On average, residents of Missouri have a smaller debt burden than they do in other states. The cost of living is also the 12th lowest in the country. Even so, many Missourians still struggle with debt. If you’re one of them, know that there are several state and federal laws and resources to help you find debt relief.
Missouri Ranks 39th for Consumer Debt
Missouri ranks 39th in consumer debt nationwide. As of 2021, the average total household debt burden was $77,537. This is a slight increase from the previous year’s figure, which was $75,292.
Along with this, around 46,000 Missouri residents mistakenly received payment from the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation for a total of $150 million during the pandemic. Some of these individuals are eligible for a repayment waiver through the state, but most of them now face new financial problems. For many, this overpayment may mean a lien on their home, garnished wages, or a withheld tax refund.
The situation has led to frustration and a greater debt burden for many Missourians. Many residents are also dealing with accounts in collections, high credit card debt, and other financial difficulties.
Other Missouri Debt Statistics
Throughout the United States, consumer debt has seen a slight increase. In Missouri, here are some of the key findings:
- Credit card delinquency rate: 7.10%
- Credit card debt balance per capita: $5,601
- Average credit score: 707
- Total outstanding student loan debt: $29.2 billion
- Student loan debt per borrower: $32,634
- Overall percentage of Missouri residents with debt in collections: 35%
The Best Debt Consolidation Companies in Missouri
Looking for Missouri debt relief? Here are some of the top debt consolidation companies in the Show-Me State.
Money Management International, Inc.
Management International was established in 1997 and has various locations throughout the country. Its mission is to help consumers find debt relief by helping them with credit card repayment, bankruptcy support, debt management, and home purchases. The company also offers debt management plans to those struggling with high-interest consumer debt. Online, it has free educational resources for people who want to build or repair their credit.
- 3636 S Geyer Rd Ste 100 St. Louis, MO, 63127-1237
- (800) 308-2227
- Rating: 9.48/10
PCS Debt Relief
PCS Debt Relief offers a free consultation and has a debt-relief program that typically lasts between 6 and 24 months. It doesn’t charge any upfront, cancellation, or monthly fees. When you work with PCS, you’re paired with an experienced debt advisor who will guide you through a debt management solution.
This company also has debt settlement and debt negotiation programs. These programs are designed for consumer, business, and credit card debt. PCS is BBB accredited with an A+ rating and 4.2/5 stars. On Google, it has 4.8 stars.
- 16024 Manchester Rd #200 Ellisville, MO 63011
- (636) 209-4481
- Rating: 4.8/5
Mid America Debt Relief
Mid America Debt Relief provides virtual consultations and debt solutions for people who have consumer debts such as credit cards, medical bills, personal loans, and debts that are in collections. It also has personal debt consolidation, debt negotiations, debt settlement, and other debt management solutions.
With this Missouri debt-relief company, customers get a free, 30-minute consultation to determine their eligibility and the best option for them. Most debt-relief programs take no more than 48 months to complete. The fee structure depends on the program and the amount of debt relief needed, but Mid America does offer several discounts to seniors and veterans. The company has 4.8 stars on Google.
- 2 Cityplace Dr. Suite 200 St. Louis, MO 63141
- (636) 223-5900
- Rating: 4.8/5
ShowME Credit Solutions – Credit Repair & Debt Settlement Services
ShowMe Credit Solutions is a credit repair company that sends out debt validation disputes to collection companies and the credit bureaus. Its financial staff has 10 years of combined experience in repairing people’s credit and removing negative items and errors on credit reports. Services also include identity theft coverage.
With ShowMe Credit Solutions, you work with a credit specialist throughout the entire process. The monthly fee is $99.
On BBB, the company has an A+ rating. On Google, it has 4.5 stars.
- 506 W Pearce Blvd. Wentzville, MO 63385
- (866) 249-9796
- Rating: 4.5/5
C24 Credit Solutions
C24 Credit Solutions is an expert in credit repair. It helps consumers by sending out disputes to the credit bureaus and collection agencies. It can also help remove items like late payments, bankruptcies, repossessions, tax liens, incorrect personal info, and more. One other optional service is credit report monitoring.
