There are many organizations out there that can help individuals who are overwhelmed by their debt, for those who are struggling to handle the day to day pressures of mounting debt, and for those who have no idea where to begin to climb out of debt. These organizations can help people learn the individual steps that are needed to reach a goal of financial freedom and security.
It is a sad reality however that not every credit counselor will act in the best interest of their client. There are some things that can help you decide whether the information a company has given you regarding their services with credit card are the right ones for you. This guide can provide you with some things to look for, and to how to determine if the organization you are looking at is truly in the business to help people or to make themselves money.
What Does Credit Counseling Mean?
In choosing to enter into a credit counselling program, you are acknowledging that you need help with your debt management skills. The program will provide you with information on how to properly manage debt, and help to create a step by step plan to begin repaying money that you owe. In addition, credit counselors can teach you about keeping to a budget that is reasonable for you and can complement your plan to repay your debt.
It is important that you realize that credit card counseling is not a fast fix to your debt issues.
How to Know the Credit Counselor is Reputable
If you know what you’re looking for in your search for a genuine organization, you will be able to tell the good ones from the fake ones. And by being able to tell the difference you will be saved from the possibility of being victimized in any way.
One thing to look for is whether or not the organization you are considering is non-profit. If you are seeing a reputable credit counselor, you should expect confidential sessions that occur in a non-judgmental fashion and where the counselor gives materials to help you learn.
Any credit agency or credit card organization claiming to help with debt should be willing to provide you any information you request regarding their operating procedures, and what services the offer, and how the assist individuals gain control of their finances. This information should be provided to you at no cost, and providing your personal credit or financial status for these details should not be required.
Another service that many organizations offer is a free session for a consultation. You should not be wary of asking how much they charge for credit counseling services, and how they receive funding for their operations. It is advisable that you do not use any organization asking for voluntary contributions for the service they provide.
Some of the things to look for is if the organization is registered as a non-profit, whether or not they have membership with the National Foundation for Credit Counseling and or the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies. These two agencies enforce standards and hold all organizations associated with them to those standards, especially in terms of ethical behavior when helping the consumers. The organization you choose, ideally would also be accredited by an outside party such as the Council on Accreditation.
What can be expected from Credit Counseling
There are three major phases that most organizations stick too. The first is the counselor completing a complete overview of your debt with you to get the overall feel and impression of your financial status, to understand the depth of your debt problems and to determine whether your personal situation warrants debt counseling.
After determining that your financial status is indeed in need of debt counseling, the counselor will begin helping you to make a repayment schedule for paying back what you owe. They will assist you in talking with speaking with creditors to create a payment schedule that works for both them and yourself in order to get you out of financial struggles.
There are Some Questions You Should Ask before Choosing a Credit Counselor
- Ask what services are offered. Look for organizations that have many services to offer and not ones that are limited to offering a management plan for repaying debt.
- Ask if they are able to mail out or send you some reading materials. Legitimate organizations will have no issue with sending out materials, and they will be glad to do it free of charge.
- Can you tell me about the fees and what I have to pay? Always ask for cost, and if they are too high for you to manage a legitimate organization will waive the fees for you.
- Are you accredited? Are you counselors certified? Check for their credentials and certification before choosing them
- Is my information confidential? The organization should have no issue explaining confidentiality procedures and security.