Credit counseling services are available to help people who are struggling with overwhelming debt. Their mission is to assist the debtor in evaluating their finances and developing a plan to reduce their debts. Not all credit counseling services are honest when serving consumers, and it is important for you to find the most reputable agency when seeking debt management advice. There are a few ways to protect yourself from non-reputable credit counseling agencies. Check with The United States Trustee Program to determine if the company is one of their recommended agencies. The trustees program provides resources for credit counseling and debt management, which can help you make an informed decision.
Ask the credit counselor these questions when seeking debt management advice:
Does your company meet the requirements of the law? New laws require anyone filing for bankruptcy to attend a credit counseling service from a nonprofit credit counseling agency. True nonprofit agencies will meet Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service Code. It is also a good idea to check with the Better Business Bureau to make sure they are an accredited company.
What services does your company offer? It is important to find a company that offers many debt management services, such as credit counseling courses, budget counseling, debt negotiations, savings and debt management courses. Be wary of any company that offers a debt management plan as the highest priority.
What are the qualifications of your credit counselors? Credit counselors are providing a service to evaluate your financial situation and review debt management options, not selling you a plan. Credit counseling agencies should employ educated professionals that hold a licensure as a certified public accountant, lawyer or certified financial planner.
How much will your services cost me? Many organizations are funded through government money or contributions by clients. At times, there are small fees for certain credit or debt management courses. Inquire about the cost services in advance. Do not utilize services from any company that refuses to help because you cannot pay.
What options are available for me? A credit counselor should review all of your debt management options with you and be able to answer any questions you may have. Determine which credit counseling solution best suits your current financial needs. Credit counseling services have lots of free information that can provide you with guidance through your financial hardship. If you are considering bankruptcy, contact a qualified bankruptcy attorney to begin the process to determine if bankruptcy is right for you.