There are several ways in which people try to get out from under the weight of debt that is keeping them down. Most people have heard about various methods of credit card debt settlement which include debt negotiation and settlement, and these are often confused with the term consumer debt counseling. It is important that people understand the difference between the terms before deciding on a course of action to settle credit card debt. If a consumer turns to a counselor for help, that counselor is committed to working with the individual in order to find a way to lower the monthly payments towards outstanding debt in such a way that it is manageable.
Some people wonder at what point they should think about seeking out the services of a credit counselor. If you find that you are being called by bill collectors or collection agencies on a regular basis, it is probably the right time to go out and look for a good counselor.
First, keep in mind that not all credit counseling companies are created equal. There are hundreds of companies out there that offer these services, and while many are legitimate, some are scams that will result in the debtor in a deeper hole than what was there in the first place. One tell tale sign is an offer to get rid of your debt immediately, as if by magic. Nothing is easy, and credit management is no exception. These solutions are simply not possible. Instead, check the company out carefully. A sign that the company is probably right for you is if it has been accredited by the Consumer Credit Counseling Services.
It is important after you decide on the company that best suits you that you are absolutely honest with the counselor you are appointed. This person is there to help you, and holding information back will impede her ability to do her job. After you have explained your situation the counselor will begin to put the affairs in order. The first step is talking to your creditors and renegotiating both the payment plans and the interest rates.
Some people are familiar with the idea of debt management systems that require a lump sum to be paid to the company, out of which the monthly payments are made. One downside to this strategy is that even good credit companies are subject to error from time to time, and a missed payment will reflect on your credit in a negative manner. For this reason, many people choose to manage their payments schedules themselves after determine the course with their counselors.
Legitimate companies are often sponsored as non-profits by creditors, and as such they do not charge high fees for their services. You should beware of companies that do ask for a large amount up front as the odds are good that they area scam; avoid these and look for a different company.
You should also know that using a credit counselor may put a black mark on your credit record, as it indicates that you have overstepped you means and are in financial trouble. In the long term, though, it would probably be more damaging to not make any changes at all and try to clear yourself all on your own. After all, this is how the debt was accumulated in the first place.