If you’re a Coloradan struggling with different types of debts, such as medical, payday, auto, or student loans, you’re not alone. The state has one of the highest consumer debt burdens in the country.
Fortunately, Colorado has many debt relief and debt consolidation programs for those who need financial assistance. It also has multiple state and federal protections in place for people trying to get a handle on their debt. If you’re a Coloradan looking for ways to become debt-free, here’s what you need to know.
Colorado Ranks #4 for Consumer Debt
According to The Denver Post, Colorado’s per capita debt burden is $71,340, making it the fourth-highest in the country. The only places with a higher debt burden are the District of Columbia ($86,730), Hawaii ($72,590), and California ($71,860).
Other Colorado Debt Statistics
Consumer debt includes things like credit cards, student loans, mortgage debt, payday loans, auto loans, and personal loans. Here are some recent statistics about the state of Colorado’s debt burden:
- Average credit card debt per household: $5,541
- Average credit utilization ratio: 27.83%
- Total outstanding student loan debt (federal and private): $29.3 billion
- Percentage of accounts that are at least 90 days past due: 6.3%
- Average student loan debt: $36,822
- Average credit score in Colorado: 728
The Centennial State also has an overall cost of living index of 105.6, making it one of the more expensive areas to live in.
The Best Debt Consolidation Companies in Colorado
It’s not always easy to find a legit debt consolidation firm. We’ve done the research and picked the best debt consolidation firms in the state of Colorado. Our criteria include online reputation, breadth of services offered, and demonstration of expertise. All have at least an A rating with the Better Business Bureau.
Trident Debt Solutions, Inc. – Denver
Trident Debt Solutions was founded in 2003 and is operated by a licensed bankruptcy attorney experienced in financial consultancy and debt relief. This debt-relief company has successfully helped thousands of customers reduce their debt burden. It specializes in high-interest credit card payoff, debt counseling, debt management, and debt settlement. On average, it takes 4 to 18 months to complete the debt settlement process with generally positive results.
Trident has an A+ rating on BBB.
- 1444 Stuart St, Denver, CO, 80204-1245
- (303) 857-5633
- Rating: 8.49/10
Trident Debt Solutions, Inc. – Boulder
As one of the nation’s leading debt-relief companies, Trident stands apart from other debt settlement companies because customers work directly with an experienced attorney throughout the process. The attorney, Stephen Craig, is an expert credit card debt negotiator and debt settlement lawyer with a solid track record of helping people reduce their unsecured debts.
Trident has an A+ rating on BBB.
- 135 Oneida St., Boulder, CO, 80303
- (303) 857-5633
- Rating: 8.6/10
Synergy Credit Services, LLC
Backed by 20+ years’ in the industry, Synergy Credit Services is a reputable credit repair company. It uses an effective 6-step process to help people improve their credit. It also offers an initial credit consultation that includes a free credit score and report review, a negative item review, and a customized credit improvement plan. Synergy’s website also has financial resources related to debt consolidation, auto loan refinancing, and more.
The company has a C+ rating on BBB.
- 2821 S Parker Rd Ste. 265, Aurora, CO, 80014-2708
- (866) 709-9461
- Rating: 8.7/10
People’s Credit Repair, Inc.
People’s Credit Repair is dedicated to helping people improve and rebuild their credit score. Tit offers two services: a one-time credit analysis service and a monthly credit service.
With the one-time credit analysis, a qualified agent will review the individual’s credit report and identify any errors. Then, they’ll create a customized plan to fix any errors and give your credit score a boost.
With the monthly credit service, customers receive ongoing credit education and support. This service also includes debt consolidation options and dispute letters sent on the customer’s behalf.
People’s Credit Repair is BBB accredited with an A+ rating.
- 1309 N Vermillion Ct, Pueblo West, CO, 81007
- (800) 485-9114
- Rating: 8.91/10
Money Management International, Inc.
Founded in 1997, Money Management International has locations throughout the country. It specializes in credit card debt repayment, debt management, bankruptcy support, and home purchases. It also helps those struggling with high-interest debt through a debt management plan. Besides that, the company has free educational resources designed to help people understand and repair their credit.
It has an A+ rating on BBB.
- 3190 S Vaughn Way Ste 550, Aurora, CO, 80014-3538
- (800) 308-2227
- Rating: 9.13/10
Integrity Debt Solutions, LLC
Integrity Debt Solutions is a Christian-owned and operated company specializing in debt relief and debt settlement. It has more than 15 years of experience in the industry. On average, customers see a debt reduction ranging from 35% to 70% and a credit score increase by 75 to 120 points after using their services.
The company is accredited on BBB with an A+ rating.
- 2366 Primo Rd Unit 205, Highlands Ranch, CO, 80129-6567
- (303) 914-0233
- Rating: 9.24/10
Centennial Funding, LLC
Based in Denver, Centennial Funding helps customers with debt consolidation on personal loans up to $100,000. Its debt consolidation loans come with a quick approval process, no prepayment penalties, and low monthly payments. Centennial Funding also offers a free initial consultation to help customers decide if this service is right for them.
