There are many people that are struggling each month financially and this can increase the stress that people are under especially at certain times of the year. So, using credit counseling services is the first step in getting control of your financial situation, this is why it is important that you get this first step right.
There are many credit counseling services around and it is important to find the right one, the one that is going to help you and not make your situation worse. Many of these companies make some great promises of what they are going to do for you, but what you might not be aware of is that many of them fail to deliver even on their basic of promises.
What is important is learning how to find the right company and what questions you should be asking and why, before you sign any agreement with them.
Questions to Ask
Knowing the right questions to ask the credit counselling service is going to mean that you will spot the companies that you should walk away from. It will give you the power that you need, especially when you are in financial difficulty. Many people are able to use this weakness against you and this is why so many people fall into a trap, they allow themselves to be drawn into a company and agreement that isn’t good for them.
- Free service – many companies will offer a free service and it is important that you get the information about what they offer for free. Some companies offer more than others, but it doesn’t mean that it is going to give you any more information. If it is a non-profit company they will still need to have money, ask where it is coming from, or when you are expected to start paying for the services they are offering.
- Ask for fees and charges information before you get involved with the company. You might not like the prices that they are going to expect you to pay, it also give you a chance to see if you can afford their services.
- Ask about details of the accreditation and qualifications that the staff hold. Are they qualified to do the work?
It is important to realize that those companies that are honest and genuine will give you all the information that you have asked for. They will not generalize any of their answers to you. But it is still important that you don’t sign up with the company until you have done your own research. You want to make sure that they are accredited and they have no complaints lodged about their services. A good way to judge a company is to make sure that they are capable to do what they are claiming and this is through clients that they have worked with, look up information about the company and if there are any negative comments that company might not be the right one for you.
What They Offer
Knowing what a company is going to offer can help you decide if that company is the right one for you. Do they offer more than just the counseling services? You need to find the credit counseling service that is right for you.
You can check to see if the company is registered with the NFCC, (National Foundation for Credit Counseling), they can give you information about good companies in your area, they should tell you about the companies that have complaints against them too.
As a minimum the credit counseling will help look at your budget and what changes you need to make so that you are in a better position financially. But they might also offer a debt management plan; this is where they get involved with your creditors. They might be able to reduce the interest that you are paying or get late fees removed, they won’t get you debt cleared that will take hard work and time on your part. But they might suggest that you pay them a set amount each week or month and they pay your creditor direct. The disadvantage with this is if they make a payment to your creditors late it doesn’t affect them it will affect your credit rating.
- Check the services that they offer, do they meet your needs?
- How do they set their fees? Are there any initial set up fees? Do they also charge a monthly fee? How much is this fee?
- Ask the company what happens if you can’t pay? Will they help you and offer you advice and support? If they don’t then this company isn’t going to be the right company for you.
- It is important to ask for a person to contact in the company, one that you can build a relationship with, if they refuse then each time you speak to the company they are either going to have to read your file or you will need to fill in your background again.