By StraightCreditCounseling Staff on 2/4/2008
Copyright © 2010 StraightCreditCounseling.com
With so many people in financial trouble these days and credit card balances through the roof, a lot of people are searching for a credit counselor that can help get them out of debt and trouble. But with so many credit counselors to choose from, how does one go about finding a good credit counselor and what should a person look for to be sure they’re reputable?
Shopping for a Credit Counseling Service
As you prepare to shop for a credit counseling service, one of the first things you might consider is finding out exactly what it costs. You don’t want to put yourself in greater financial straights than you already are, so check out fees first. You also don’t want to worry about large upfront fees. You need help, not another debt. Of course the credit counseling services will be drawing a commission from your credit card company, as they too have to make a living, but their primary goal should be to help you manage your debt. Your concern is making sure that a credit counseling company won’t take a huge chunk from your monthly payment to cover their commission.
Creditors Work with Credit Counselors
Since you’re aware that a credit counseling service is going to be getting a commission for their services, it’s best that you get a monthly statement clearly showing the plan you’re under, the amount you paid, the dates you’ve made payments and the amounts sent to each of your creditors. You want to be sure that your debts have been paid, so be sure that the credit counseling service is willing to share that information with you. Remember a reputable credit counseling service is going to help you develop a budget so expect them to discuss your financial situation with you. Once they understand your situation, they’ll help you by developing a personalized plan. Another important point to look for with a credit counseling service is that they should be willing to give you some free information about their services without you providing any details about your particular situation. If they refuse, go elsewhere. These are your finances we’re talking, so do some background checks to be sure you choose the best credit counselor for your needs.
Ask About Your Counselor
You want to be working with a specific credit counselor that has been assigned to your particular case. Avoid a credit counseling service where you get a different person every time you contact the company. You don’t want to talk with someone who happens to answer the phone because you want to develop rapport with one person. Be sure you know who your credit counselor is going to be and make sure you feel good about the person you’re working with.
Find Out Exactly What Types of Services They Offer
In general, most credit counseling services offer money management, budgeting assistance and debt management services. Some will also offer educational
programs to keep you from making some of the mistakes you’ve made in the past. These types of educational programs may include classes, and even online Internet programs. It’s best for you if you work with a credit counseling service that goes the extra mile and offers support, guidance and resolution. But, be sure to find out if there is a fee involved or if it’s part of the credit-counseling program you’ve signed up with.
Ask About Location
There are some credit counseling services that meet with you in a local office while some share their services from a distance. It isn’t going to make much difference regarding your finances if you work long distance or locally, but for some people, it may be easier to make the commitment to the program if they see someone in person. There isn’t anything wrong with working over the telephone, but it’s important to know that it is a legitimate service. So do a little research before signing on with a company that works at a distance. Choose a credit counseling service that has been accredited by the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies or the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. An accredited organization will do everything to help you and they will never take advantage of someone who is financially vulnerable.
Be Cautious of Unrealistic Promises
If the credit counseling services you plan on using makes promises that seem unrealistic, they probably are unrealistic. For example, if a credit counselor promises to rebuild your credit by removing accurate information from your credit report. they’re not telling the truth. If they tell you that debt management programs won’t affect your credit rating, pay heed because that too is untrue. An ethical credit counseling service will never make unethical or unrealistic promises. If they’re credible, they want to help you but they won’t lie to you. In general it’s best to stay away from credit counseling services that guarantee they can remove your unsecured debt, require large monthly service fees, demand payment, tell you to stop making payments, require that you make monthly payments directly to them rather than to your creditor, or claim that they can remove negative information from your credit report .
About the Credit Counselors at Straight Credit Counseling
We at Straight Credit Counseling do everything we can to help individuals and families get back on track and totally out of debt. Credit Counseling services offered by Straight Credit Counseling helps individuals repay their debts by using careful budgeting and management of money strategies. A qualified counselor offers advice on how to manage outstanding debt as well as answering various credit questions. If you are ready to improve your credit, the team at Straight Credit Counseling is available to conduct a no obligation consultation. To arrange for a session by phone, please feel free to e-mail us at info@StraightCreditCounseling.com. Contact us today and rest in the knowledge that your credit report will soon be one that you’re proud to present.