LOS ANGELES and SAN DIEGO, Dec. 3, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Personalized financial motivation company Payoff.com and Encore Capital Group, the leader in consumer debt buying and recovery, announced today the formation of a strategic partnership to provide Payoff.com's services to the 34 million distressed consumers Encore works with, each of whom owes one or more unsecured debts (serviced by wholly-owned Encore subsidiary Midland Credit Management). The Federal Reserve estimates that U.S. consumers held unsecured debt totaling $2.6 trillion in 2011, a number that is projected to grow in coming years. Consumers are increasingly looking for robust and reliable tools to help them manage their household budgets and financial obligations. "We take pride in the role we play in helping consumers fairly and flexibly meet their financial obligations, and our partnership with Payoff.com will provide us with another tool to better meet their needs," said Brandon Black, Encore's chief executive officer. "We're excited to be working with the Payoff.com team to deepen our understanding of how we can help people more effectively take the positive steps that lead to financial recovery." Payoff.com provides a free, web-based service that allows consumers to view all of their financial information in one place. It encourages users to set personal financial goals, and offers motivational strategies and rewards when they make progress. Moreover, Payoff.com awards cash, called "Sur-Prizes," to people who have won badges, and employs social tools to make financial management fun. "Our site is meant to guide people from an aspirational perspective and reward their financial progress," says Scott Saunders, Payoff.com chief executive officer and founder. "Given that Encore has a relationship with 1 in 9 American consumers, this partnership provides our company a unique opportunity to reach a broad spectrum of people with ways to better manage their finances." The partnership will also support research spearheaded by Encore's Consumer Credit Research Institute (CCRI). The organization, which is the first of its kind in the industry, is dedicated to better understanding consumer financial decision-making, promoting financial literacy, and developing innovative ways to support household financial recovery. You can learn more about CCRI's work at http://www.encoreccri.org/. "Not only is Payoff.com's platform very well designed, it's also the best example we've seen of an online application that uses behavioral economics to responsibly guide members' spending decisions," said Dr. Christopher Trepel, Encore's chief scientific officer and CCRI managing director. Encore will promote the Payoff.com website through its marketing materials to consumers and its website. It is free for consumers to participate in the program.