Advertiser Disclosure

Borrower Beware: Equitable Acceptance Corporation

You never have to pay for student loan help when plenty of free options exist.
Loans, Student Loans
At NerdWallet, we adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.
We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.

Equitable Acceptance Corp. partners with student “debt relief” companies, including some businesses we’ve placed on the NerdWallet Student Loan Watch List for illegal or questionable dealings.

You never have to pay this company or any other for student loan help. You can get legitimate student loan help for free through the U.S. Department of Education or your student loan servicer.

But if you already signed an agreement involving Equitable, it might not be so easy to extract yourself, borrowers told NerdWallet.

Why did we flag this business?

In June 2018, NerdWallet reported that Equitable was under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission and several state attorneys general after a rise in consumer complaints. Equitable and another company also have been sued by the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority, or MOHELA, for allegedly conspiring to hijack a MOHELA customer’s accounts. Equitable denies the claim.

Equitable finances student “debt relief” fees charged by other companies. Borrowers say they thought they had struck a deal for loan help with one business, only to discover that they had taken on a new loan with Equitable in excess of $1,000. If monthly payments aren’t made, borrowers said, the delinquency is reported to credit bureaus. Equitable told NerdWallet that it requires borrowers to acknowledge that they know they are taking out a loan several times during the sign-up process.

At the time of this posting, the Better Business Bureau gave the company an “F” rating, down from “D+” in 2017.

What about other ‘debt relief’ companies?

The Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau have been cracking down on “debt relief” companies that rip off student-loan holders. Such companies often charge borrowers to fill out free government applications, or pocket money paid to service loans. These scams can push borrowers into default on their student debt and harm their credit scores.

NerdWallet started its Student Loan Watch List in 2017 to flag the student-loan businesses hit by enforcement actions, court judgments or liens, or bad ratings from the Better Business Bureau.

Source: NerdWallet reporting.

Sign up for our email alerts to help you protect your wallet. Join the conversation and share your stories with NerdWallet’s investigative team on Facebook.