If you’re in debt and feeling overwhelmed, you may be looking for a solution. Maybe you’ve fallen behind and you can’t make your payments and are looking for a way out. In either case, a nonprofit credit counseling agency can help. Credit counseling won’t wipe away your debts, but it will help you develop a plan of action to reduce debt and eventually become debt-free.
Credit counseling is usually offered by a nonprofit agency that employs certified credit counselors. According to the Federal Trade Commission, there are a number of things to look for when choosing an agency. You want an accredited agency that has a positive rating with a consumer protection agency, such as the Better Business Bureau. The counselors that work at the agency should also be certified by an organization such as the National Foundation for Credit Counseling or similar.
Talking to nonprofit credit counseling agencies can help you if you are struggling with debt and are unsure how you’ll pay it off. They offer solutions for people that are overwhelmed by their financial situation and may be considering bankruptcy but want to explore all of their options first.
During a counseling session, your counselor will review your current financial situation, including your debt, income and other household expenses. He or she will help you put together a workable budget so that your expenses don’t exceed your income. They will show you areas in your financial life where you may be overspending and where you can cut back to improve your financial future. A counselor can also help create a road map to help you achieve future financial goals. Credit counseling is an individualized process, so what exactly happens during a session will depend on your situation and your goals. Sessions are flexible and most agencies offer counseling in person, over the phone or online, depending on your preference.
What happens after a counseling session depends on your situation. Working with a counselor to create a budget could be all the help you need, for example. Or, if your debts are not manageable, the counselor might recommend enrolling in a debt management plan and walk you through the process of doing so. In a debt management plan, the counselor negotiates with your creditors on your behalf, helping your address your debt under more favorable terms. You then make payments each month to your nonprofit credit counseling agency, who distributes the money to your enrolled creditors. A credit counselor can also help you rebuild damaged credit with ongoing financial education and support.
When offered by a nonprofit agency, credit counseling is free. Having to pay a fee for counseling is often a sign that the agency isn’t looking out for your best interest. Along with offering to counsel for free, an agency should provide you with free information and should be willing to help you, without demanding that you provide a lot of information about yourself upfront.
While talking to a counselor is free, some services might have a low monthly fee. Ask for the fees in writing before you decide to work with an agency and steer clear of any that want to charge you a hefty sum upfront.
If you are experiencing financial difficulty and are looking for a solution, non-profit credit counseling can help you make sense of all your options. Contact us today for a free financial assessment with one of our certified credit counselors.
Consumer Education Services, Inc. (CESI) is a non-profit service provider of comprehensive personal financial education and solutions for all life stages and for all of life’s milestones. Our goal is enhanced economic security for everyone we serve.
CESI is NOT A LOAN COMPANY