Credit counseling is professional counseling provided by organizations to help people find ways to pay off their debts. People usually use this as a last recourse when they have serious debt problems. Credit counselors advise their clients by suggesting ways like careful budgeting and management of money. They can also negotiate with creditors to get them waive charges for late payments, extend the term of the loan and lower interest rates.
How do you choose a credit counseling agency? Most of these organizations are non-profit or they charge fees which are affordable. Of course one wouldn’t want to be in further debt by acquiring the services of credit counselors who charge such high fees. Furthermore, you must choose a credit counseling organization that is accredited by a respectable network of credit counseling agencies. Also, do a search on their track record if they have given satisfactory service to their clients. Do not accept offers of those who urge you to make “voluntary contributions” which would add more to your debt.
Besides helping the client develop a budget and manage finances, counselors also offer free educational materials and workshops. They must be certified and trained in the areas of consumer credit, money and debt management and budgeting. Initial counseling lasts an hour and during this time the counselor will discuss the client’s entire financial situation and will provide preliminary steps in developing a financial plan to solve the client’s money problem.
Services of this kind are offered through local offices, the internet or on the phone. It is greatly advised however to discuss financial matters through person-to-person counseling.