People often think of credit counseling in reference to filing for bankruptcy. However, their services are open to everyone, and can be valuable for anyone looking to improve their financial situation. When it comes to credit counseling, you should take some time to figure out the right counselor for you. But what should you look for? What qualifications are best for credit counselors?
The Good and the Bad
While credit counselors might not be the right solution for everyone, the right counselor can help you negotiate down your debt by talking directly to creditors. So you know, credit counselors will also negotiate a small fee and creditors will generally return some of your paid debt to the counselor as part of that fee. That said, there are many nonprofit, experienced credit counselors out there who can help you for free.
Definitely avoid agencies charging a high upfront fee. Generally, ten dollars is okay, one thousand is not. You’ll also want to check into an agency’s accreditation. There are several foundations out there that cover credit-counseling services, like the National Foundation for Credit Counseling or the Association of the Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies. Make sure your potential credit counselor is a part of one.
Also, be wary of big promises or guarantees. Counselors aren’t magicians and their talents shouldn’t be regarded as such. Any counselor making big promises should be regarded with skepticism, not excitement.
With these do’s and don’ts in mind, you’ll be well on your way to finding a credit counselor who works for you. Knowing the potential good and bad will help you in your quest to find the credit solution you need.