistics

Here is a look at some of the debt that North Dakotans have been saddled with as they head into the final quarter of 2021. Their hope, of course, is to eliminate as much of that debt as possible and have a more prosperous 2022.

  • Mortgage Debt: The average mortgage balances among North Dakotans rose from $162,774 in 2019 to $167,883 in 2020 — a 3.1% climb. That rise in home debt was tied for the 20th largest increase in the nation.
  • Auto Loan Debt: This could be an area of concern of years to come as auto loan debt number continue to climb in North Dakota. The average amount of auto loan debt climbed from $20,728 in 2019 to $21,834 in 2020 among North Dakotans. That 5% increase in the amount owed from 2019 to 2020 is tied for the eighth largest hike in the nation.
  • Credit Card Debt: The news is a little more encouraging in North Dakota in terms of credit card debt. North Dakotans have, on average, just $5,265 in credit card debt — the ninth lowest amount in the U.S. That total is well below the national average of $6,194 credit card debt in 2021.
  • Household Debt: North Dakotans have done a relatively good job of keeping their debts in check despite the rampant hard times in recent years. On average, North Dakotans owe $50,800. That amount of debt is 84% of what residents bring home on a yearly basis. There are 25 states in America that spent at least 90% of their annual income, so North Dakotans have managed to pocket some of their hard-earned cash rather than spending so much.
  • Student Loan Debt: Collectively, North Dakota ranks fourth in the nation in terms of the least amount of student loan debt at $2.4 billion. For some perspective, Californians owe $138 billion as a whole. On average, North Dakotans owe approximately $29,200. That amount of student debt is the lowest in the nation.
  • Credit Scores: Despite the financial difficulties for many brought on by lean economic times, North Dakotans have done a great job of keeping their credit high. On average, North Dakotans have a credit score of 714. Not only does that number rank as the seventh best in the nation, it is significantly better than the national average of 695, a 13-year high.   
  • Identity Theft: North Dakota is a very safe state when in terms of its residents avoiding becoming a victims of identity theft. Out on 100,000 people, there were only 166 North Dakotans that fell victim to identity theft. In all, only 1,266 people in North Dakota were victimized by identity theft — the 11th lowest number in the nation.
  • Bankruptcy and Foreclosures: As of September of 2021, North Dakota had just 241 bankruptcy filings — the third-fewest amount in the nation. Approximately 91% of those bankruptcy filings have been Chapter 7 with individuals looking to free themselves of unsecured debts (ones not backed by collateral). As for foreclosures, North Dakota has the sixth-lowest rate in the country (when including the District of Columbia). In the nation’s fourth least populated state that translated to just 11 foreclosures for North Dakota’s 373,063 households.

About The Author

Pat McManamon

Pat McManamon has been a journalist for more than 25 years. His experience has mainly been in sports, but the world of athletics requires knowledge of business and economics. He also can balance a checkbook and keep track of investments with Quicken quite adeptly. McManamon’s experience includes covering the NFL for ESPN, LeBron James for the Akron Beacon Journal and AOL Fanhouse, and the Florida Gators and Miami Hurricanes for the Palm Beach Post.


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