Credit Counseling Reviews
At one point or another in your life, you may find yourself in need of debt relief. Too many credit cards, not enough income and household bills and other projects can quickly overwhelm your budget. The comforting news is that you're not alone - American families today face nearly $18,000 in debt - and that figure is steadily rising. So when trying to formulate a budget and fiscal plan of attack becomes too much to handle on your own, you may want to use the services of a professional debt relief organization: A certified, reputable credit counselor can help you reduce your debt significantly and hopefully keep you from falling into the same financial trap again.
The big question is: how do you decide which credit counseling agency, if any, is right for you. There are literally hundreds to choose from - some non-profit, others for-profit - all vying for your business. When it comes to debt consolidation and consumer credit counseling, make sure to do your due diligence.
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Here's are some tips on how to find a quality credit counseling/debt reduction service:
Know your rights as a consumer. There are now consumer protections in place from the FTC regarding how debt relief companies operate and how they can collect fees and be compensated. These new regulations can be accessed from California Debt Relief.
Often, it's difficult to differentiate the reputable agencies from the unethical ones. This is unfortunately true for a lot of so-called "non-profit" organizations. The truth of the matter is that when it comes to credit counseling, non-profit doesn't necessarily mean affordable - it doesn't mean free, and it sometimes doesn't even mean ethical. So just like with any other major decision, the best course of action is to shop around and compare the different debt relief options and companies available.
When you decide to start comparing credit counseling services, there are several key areas you will want to pay attention to:
- Accreditation, Affiliations, Proven History of Service
- Ease of Use and Support
- Education Provided to Break Cycle of Debt
- Services and Tools
- Debt Reduction Benefits and Time Needed to Pay Off Debts
Paying attention to these five areas in credit counseling reviews will help illuminate which agencies are the best to do business with. Now we'll break each one down so you have a clearer sense of exactly what to look for.
Accreditation and Affiliations
Any credit counseling service that is reputable and honest will be in good standing with the following agencies:
- American Association of Debt Management Organizations (AADMO)
- Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education (AFCPE)
- Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies (AICCCA)
- Better Business Bureau
- Council on Accreditation (COA)
- International Standards Organization (ISO)
- National Association of Certified Credit Counselors (NACCC)
- National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC)
Furthermore, you should look to see how long the company has been in business - the longer the company has been around, the more experienced it is, and the greater the likelihood that it does good by its clients.
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Ease and Use of Support
If a company is difficult to communicate with and doesn't make the process as inviting as you would like it to be, it's probably not worth dealing with the confusion and aggravation. Bottom line: make sure this is a company you WANT to work with.
Does the agency supply you with information - articles, blogs, books, websites, etc. explaining the ins and out of credit counseling? The more you know about the industry, the better equipped you'll be to make the right decision about who to work with.
Credit counseling is an umbrella term used to describe all the services used to nurse you back to financial health. Over the course of your relationship with the agency, you may need to enroll in a debt management plan or maybe discuss bankruptcy options. A good credit counseling firm will be able to advise you in all these areas, and provide you with all the accompanying documents and tools.
Along with education, your counseling firm needs to provide you with the right types of calculators and worksheets to help you get your finances in order. These include tools for auto, budgeting, college planning, mortgages, retirement and tax planning.
Lastly, make sure that the credit counseling agency explains to you all your debt relief options, how much you are likely to save, and how long it will take for you to realize those savings.
Request a free debt relief analysis and savings estimate in minutes. Start by answering a few, simple questions here.