Credit Counselors Help Manage Debt
Don’t wait until your debt grows to an overwhelming amount before you decide to consult a credit counselor. Talking to a counselor early can help you avoid getting to that stage.
Credit counselors help you make a plan for repaying debt while meeting ongoing needs. They also may provide debt-management plan (DMP) services, which means the agency helps you consolidate and reduce credit card payments and lower interest charges. In some cases, you make weekly or monthly payments to the agency, which then pays your debtors as agreed in your DMP.
It’s essential to choose a reputable credit counseling agency. Many agencies that advertise heavily are for-profit organizations that want to make money off your debt and may even worsen your financial situation.
To make sure you work with an agency devoted to improving your financial situation, ask at your credit union for a referral to an accredited nonprofit agency, or contact the National Foundation for Credit Counseling to get information about the nearest nonprofit Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS). Many of these agencies combine free counseling with low DMP fees that are fully disclosed in a written agreement. Other criteria should include:
- Face-to-face or telephone counseling that lasts 30 minutes to 90 minutes and results in a customized action
- Appointments that can be scheduled within a reasonable time frame, usually two days to a week.
- Monthly account statements that monitor your progress on repaying debt.
- A good record of service, which you can verify by contacting the Better Business Bureau or the state attorney general’s office to find out if consumers have filed
Even if you don’t create a debt-management plan, simply talking to a credit counselor will help you to create a reasonable budget and learn ways to reduce your debt. Contact us today and see where and how we can help make life better.