Consumer Credit Counseling Service
Are you concerned about your financial situation? Maybe you've accrued an unmanageable amount of credit card debt and you're struggling to make payments. Perhaps you had unexpected medical bills to take care of. Or, you might be starting to think about putting away money for your child's college education, but your current financial state is standing in the way.
If any of these sounds like you, take heart in knowing you're not alone. The average American household is $18,000 in debt - and rising. But the good news? Help is available! Consumer credit counseling services exist to help you to establish realistic household budgets, find innovative ways to save money every day, take control and reduce the amount of debt you owe, implement a financial action plan and most importantly, alleviate the stresses in your life caused by overwhelming debt.
Request a free debt relief analysis and savings estimate in minutes. Start by answering a few, simple questions here.
Yes! I need credit counseling! Now what?
Congratulations - in admitting you can't do this alone, you've taken the first step towards improving your financial outlook and cutting down your debts. The first step is to find a reputable, legitimate credit counseling agency that will guide you down the road to financial recovery.
There is such a thing as free credit counseling - generally this takes place through a non-profit organization. However, be wary - just because an agency holds a non-profit status doesn't always mean that the company has your best interests at heart. Counseling services often appear free at the onset, and then you end up slapped with hidden fees; sometimes, companies pressure you into making voluntary "contributions" in exchange for extra services - and all of this can put you deeper into debt than you were at the beginning.
Choosing the right consumer credit counseling service.
With so many aggressive debt relief and consumer credit counseling services to review, it can be a daunting proposition to find a company that will actually serve you and your interests with integrity and honesty. To be proactive, you may want to review any of a number of consumer reports or consult with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to find the right company. Once you've decided on a several counseling agencies to explore, here's a list of credit counseling FAQs to ask each of them before making your final decision:
- What are the different types of services that you offer?
- Can you provide me with background materials to help me understand credit counseling more clearly?
- Once I have my debt under control, can you help me devise a plan to STAY out of debt?
- What type of educational training did your counselors undergo before being allowed to work here?
- What's your standing with the Better Business Bureau?
That last bulletin is important - one of the best ways to determine the validity of an agency is to uncover if there have been any unresolved complaints against that particular credit counseling service. By checking with the BBB or your local consumer protection agency, you'll get a good sense of what kind of company this is, and if it's going to be the right fit for you AND your finances.
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Credit Counseling and your Credit Score
One of the most commonly asked questions about credit counseling is how it will affect your credit score. Once again, it all comes down to which company you decide to work with. Counseling on its own has no derogatory impact on your credit score although it will be typically noted on your credit report and some lenders may respond negatively; in addition, if you enter into a debt management plan and your agency is late in making payments to your creditors or you do not have available funds in your account, that WILL be reflected in your score, and your credit rating will be damaged.
All in all, finding a quality consumer credit counseling service takes a some effort and patience, but can help you considerably in the battle to get your finances under control.
Through credit counseling your creditors may agree to reduce interest rates, waive fees and penalties, and provide you with more favorable repayment terms. When this is combined with financial restraint on your part (by you not continuing to ring up new charges), you can get on a predictable path to becoming debt free.
See how debt relief can help you. Answer a few, simple questions to get a FREE debt relief estimate and savings analysis - at no cost to you.