How To Find A Reputable Credit Counselor? – Money Pacers
How To Find A Reputable Credit Counselor?

How To Find A Reputable Credit Counselor?

Credit counselors

Do you need a credit counselor right now? You’re struggling with credit card debt and you need to find a solution that will help you reduce the debt quickly without damaging your credit. Easy, right. Wrong. Debt solutions come in a variety of different packages. Which package will play the best with your financial outlook is largely dependent on your situation. So what works for one person, may mean never coming out of the rabbit hole for another and vice versa. This is why it is so essential that you find the right credit counselor – the wrong one could potentially have you never getting out of debt.

These days you can ask the internet about almost any company and get a wide range of reviews about their service. What you really want to focus on are the reviews that appear on independent third-party websites that aren’t directly associated with that company.

A few positive comments on the company website are fine, but they’re likely to only publish the things that make them look the best. A third-party site is only as good as the trust it provides to consumers, so they’re less likely to let companies cherry-pick their reviews. This means you can usually get the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Questions to ask your potential credit counselor

  • What services do you offer? Look for an organization that offers a range of services, including budget counseling, and savings and debt management classes. Avoid organizations that push a debt management plan (DMP) as your only option before they spend a significant amount of time analyzing your financial situation.
  • Do you offer information? Are educational materials available for free? Avoid organizations that charge for information.
  • In addition to helping me solve my immediate problem, will you help me develop a plan for avoiding problems in the future?
  • What are your fees? Are there set-up and/or monthly fees? Get a specific price quote in writing.
  • What if I can’t afford to pay your fees or make contributions? If an organization won’t help you because you can’t afford to pay, look elsewhere for help.
  • Will I have a formal written agreement or contract with you? Don’t sign anything without reading it first. Make sure all verbal promises are in writing.
  • Are you licensed to offer your services in my state?
  • What are the qualifications of your credit counselors? Are they accredited or certified by an outside organization? If so, by whom? If not, how are they trained? Try to use an organization whose counselors are trained by a non-affiliated party.
  • What assurance do I have that information about me (including my address, phone number, and financial information) will be kept confidential and secure?
  • How are your employees paid? Are they paid more if I sign up for certain services, if I pay a fee, or if I make a contribution to your organization? If the answer is yes, consider it a red flag and go elsewhere for help.
  • Do you charge upfront fees? Federal regulations prevent credit counseling services and debt relief companies from charging upfront fees before any work is done to assist with the debt.
  • Is your company a non-profit? Nonprofits are required to provide unbiased financial assistance to consumers. That means if you call for a consultation (which is free) they have to tell you about all of your options and help you select the best one.
Don Briscoe
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Don Briscoe

Finance educator, advisor, and leading voice in the global financial literacy movement.Founder and editor of lives and enjoys life with his family in New York.
Don Briscoe
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