It has an A+ rating on BBB and 3.2 stars on Trustpilot.
- 999 18th St Ste 3000, Denver, CO, 80202
- (877) 701-5114
- Rating: 9.47/10
How Can I Get Help Paying My Bills in Colorado?
Here are some Colorado-based organizations that can help you pay your utility bills:
- Colorado Weatherization Assistance Program to cut energy costs and increase the energy efficiency in low-income households.
- Colorado’s Affordable Residential Energy Program for help with overall energy costs and weatherization.
- Low-income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP), a federally-funded program for households making no more than 60% of their state’s median income.
Food Banks in Colorado
Care and Share Food Bank
- 2605 Preamble Pt, Colorado Springs, CO 80915
- (719) 528-1247
Rocky Mountain region
Food Bank of the Rockies
- 10700 E 45th Ave, Denver, CO 80239
- (303) 371-9250
Food Bank for Larimer County
- 1301 Blue Spruce Dr, Fort Collins, CO 80524
- (970) 493-4477
North Denver Cares Food Pantry
- 6900 W 117th Ave, Broomfield, CO 80020
- (303) 466-2115
Find a complete list of Colorado food resources at foodpantries.org.
Debt Collection in Colorado
Every state has certain federal protections under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). But most states, including Colorado, also have specific debt collection laws and protections unique to them.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is a federal law that offers consumers certain protections against third-party debt collectors, such as debt collection agencies. It covers consumer debts like credit cards, student loans, mortgages, or medical bills. However, it doesn’t protect you from creditors pursuing personal debts.
Under this law, third-party debt collectors cannot do the following:
- Contact the debtor (person owing the debt) during certain times, such as far outside of standard business hours. The exception is if the debtor and agency made a prior agreement.
- Call the debtor at work or home if they’ve explicitly told them not to.
- Pursue debts using unfair or deceptive practices.
If a debt collector violates the FDCPA, you can legally sue them in either federal or state court within 365 days of said violation.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act offers general guidance regarding your rights as a consumer. However, Colorado has also enacted several codes that further regulate debt collection practices.
The Colorado Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (CFDCPA) is a state law that limits what debt collectors and debt collection agencies can do. In particular, it prevents them from:
- Harassing debtors at home or at work
- Hounding borrowers who are currently participating in a payment agreement
- Using unfair or misleading tactics to collect debts
- Pressuring debtors into paying debts via threats of wage garnishment or contacting their employer
- Sharing confidential debt-related information with third-party agencies
Just like with the FDCPA, this state law doesn’t apply to personal debts, or creditors trying to collect their own debts. It does, however, protect the following assets:
- 75% of your income
- $7,500 of your car’s value
- $75,000 of your home’s value
Colorado doesn’t offer any other exemptions or protections for bank accounts, so they may be subject to collection efforts.
What is the Statute of Limitations on Debt in Colorado?
Colorado’s statute of limitations, the time in which a debt collector can sue you for unpaid debts, is six years. This is true of credit card debts, state tax debt, medical debt, and mortgage debt. The one exception is auto loans, which have a statute of limitations of four years.
Once the statute of limitations expires, the old debt becomes “time-barred,” meaning debt collectors can no longer sue you for it. It also means they can’t garnish your wages or place a lien against your car or home.
Even after the statute of limitations expires, you’ll still owe money for any unpaid debts. The debts will also still affect your credit score. Debt collectors can also contact you via phone or letter to try to get you to pay.
If You’re Being Harassed by Debt Collectors
File a complaint with each of the following if debt collectors are harassing you at work or at home:
- Colorado’s Attorney General’s office
- Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)
Filing for Bankruptcy in Colorado
Bankruptcy is almost always considered a last resort. But it could provide you with a fresh start if you’re suffering from extreme financial hardship. There are two main types of bankruptcy: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.
- Chapter 7: This is the most common type of personal bankruptcy – 67.94% of all non-business filings are for this. With a Chapter 7, the debtor’s assets are liquidated, or sold, to repay their creditors. Once this is done, the court erases most other consumer debts.
- Chapter 13: The other option is a Chapter 13. With it, you get to keep your property and assets. However, you’ll have to set up a repayment plan with your creditors to pay as many of the remaining debts as possible. After completing the plan, which takes three to five years, the court discharges any remaining debts.
To determine which bankruptcy to file, you’ll need to pass a means test. This will determine if you can afford to repay a portion of what you owe. If you can’t, then a Chapter 7 may be right for you. If you can, you may have to file for a Chapter 13.
There are many specific legal and practical requirements for both types of bankruptcy. Before filing, speak with a bankruptcy attorney for legal advice.
Colorado residents also have plenty of bankruptcy resources. For example, the District of Colorado of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court offers bankruptcy information and resources for residents. The Denver Bar Association has monthly clinics for those considering a DIY route to bankruptcy.
