Credit counselors and their services
Nonprofit credit counseling programs are the most common type of programs currently available to assist those who have gotten in over their heads with debt. Most will help you in a positive way to solve your debt problems. However, the nonprofit label for a credit counseling program doesn’t necessarily mean that its services will be free, cheap, or even legitimate. Some might charge hidden fees or expect unnecessary contributions that could plunge you further into debt. Be sure the company you are dealing with is reputable and has your best interests at heart.
Most credit counseling programs offer services through the Internet, local offices, or through telephone consultation. The most effective type of credit counseling program is one that offers in-person counseling. Try to get in-person counseling if possible. From your counseling, a good program will teach you how to manage your money and debts, develop a budget, and offer free workshops and educational materials. Counselors should be certified and trained in the areas of financial management. You should feel comfortable about discussing your personal financial matters with the counselor assigned to you.
Shopping around for a credit counseling program
Reputable credit counseling programs should be able to send you free information about their program, without the need to know any personal information about your financial situation. You should not work with a credit counseling program that will not provide this for you. Getting free information will enable you to select from a variety of programs to find the one that’s best for you. You can also do background research on credit counseling programs by seeing what your local consumer protection agency, attorney general, or Better Business Bureau has to say about them. If consumers have registered complaints about the credit counseling program, they might not be the best to use. Carefully consider any complaints you find, keeping in mind that some people are unreasonable or vindictive and not every complaint necessarily has validity. If the agency has a complaint, be sure to read their explanation of events to see what they claim occurred. Then decide if it makes sense to you to work with that company.