The company is committed to long-term credit repair and can help clients create a personalized strategy to ensure financial health in the future. Most people see results and a credit score boost within 90 days. Plus, C24 can help consumers build credit by including things like rental payments on their reports.
- 9648 Olive Blvd, Olivette, MO 63132
- (314) 282-4500
- Rating: 5/5
Credit CDU offers convenient, affordable credit repair services. It also provides credit repair tips to help people get back and stay on track. It uses a step-by-step process to help remove negative items and errors from your credit report. Unlike similar companies, it serves as more of a guide than a direct credit repair service.
On BBB, it has an A+ rating.
- 578 Town Hall Ct. St. Louis, MO 63141
- (314) 439-1211
- Rating: 5/5
How Can I Get Help Paying My Bills in Missouri?
Missouri offers several programs and resources to residents dealing with a financial crisis. This includes help with:
- Dealing with debt collectors
- Legal aid
- Medical expenses
- Rent or mortgage payments
- Utility payments
The state also has several grants and financial assistance programs for specific financial situations.
If you need help with utility bills, contact one of these organizations:
- FFY 2022 LIHEAP State Plan – The Low Income Home Energy Assitance Program helps with heating, cooling, weatherization, and energy crises.
- FFY 2022 LIHWAP State Plan – The Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program is designed to help the community and individual residents with their household water needs.
- Missouri Warming Centers – There are warming centers available throughout the state.
- Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services – The department offers various programs to seniors, professionals, caregivers, families, and agencies. Programs include immunizations, food programs, oral health, long-term care, and more.
- Missouri Community Action Network – This program operates throughout the entire state serving low-income families to help them find financial security. It also offers education and job training, food and health resources, and more.
- Missouri Division of Energy – The Division can connect Missourians to the energy resources they need while educating them on sustainable economic growth.
Besides these programs, here are a few others that could help Missourians struggling financially:
- Child Care Assistance Program: Managed by the Missouri Department of Social Services, this program helps eligible families find affordable child care.
- Missouri Rx Plan (MoRx): Missouri’s State Pharmacy Assistance Program pays up to 50% of out-of-pocket costs on prescription medications that aren’t covered by private insurance or Medicare Part D. Contact them here: 573-751-3425
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)/Food Stamps: SNAP helps pay for food and provides nutrition education to lower-income households. Contact: 800-392-1261
- Missouri MC+ and Medical Assistance for Families: This program offers medical insurance to minors. Contact: 1-800-392-2161
- Lifeline Program: Lifeline provides telephone assistance and phone service discounts to low-income families and elderly Missourians. It may also help residents find a free cell phone for emergency use.
- Government Assistance and Social Services: The Missouri Department of Social Services also has resources and provides assistance with energy bills, food, and health care. In some cases, it can also provide cash assistance.
Eligibility for these programs is based on several factors, such as household or individual income, family size, and region. Some programs work in sync with one another. For example, if you’re eligible for SNAP benefits, you may also be able to get energy or water assistance through LIHWAP or LIHEAP.
Missouri Food Banks
There are six primary food banks in Missouri, as well as multiple pantries and 1,500+ community feeding programs.
Northwest Missouri and Northeast Kansas
- 915 Douglas St. St Joseph, MO 64505
- (816) 364-3663
- 3801 Topping Ave. Kansas City, MO 64129
- (816) 929-3000
Central and Northeast Missouri
- 2101 Vandiver Dr. Columbia, MO 65202
- (573) 473-1020
East Missouri and Illinois
- 70 Corporate Woods Drive Bridgeton, MO 63044
- (314) 292-6262
- 600 State Highway H Box 190 Sikeston, MO 63801
- (573) 471-1818
- 2810 N Cedarbrook AvenSpringfield, MO 65803
- (417) 865-3411
If you’re looking for a local food pantry in your area, check out Feeding Missouri’s map.