If you’re looking for an attorney or pro bono option, check with the following:
- Colorado Bar Association
- Colorado Legal Services
- Metro Volunteer Lawyers
- Other local legal aid organizations
Payday Lending Laws in Colorado: Prohibited
Payday lending is illegal in many states, including Colorado. In 2018, Colorado passed Proposition 111, which curtailed the state’s payday loan industry. The law capped interest rates and set other payday lending limitations in the state to the following:
- Maximum loan amount: $500
- Maximum Interest Rate (APR): 36.00%
- Minimum loan term: Six months or 180 days
- Maximum loan repayment term: None
- Number of rollovers allowed: One
- Number of outstanding loans allowed: No maximum, as long as the total balance is no more than $500
- Cooling-off period between loans: 30 days
- Other finance charges: Up to 20% in origination fees on the first $300, plus 7.5% on any amounts exceeding $300. Maintenance fees up to $30 a month or $7.50 per $100 loaned. Up to $25 in one non-sufficient funds (NSF) fee.
- Criminal action: Prohibited
How to File for Unemployment in Colorado
To file for unemployment in Colorado, visit https://cdle.colorado.gov/unemployment/file-a-claim to learn the eligibility requirements and start the application process. Make sure you have the following:
- Proof of income (ex. pay stubs, federal tax returns, letter of employment, etc.)
- Name and address of your place (or places) of employment in the past 18 months
- The dates you worked
- Pay rate
- Social Security number
Then, click “Start a Claim” and follow the prompts to apply for benefits.
Colorado Consumer Information
The Colorado Office of the Attorney General enforces lending laws within the state. Its Consumer Credit Unit manages licensure and registration programs for companies and individuals involved in consumer lending, debt collection, debt management, and student loan servicing.
The office investigates any complaints about these lenders and creditors and takes the appropriate disciplinary or legal action against those who don’t follow the laws. This could include fining or disbanding them. You can file a complaint directly from the main website.
How to Make a Complaint in Colorado
Need to file a complaint about an illegal payday lending activity within the state of Colorado? Here’s the contact information:
- Regulator: Colorado Office of the Attorney General
- Address: 1300 Broadway 10th Floor, Denver, CO 80203
- Phone number: 720-508-6000
- Website: https://coag.gov/file-complaint/
Alternatively, submit a complaint to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
The Bottom Line
Ultimately, Colorado has many options for debt relief, including debt consolidation, debt settlement, and budgeting help. Stay aware of the federal and state consumer protection laws so you know what debt collectors can and cannot do. That way, you can protect yourself from scams or unlawful activity.
Colorado Debt Statistics
|Debt Per Capita||$2,848|
|Debt Per Capita Rank||32|
Source: World Population Review
Colorado Credit Card Debt Statistics
|Average Credit Card Balance||$6,416|
|Average Credit Score||728|
|Average Credit Card Balance Rank (1 = Highest Balance)||8|
|Average Credit Score Rank (1=Highest Score)||14|
Mortgage Debt in Colorado
|Mortgage Debt Per Capita||$297,813|
|Average 30 yr Mortgage Rate||5.5%|
|Average 15 yr Mortgage Rate||4.7%|
|Median Home Value||$394,600|
|Avg Outstanding Mortgage Debt||$297,813|
|Difference Between Median Value and Mortgage Debt||$175,626|
|Average Homeowner VantageScore 3.0||732|
Source: Federal Reserve, Value Penguin, Experian
Payday Loan Debt in Colorado
|Payday Loan Legal Status||Prohibited|
|Maximum Payday Loan Amount||$500|
|Maximum Payday Loan Term||6 months|
|Maximum Payday Loan APR||36%|
Source: Colorado Government Website
Unemployment and the Economy in Colorado
|Poverty Rate – Population||11.5%|
|Poverty Rate – Population – Rank||14|
|Poverty Rate – Family||9.3%|
|Poverty Rate – Family – Rank||37|
|Unemployment Rate (March 2022)||3.7%|
|GDP Growth Rank||11|
Source: U.S. Census, Bureau of Labor Statistics
Student Loan Debt in Colorado
|Percent of Population with Student Loans||13.4%|
|Average Student Loan Debt||$34,497|
|Number of Colorado Residents Who Owe Student Loans||774,000|
|Average Debt Rank||37|
|Percent of Graduates in the Class of 2020 with Student Loan Debt||49%|
|Percent with Debt Rank||40|
|Usable Institutions (BA-Granting)||16|
|Percent of Graduates at Schools with Usable Data||79%|
|Nonfederal debt of graduates, as percent of total debt||20%|
|Fall enrollment – Undergraduate total (IPEDS)||251,778|
|Tuition and Fees (in-district/in-state)||$12,355|
|Total Cost of Attendance (on-campus)||$30,670|
|Percent of Institutional Grants that are Need-Based||67%|
Source: Value Penguin, TICAS
Cost of Living in Colorado
|Annual Mean Wage (All Occupations)||$63,026|
|Median Monthly Rent for a One Bedroom Apartment||$1,483|
|Value of a Dollar||$0.98|
|Cost of Living (indexed)||128.7|
|Cost of Living Rank||33|
|Grocery Cost Index||99.5|
|Housing Cost Index||116.7|
|Utilities Cost Index||87.9|
|Transportation Cost Index||103|
|Miscellaneous Cost Index||105.6|
Source: World Population Review