Although you try your best to keep our finances under control and pay our bills on time, there are times when you find yourself in unmanageable debt. If you’re experiencing slow or no payments on your credit cards, student loans, or car payments, credit counseling might be the answer you’re
A credit counseling agency can help by finding ways to reduce and manage your debt. They do this by contacting each of your creditors to negotiate new repayment terms. Credit counselors
will also sit with you to review your budget and lifestyle to see if they can help by improving your spending habits and money management skills.
Finding a Credit Counseling Agency
Although there are many decent credit counseling agencies out there, scams and illegitimate companies do exist. You should avoid companies that claim to erase your debts or repair your credit in a short amount of time. It takes time to get credit card and other debts under control and repairing your credit can take several months to a few years. Watch out for agencies that charge high up-front fees.
Your best bet is to find a not-for-profit credit counseling agency or an agency that is accredited by a third party. Those agencies with accreditation must follow moral rules and quality standards.
Conduct a search online or use your phone book to find a credit counselor. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about fees, accreditation, or other concerns you may have.
Credit counseling agencies have certain criteria you must meet before you may enlist their help. Your debts must be at least a certain dollar amount, and other conditions may apply. The credit counselor will ask you a few questions to make sure that you qualify for their services.
Your Credit Report
Some individuals are concerned about their credit reports and what credit counseling can do to change it. Sometimes, your creditor may put a negative remark on your credit report for using the services of a credit counseling agency. This is because the agency will negotiate repayment terms, meaning that you haven’t kept your obligation to pay the amount in full, or with previously set interest rates.
However, this may be better missing payments or turning in late payments. Creditors report to credit agencies to mark these incidents, thus reducing your credit score. In the long run, it is best to get debt under control and pay them off. After that, you can work on slowly rebuilding your credit score.
What Happens After Using the Service of a Credit Counselor?
Your credit counseling agent will be able to help with personal finance education so you do not get into a sticky situation in the future. They will do so by discouraging credit card use and will show you ways to use credit wisely to rebuild your credit. Credit counseling agencies may also require you to cut up your credit cards to avoid such circumstances. Whichever solution you opt for, remember that a credit counselor has your best interest at heart.