Credit Counseling Services Checklist
Given the tight economic conditions, many people are incurring more debt than they can comfortably pay off. If you're in such a situation due to a lost job or possibly badly managed credit cards, then consumer credit and debt counseling could be the right way for you to go. This credit counseling services checklist highlights what to keep in mind in choosing and using such a service.
Tips For Using a Consumer Credit Counseling Company
- Find the right service: Ideally, you should find a counseling service that's non-profit one and preferably community based. It would be best if you found a firm that offers a complete range of services. Don't get pressured into choosing anything without having discussed your financial situation with your credit counselor
- Verify their status: Just because a credit counseling agency claims to be non-profit doesn't mean that you shouldn't verify that claim. To be a true non-profit agency, they should provide evidence they are actually enlisted under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service Code
- Clarify their privacy policies: Don't forget to ask for the security and privacy policies of your credit counseling agency. After all, credit counselors gain access to your personal and sensitive financial information. This includes everything from your name and address, to your account data. Find out whether or not there is a security procedure in place by which no identity thief can get hold of your personal information
- Know the costs involved: Do find out how much the agency is going to charge for its services. A legitimate firm will disclose this information upfront and give it to you in writing. It's not advisable to choose a firm that has employee incentives for signups, because you'll be more likely to get pushed into unnecessary programs
- Ask for written contracts: Before you proceed with any debt management plan or any other service, ensure that your credit counselor puts down all agreements in writing. Remember, all legitimate credit counseling firms provide written contracts. Don't just rely on verbal promises
- Have your paperwork in order: Collect and keep all your financial paperwork organized so you can provide whatever information is required when you go in for your counseling. It's going to help you develop the best possible budget plan for you or an appropriate debt repayment strategy
- Be honest with your counselor: It's extremely important that you remain absolutely honest in your interactions with your credit counselor. If you hide information, then it's going to be a deterrent for you in the long run. Analyzing your income and expenditure with your counselor requires you to provide exact information regarding your finances
- Let the counselor take charge: Once you go in for credit counseling, then you should let your counselor take charge of contacting your creditors on your behalf. This stops those harassing phone calls and letters. Moreover, you should also abide by the budget plan and debt management methods that your credit counselor has chalked out for you
- Get back when required: If you find that you're struggling with a particular budget plan or continue receiving harassing calls from creditors, then get back to the credit counseling service immediately. The idea is to find the best possible way to control your finances
It's crucial for you to choose a credit counseling service without getting into a scam. Don't forget that good and efficient credit counseling is indispensable when you're drowning in debt.
Stewart Bradley is a contributory writer associated with the Debt Consolidation Care Community and has written several articles for various financial websites. This post is about credit counseling tips to help you through the process.
While this credit counseling services checklist will help you choose and work with a reputable agency, it helps to know what all your options are concerning managing your debts. The articles below provide more information to help you decide:
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