The Missouri Division of Finance regulates financial institutions — ex. consumer credit facilities like payday lenders — in the state. It also monitors these institutions’ compliance with state and federal law to ensure people receive the proper protections. The division also:
- Provides vital information on consumer rights and lender responsibilities
- Ensures proper licensing of financial institutions operating within the state
- Responds to consumer inquiries and complaints
Where to Make a Complaint
If you have a complaint about a payday lender or another financial institution, do so with the Missouri Division of Finance. Here’s their contact information:
- Regulator: Missouri Division of Finance
- Address: Truman State Office Building, Room 630, Jefferson City, MO 65102
- Phone: (573) 751-3242
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Link to website: https://finance.mo.gov/consumers/consumer_complaint.php
Also, submit a complaint to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), a federal agency that protects consumers from predatory financial institutions like payday lenders.
Debt Collection in Missouri
Missouri residents benefit from federal protections under the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The act governs debt collection practices within the entire country.
Unlike other states, Missouri doesn’t regulate or license collection agencies. These agencies still must comply with the FDCPA, though. Some of these protections include:
- Limitations on when, how, and where debt collectors can contact you.
- General debt collection practices (for example, debt collectors cannot use misleading tactics, threats, or other fraudulent methods to get you to pay).
For more information, go to the Federal Trade Commission’s website: http://www.ftc.gov
What is the Statute of Limitations on Debt in Missouri?
The statute of limitations is the period in which a debt collector can initiate a lawsuit to collect on your outstanding debts. Once the statute expires, there’s not much point in pursuing legal measures since the court can no longer require you to pay your balance. You will still be responsible for the debt, though.
Missouri’s statutes of limitations are as follows:
- Mortgage debt: 10 years
- Medical debt: 10 years
- Credit card debt: 5 years
- Auto loan debt: 4 years
- State tax debt: 5 years
If You’re Being Harassed by Debt Collectors
If you’ve been harassed by debt collectors, file a complaint with Missouri’s Attorney General’s Office, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
Filing for Bankruptcy in Missouri
For Missourians who truly cannot manage their debt burden, bankruptcy is another potential debt relief option. Keep in mind, that it’s considered a last resort for a reason. Filing may destroy your credit and remain on your report for 7 to 10 years. However, if your credit has already tanked and you need a fresh start, bankruptcy could be the solution. Before making a decision, consult a bankruptcy attorney to make sure it’s right for you.
Usually, Chapter 7 is the most common type of personal bankruptcy. With it, the debtor’s (your) assets are sold, or liquidated, to repay creditors. The process usually takes around six months. Once it’s completed, most remaining unsecured debts are erased.
The other common form of personal bankruptcy is Chapter 13. With this type, you get to keep your assets and property. You must set up and follow a 3- to 5-year repayment plan in which you pay your creditors. During this period, a court-appointed bankruptcy trustee will control your spending.
Most people don’t get to choose which bankruptcy type they file. For example, you’ll need to pass a means test to qualify for Chapter 7. There are also certain pros and cons to filing one over the other. For example, if you’re behind on mortgage payments but want to keep your home, Chapter 13 could be better.
There are some costs associated with filing for bankruptcy.
If you’re looking for low-cost bankruptcy assistance or free legal aid in Missouri, check with the Missouri Legal Services. Or check with the United States Bankruptcy Court in Missouri to see the filing requirements.
There are a few exemptions for those who file for bankruptcy in Missouri. Anything covered by an exemption is protected, regardless of if you file for Chapter 7 or 13. However, the property or asset may be treated differently based on which chapter you file.
Missouri Bankruptcy Exemptions
Additionally, there are certain requirements you must meet to be eligible for these exemptions. For example, you need to live in the state for at least 180 days to file for bankruptcy. To qualify for most exemptions, you must first have lived in Missouri for 730+ days.
Common bankruptcy exemptions include:
- Homestead exemption
- Motor vehicle exemption
- “Wildcard” exemption (this protects any property of your choosing)
Common personal property bankruptcy exemptions include:
- Furniture, clothing, books, crops, appliances, animals, and instruments (max value: $3,000)
- Burial grounds up to $100
- Certain health aids or equipment
- Wedding rings (max value: $1,500) and/or other jewelry (max value: $500)
- Wrongful death awards
- Firearms, accessories, and ammunition (max value: $1,500)
- Health savings accounts
- Tools required for your trade or business (max value: $3,000)
- Child support, alimony, or maintenance (max value: $750 per month)
Retirement and Insurance Benefits
Retirement and insurance exemptions include:
- Life insurance dividends, loan or cash surrender value, and interest, as long as the policy was purchased more than six months before filing (max value: $150,000)
- Disability or illness benefits
- Life insurance policies that haven’t matured
- Retirement benefits for school employees, firefighters, police, public officers, and state and city employees.
