Understanding the Process of Credit Counseling
Many of us have seen the advertisements on television. "Get out of debt fast!" "We can solve all your credit problems with only one call!" These sound really great but you know that, realistically, one call is not going to solve your credit problems.
If it were so fast and easy to get out of debt the credit card companies and these agencies advertising on television would be out of business very soon. Credit counselors can help you to understand your credit problems and to devise a plan to help you to manage your debt. They do this by providing services to you for a fee or for free if it is a non-profit organization. Some agencies will provide a free debt analysis to determine the best way in which they can service your needs. The following is a guide to help you understand how credit counseling works and if credit counseling is right for you.
The first step you should take is to decide if you do have a debt problem. For some it may be obvious, but for others they may not recognize the problem until they are faced with a collection agency. If you are only making minimum payments on your credit cards, or taking cash advances to pay bills, then you may need to seek advise from a credit counselor.
When you contact a credit-counseling agency, ask questions. Ask about the company and what programs they offer. Contact the Better Business Bureau to find out the facts about their history. Make sure to ask about all fees and charges; you are trying to get out of debt, not obtain more!
After you have chosen a credit counseling agency usually they will take a look expenses, income and debts. Most require you to participate in a debt management seminar, some longer than others to educate yourself about money management and budgeting as well as information on credit and finances. Some agencies charge a fee to attend the class, for others it is free.
You should know that even while you are seeking credit counseling, the company in which you owe money could continue to try and collect by any means necessary. However, most credit companies will see that you are trying to get your debt under control and work with you to solve your debt problems without bankruptcy.