Public benefits exemptions include:
- Veterans’ benefits
- Workers’ compensation
- Unemployment compensation
- Social Security benefits
- Certain public assistance benefits
Payday Lending Status in Missouri: Legal
- Maximum loan amount: $500
- Maximum Interest Rate (APR): 1,955% on a 14-day loan
- Minimum loan term: 14 days
- Maximum loan term: 31 days
- Number of rollovers allowed: Six
- Number of outstanding loans allowed at a time: One
- Cooling-off period: N/A
- Finance charges: No more than 75% of the principal balance in interest and lender fees
- Collection charges: $25 non-sufficient funds (NSF) fee and a late fee that’s equal to 5% of the amount due after 15 days.
- Criminal action: Prohibited
The Bottom Line
From economic programs that help with monthly bills to debt consolidation, Missouri debt relief is available to residents who need it. The state also has many resources for residents who are experiencing a financial crisis or need ongoing help. Compare your options and establish a plan to help you get back on track and start paying down debt.
Missouri Debt Statistics
|Debt Per Capita||$3,185|
|Debt Per Capita Rank||17|
Source: World Population Review
Missouri Credit Card Debt Statistics
|Average Credit Card Balance||$5,601|
|Average Credit Score||707|
|Avg Credit Card Balance Rank (1 = Highest Balance)||1|
|Avg Credit Score Rank (1=Highest Score)||34|
Mortgage Debt in Missouri
|Mortgage Debt Per Capita||$24,150|
|Average 30 Year Mortgage Rate||5.99%|
|Average 15 Year Mortgage Rate||5.375%|
|Median Home Value||$227,286|
|Avg Outstanding Mortgage Debt||$143,545|
|Difference Between Value and Mortgage Debt||$24,155|
|Avg Homeowner FICO Score||722|
Source: Federal Reserve, Value Penguin, Experian
Payday Loan Debt in Missouri
|Payday Loan Legal Status||Legal|
|Maximum Payday Loan Amount||500|
|Maximum Payday Loan Term||31 days|
|Maximum Payday Loan APR||1955%|
Source: Missouri Government Website
Unemployment and the Economy of Missouri
|Poverty Rate – Population||12.9%|
|Poverty Rate – Population – Rank||33|
|Poverty Rate – Family||16.6%|
|Poverty Rate – Family – Rank||30|
|Unemployment Rate (June 2022)||3.1%|
|GDP Growth Rank||24|
Source: US Census, Bureau of Labor Statistics
Student Loan Debt in Missouri
|Percentage of Population with Student Loans||58%|
|Average Student Loan debt||$35,397|
|Average Debt of New Graduates (2017-18)||$29,224|
|Average Debt Rank||N/A|
|Percent of Graduates with Debt (2017-18)||58%|
|Percent with Debt Rank||N/A|
|Usable Institutions (BA-Granting)||24|
|Percent of Graduates at Schools with Usable Data||53%|
|Nonfederal debt of graduates, as percent of total debt||14%|
|Fall enrollment – Undergraduate total (IPEDS)||312,471|
|Tuition and Fees (in-district/in-state)||$12,328|
|Total Cost of Attendance (on-campus)||$27,858|
|Percentage of Institutional Grants that are Need-Based||73%|
Source: Value Penguin, TICAS
Cost of Living in Missouri
|Annual Mean Wage (All Occupations)||$60,043|
|Median Monthly Rent||$830|
|Value of a Dollar||$1.12|
|Cost of Living||90.5|
|Cost of Living Rank||12|
|Grocery Cost Index||95.8|
|Housing Cost Index||83.2|
|Utilities Cost Index||95.5|
|Transportation Cost Index||89.6|
|Miscellaneous Cost Index||93.2|
Source: World Population Review